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This is the second time I've participated in this show in the lovely town of Tubac, AZ and probably the last. The first time I did this show was in 2012 and the weather was average for this time of the year (60's). This time the weather was above average in the 70's and 80's and, as it had rained for three days the weekend before it would seem the perfect time to come out and enjoy the sun. 

Sales for this artist, as-well-as others that were queried, were down from the last show. I made less than half what I did last time and didn't do that well at the last show! One jeweler reported sales of $400. This was not a buying crowd with some exceptions. Most of the buying activity took place on Fri and Sat leaving the rest of this five day show with little to do except talk with the lookers. This was an older crowd that was not inclined to spending as their 2nd houses in Green Valley ( a retirement community north of Tubac) were probably already full. The buying crowd was a little younger but there were not that many of them at this show. Although some of the patrons were bused in, the crowds were not crowded! It seemed as though numbers were down considerably.


This show is suffering, as are most of the shows in AZ from their own entropy. Although the staff were there to welcome the artists it seemed as if little is being done to attract a buying public. Tubac is about 50 miles south of Tucson and very few Tucsonians attend.

Show Dates: Usually the first full week of February, contact the Chamber of Commerce in Tubac for exact dates.


Quality of the Show: VERY WIDE, perhaps the word is getting around as this show is not attracting the kind of quality that was there even 3 years ago. If you don't have qualified buyers you're not going to attract quality art. Although there wasn't what appeared to be a lot of B/S (I think there was some) the fine art was not in as much evidence.


Amenities: The Tubac Market in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce put on a nice artists dinner Wed night after the show. No other amenities were provided.


Parking: Finally, the Chamber provided parking passes for the artists, last time I did this show artists were charged $8 per day to park (That's up $2 from last time!)


Awards: One award, Best of Show, went to a painter.


Load-In/Out: I had a much nicer spot this year but load-in/out was not a concern as we all played nice with each other and it was easy. There was plenty of space for all to work. Some streets in the show were much more congested. There was a lot of storage space behind the booths.

Accommodations: The last time I did this show I stayed in Green Valley, AZ about 21 miles north of Tubac as the hotels were relatively affordable. Not so this time, rates had gone up more than 20% even if you could find a room there, which I couldn't. Staying in Tucson was prohibitive as it would be at least an hours drive each way! This time we opted to stay about 12 miles south in Rio Rico at the Esplendor Resort, last year when I booked there I got a $51 room rate (they accept pets) but not this year. Going further south to Nogales, AZ, well...Some artists that were having an extended stay in the area opted for the nearby condos which are very nice but you have to stay longer for the best rates. Trailer camping was available nearby for about $25.

Next time I want to escape the cold of Denver in the middle of the winter I'll do what I did last year for my birthday, skip the show and go to Hawaii! It's cheaper in the long run!

If you'd like to read my last report on this show...I should have!

http://www.artfairinsiders.com/profiles/blogs/tubac-festival-of-the...

Views: 503

Comment by Connie Mettler on February 11, 2015 at 7:21pm

This is a very thorough review, Brian. Thanks. I've missed your posts here. I've always been curious about the Arizona shows and you're not selling me on this one.

Why is it five days long? What justifies that? Is there something else going on in the community that brings people around? like a balloon fiesta or something?

Going back? 

Anyone we knew there? A show this long gives you a chance to get around and make new friends. 

Comment by S Brian Berkun on February 11, 2015 at 8:19pm

The show takes place at the same time that various venues are hosting The Gem and Mineral Show in Tucson. I guess they want to tag along on that and give show goers something else to do. Also, it is "prime" snowbird time. Gives them something to do also. I have to be honest I don't care to be "entertainment" on the off season, so-to-speak.

Don't think I'm going back as is the sentiment of several others I spoke with.

Jerry Scavezze, a jeweler from Salida, CO was there. He started a show in Salida last year that I hope to be going back to this summer, want to see if it is catching on or not and it isn't that far to roam. Ralph Parker, Sculpter from Salida also. Amado Pena, he seems to be everywhere!

Comment by Jacki Bilsborrow on February 16, 2015 at 10:23pm

Thanks Brian for the good report.  Hawaii sounds good anytime to me. 

Comment by S Brian Berkun on February 16, 2015 at 11:06pm

Right about now sounds good to me! It's been snowing all day here in Denver.

Comment by Christina L. Towell on February 18, 2015 at 9:40am

Thanks for such a thoughtful and insightful critique, Brian...it's a good "heads up" to the rest of us and yes, Hawaii sounds like a better way to go in future...

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