Arts at the Gardens, August 18-19

This past weekend I participated in Arts at the Gardens at Sonnenberg in Canandaigua NY.

Thoughts on the show (from a first year rookie):

This was a small show, with about 90 or so artists. Beautiful location, and the weather was decent for most of the weekend, apart from some sprinkling rain Saturday morning.

Setup on Friday was very easy, and the spaces were 12'x12', leaving plenty of room in back of the tents for storage (when using a 10x10 tent). Load-in went easily, although it rained quite heavily during setup, and we quickly discovered that the seams of our tent are not watertight (Quik Shade Commercial tent). We will obviously be utilizing some seam sealer in the future. Threw tarps over everything in the tent before leaving, and that worked fine.

This was a very low foot-traffic show (I am not sure of the actual numbers), but I ended up selling a large original painting and a smaller original painting. This was the first time I have sold originals to people who did not know me, so it was very encouraging and validating. At my previous 2 shows, I only sold repros. I don't know if this show brought in a wealthier crowd, or if it was just the luck of the draw. I didn't make a ton of money, but much more than my previous 2 shows- so I went home happy.

I got the feeling from some of my booth neighbors that sales were slow for them. I'm sure it was due to the low volume of foot traffic. 

The volunteers were great, booth sitters came by a couple of times offering breaks. The restrooms were wonderful- they were in a very nice air conditioned trailer. That's probably a weird thing to mention, but when a show has something better than standard porta-potties, it's a pleasant surprise. 

On Saturday evening after the close of the day's show, there was a lovely reception for the artists- free food, wine, deserts, etc. And then they gave out the awards. 

Load-out was as easy as load-in, no complaints there.

Though it was a slow show, it really came across to me that the show organizers valued the artists, which is nice to see. And the focus of the show was clearly on the ART- and not on food and activities.

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  • Thanks, Kristy. It sounds like you got some validation for your work which has to be encouraging. What did you learn from those particular purchases?

    How many shows have you done so far and do you think you'll apply next year? How far away from where you live?

    • I've done 3 shows. All of the shows I'm doing this year are in Western NY, less than an hour from where I live. I've been told that NY, especially Rochester, is not the best place for shows right now economically, but having a full time day job unfortunately doesn't allow for much travel.

      Not sure if I will do this particular show next year, since there are several other shows in the area I would like to try out next year and I don't want to overload myself too much. I may do it again in the future though.

      Below are the pieces that sold. The rhino sold to a doctor who wanted it for his house. I brought the piece because I think it's eye catching, but I honestly figured it would have to appeal to someone with a very specific color scheme in mind and that it likely wouldn't sell easily. Pleasant surprise, I guess!

      The foxes sold to an older couple who wanted it for their grandchild's room- That one was not a surprise- They were the target market I thought I might fall into, so that tells me I'm on the right track with those kinds of pieces.

      • THose are really lovely. Congrats on your sales

  • I did it three years ago.  The best thing about it was the bathrooms.

  • Glad that you had a decent show. I almost mentioned those bathrooms but thought that surely they didn't actually have them every year- we need more shows to ditch the porta pots for those!

    It sounds about the same as to when I was there, which is close to 10 years ago.

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