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This is obviously a late report, but since I hadn’t seen one yet on the Talbot Street Art Fair, I decided to go ahead and throw in my 2 cents on it.  It was held in Indianapolis on June 11 and 12, 2011.

This was my first time as an exhibitor.  I’d applied before, but discovered that if you actually follow the instructions for the submitted photos, you stand a better chance of being accepted.  I know… DUH! 

Anyway, I cheerfully received their rather odd acceptance letter this year.  It never says anything like, “Congratulations” or “You’ve Been Accepted.”  It just welcomes you to the fair.  Little did I realize at that time that this was to be my only direct communication from them with the exception of a clarification letter about parking or something.  From then on if you need to find out anything (like your booth assignment) you need to check their website.  I have no idea when that was posted actually.

The directions told me that set-up time started for everyone at 2:30 on Friday.  I was to check in and proceed to my booth where I would unload, and then I would need to go and find parking.  I dutifully followed those instructions only to discover that I was one of the LAST people to arrive.  It was CROWDED, and getting in took forever because of some issue with an RV driver who had arrived “late.”  I tried to check in, and only received a blank stare from the lady at the check-in booth, so I tried someone else who cheerfully accommodated me by handing me a packet of info and my artist’s gift.  This was a pretty handy object and much better than an ugly t-shirt!  It was a large, attractive umbrella which came in VERY handy over the next day and a half.

So I finally made it to my booth area to drop off my stuff.   People just have to wait in line behind you, so you are compelled to make this a quick process.  I had a neighbor who tried to bully me into moving away so the folks behind me could get through, but I don’t know what he expected me to do.  I’d waited my turn just like everyone else!

As soon as my husband and I started to put up the tent, the skies opened up with torrents of rain and thunder.  I was not too anxious to be wielding metal tent poles just then.  It was 92° and pretty seriously miserable.  Eventually the rain stopped, and we set things up.  I had a great location for my booth and friendly neighbors on both sides, so things were finally looking up despite some heat stroke issues on both our parts. 

The booths are a bi-level arrangement, half on the sidewalk and half in the street.  It makes for some interesting planning issues, but we’d worked that out ahead of time.

Saturday dawned hot and humid with dire predictions for more thunderstorms.  This seemed to deter attendance in a big way.  The storm never came, and we just sat and sweltered, wondering where the shoppers were.  In spite of that, I made a few nice sales, though not many.  My sales for Saturday were about was I’d expect from at small, local one-day show.  Not the great sales I’d dreamed of for Talbot.  The umbrella made a great sun shade that day.  Overall though things seemed to be run well, and the coordinators did a nice job with the only exception being the parking lot guy who had no idea where anyone should park.  We worked it out.

Then Sunday happened, and it was as if the Art Fair Gods decided to smile down on all creation.  The weather was warm, sunny and breezy.  It was perfect!  The shoppers arrived, and they were all smiling and happy to be there.  I don’t recall ever having such a glorious day.  Sales picked right up.

On Sunday I was able to leave the booth for a very short while and scope out the competition.  I have to say the booths I saw (I missed the side streets) were all attractive, and the art original.  It seemed to me to be a great mix of talents, and I was proud to be part of the show.  The food vendors were busy, busy cranking out tasty orders as fast as possible, and the shoppers all looked happy. 

I will do this fair again in a heartbeat.  It’s local for me, so I don’t have to worry about accommodation costs.  There are apparently several special deals for participants though at local hotels.  Talbot is close to downtown Indianapolis so there are many options for room and board nearby.

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Congrats on the show gods smiling down on you on Sunday Christine!    Pity they don't smile more often for everyone :)   Great report, thank you!

I've done this show for about 22 years now. It  is tight quarters to unload. They recommend unloading completely and moving the vehicles. My next door neighbor has been someone who shows up on Saturday morning to set up their open air display, so I parked in the booth space and started setting up. OOOPS!! New neighbor this year, so there was an apology and explanation and was able to move across the street to finish unloading.

 

The straddling of the curb is a real pain as my location has about a one foot drop from the grass next to the sidewalk down to the street. Since there is a significant crown to the street with a 15 inch drop from horizontal at the curb, I started bringing concrete blocks with a 2x8x16 glued to the top of the block and attach a 2x8x10' board for a one foot rise off the street and lay the board on the grass back at the sidewalk with the blocks in the back weighting down the board. Then I just place the propanels on top of the board running front to back. The feet of the canopy are lag-screwed into the board. If that outfit is going to move in bad weather, I don't want to be there anyway :-)

 

BTW, back about 15 years ago, the show didn't have overnight security and everyone had to set up on Saturday morning, tear down on Saturday night, and set back up again on Sunday morning. Many artists wouldn't do the show for that reason. The fees went up to cover the cost of security and none of us complained ;-) I think it was something like $55 or $65 when I first started doing the show in 1988 or 1989.

 

The down side of set up and tear down is the occasional rude jerk who brings in a large box truck that completely blocks traffic and proceeds to leisurely unload. I saw that happen this year and he was told to move as about ten people were blocked.

 

My sales weren't the best this year, but after all expenses were deducted I still had enough to make it worthwhile.

 

I can't imagine how hearty and committed you'd have to be to set up on Saturday, tear down that night and do it all again the next day.  I've made it a rule for myself to completely avoid shows that require same day set up.  Especially in the summer heat, it's just too hard on the old bod!  Thank you to all of the people who got the show coordinators to change the security situation for us!

Christine, thanks for the great show report.  Glad the show was good for you.

Jacki B

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