Although this was the first year for Art Austin @ the Domain, I don’t think it was all that it was cracked up to be. It was held at The Domain, which is an outdoor upscale shopping center in northern Austin. Here is my breakdown of the show:
Setup/take-down: Not too bad, you are able to pull right up to your spot, although there is only room for one vehicle to get through the lane in some areas, so it can cause problems when people need to get out or in. There was not much for directing of traffic, although I don’t know if it would have helped at all. Artist parking was not too far away, about a 7 minute walk.
Booth sitters: None, which considering the high booth fee was disappointing
Awards: None, which again, considering the high booth fee was disappointing.
Fees. Booth fee was $450, with an additional $125 for electricity. I thought this was very high for this show. And no one was checking for electricity, I don’t even know if all the people that were plugged in had paid or not, and we had to use our own power strips because there was only a single duplex for like 5 booths.
Type of art: It was pretty mixed. Mostly people from Texas. There were definitely some things that belonged in a craft fair and not a fine art show, but as a whole it was not too bad. Didn’t see any obvious buy/sell.
Advertising: The apparently did advertising, but I did not see the effect of it. There were absolutely no signs anywhere saying there was a fair either, which was very disappointing. If you didn’t happen to go down the area where we were set up you could have been shopping there and had no idea there was an art fair going on. The people we got seemed to all be people that just happened upon it when they came shopping. I heard a lot of people say “I had no idea this was here”, but no “ I heard about this so I came to check it out”
Crowd: It was kind of a steady trickle the whole time, never got busy though. The weather was beautiful so there were people out shopping. Most people were there for another reason though so they were just looking at the booths, not many serious buyers at all.
Security: One painter had a couple of paintings stolen, that was all I heard about.
Sales: I myself did lousy. I do art pottery in the $60-500 range and I barely covered the booth fee. I talked to many of the other artists, and overall things were pretty anemic. High end stuff barely moved at all, except for a handful of things. A painter two booths down had sold nothing all weekend but then got two big sales on Sunday afternoon. The jewelry people seemed to do decent, I think because that is the kind of thing people were going there to shop for anyway.
There is a bigger more well known show in Austin a month after this one, so I don't even know if this show has potential to be a good show. They need to do a much better job getting the word out, and put up signs so people know what is going on. And they need to lower their fees until they can get a crowd that justifies it. I think if you are local and have inexpensive things it might be worth trying, but only if they lower the booth fee.