I just posted a review of this event on my blog, and wasn't sure if this might be the spot on the forum to post it? Anyway, here it is. :)
Second art fair review, here we go...
This was my second juried art fair. Two years ago, when I was in the beginning phases of learning everything I could from the Art Fair Insiders forums, my family & I were in Flagstaff and checked out the Flagstaff Art in the Park 4th of July event. At the time, I was taking lots of mental notes and thought to myself, maybe next year? Maybe by then I'll have a display put together and enough art and get into this art fair.
So, two years and a couple of months later, it was pretty cool to be juried into their Labor Day event.
I'm still new at the art fair review thing, so I'll try to do my best here.
Application process: they are not on Zapp, so you mail in your application along with three photos of individual art pieces and a photo of your booth. Two checks go with the application, one for the jury fee and one for the booth fee, which is cashed when you are juried in or returned if you are not.
Communication: the organizer, Stu, returned emails quickly and was good to deal with. At the art fair, I saw him pretty often, although I actually wasn't introduced to him... I just knew who he was from having seen the Facebook page. He was personable and easy to talk to.
Location: the art fair is in Wheeler Park, a block off Route 66 and visible from it. The park is right on the road heading up to the ski hill, which is a well-used thoroughfare, so the location is highly visible. Pretty hard to miss if you're doing more than just driving by on the freeway. Flagstaff is a very popular location for people to escape the heat of the Phoenix area, being only about 2 1/2 hours away. All weekend, it was fun to ask people where they were from. Quite a variety of answers.
Load in: it was busy, but I guess that's pretty expected when everybody is trying to set up all at the same time. We arrived about an hour and a half after the time when you could start setting up, so things were well under way when we got there. They allow you to park in the parking lot by the park during load in, and lots of people had their vehicles on the side road by the park. We were even double-parked on that side road for a time, but it was pretty quick and nobody seemed to mind while the set up was going on.
Parking: it's about a block away at the Catholic school, although I actually never saw it, because my husband dropped me off at the curb by my booth each day and went to park the van.
The fair itself: the art fair is advertised as a fine arts & crafts fair, which is what it is. I wasn't sure going in how I'd do, being more on the "fine art" end of things. It seemed that the lower-priced items were more popular with the patrons of this event. We had a major downpour on Saturday, which definitely hampered things. It was amazing to see how many people came out after the heaviest rains were over, carrying umbrellas and wearing raincoats. These people didn't seem fazed by rain.
On Sunday & Monday, we had beautiful weather and lots of crowds. On Sunday, there was a farmers market nearby, so a lot of the folks going there came through the art fair on their way to and from the farmers market.
As for how I did? Well... I sold some smaller prints but didn't come anywhere near to making my booth fee, let alone meeting my total expenses. But it was still a lovely weekend, fun to visit with the other artists and talk with a lot of really interesting people who came by, a nice getaway for my family from the heat. And, it was pretty cool being a part of the event that I had hoped to get into, back at the beginning before I had a display or even enough paintings to really contemplate getting into a juried event.
I'm still trying to find my niche for my art, whether the art fair market is even the right place to try to sell my work. So, if I were another artist, I wouldn't necessarily decide whether or not to try this event based on my results. But my gut feeling is that if you are more on the "fine art" side of things, it might not be the best venue. It seemed that most of what was being bought were the smaller, less pricey items.
I'm not giving up on this art fair thing yet. I've got a juried art festival coming up in a couple of months, and we'll see how I do there. I just have to pace myself on applying for more art fairs, because paying booth fees without selling enough to cover the fees adds up pretty quickly.
I have learned pretty much everything I know about art fairs from AFI, and I have to say it really helped a lot at my first out-of-town, first major downpour, art fair. Thanks, Art Fair Insiders! :)