Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
While I was initially rejected from the Boston Mills show, I received a call off the waitlist the day of the show! I wasn't really surprised by my initial rejection, as my booth shot for the application was ridiculously awful (see first attached photo for a laugh; second photo was my booth at the show). But I was so excited to be invited even at the last minute, and jumped at the chance. It helped that the venue was only a half hour's drive from my home, and luckily I had recently upgraded my display and had been working on my booth shots. I missed out on the Preview Night, but was able to participate in the weekend days.
First of all, I was very impressed with the staff there. The coordinator at Boston Mills went out of her way to make it easy for me to set up, and offered me a deeply discounted show fee. She personally met me on Saturday morning to let me in early so I could set up, and she checked in on me during the show to see how I was doing. The show also provide ample booth sitters, making it so easy to take a break whenever needed. The layout is great, with most artists having booths under one of four larger tents. Free water was available, and there was plenty of food available for purchase.
Now the bad part....it was an ungodly hot and humid Midwestern weekend. Saturday, in particular, was horrible; and the heat really affected the turnout. It was a little better on Sunday, but according to some more experienced vendors, sales and attendance were really down over previous years. And for those vendors not fortunate enough to have a booth in one of the large tents, the heat must of been insufferable! If you apply for this show, be sure to request a spot in one of the tents (East, West, North, or South) - they don't guarantee requests, but they say they will try to take them into consideration.
As a newer artist, this was really my first true art show. I had only done church variety art and craft shows prior to this, so I was still quite impressed by the size, organization, and the turnout - despite the heat. And thanks to my receiving a reduce booth fee, I was able to make a profit, although not anything spectacular. I will apply again for next years show, and hopefully, if accepted, will have better sales with the addition of the preview night and the chance for better weather.
And take away for newer artists - go ahead and apply even if you think you're not quite ready yet - you may get a call off the waitlist!
Nice of you to post. Good job getting off the wait list.
I was in Kent, OH over the weekend and I wondered how everyone at the show was doing.
I have a question about the heat and tents. Were you inside one of the big tents? Do you know for certain if that was better heat wise then being outside under your own canopy?
I ask because I was an exhibitor a few years ago in a show with large tents or your own setup and I was outside under my own canopy. This was Craft Expo in Guildford, CT. We all felt that NOT being inside one of the larger tents was cooler. Well, no such thing as "cool," -let's say, more tolerable!
Hi Judy! While there really was no cool place, yes the larger tents definitely were better. I was in the South tent, and somewhat near the entrance, which also helped. Artists further back in the big tents did have it worse than me, because whatever air there was didn’t circulate well back there. But the row of individual tents had it worse, the direct sunlight was just pounding them all day. Even walking along the open aisles outside felt miserable. Which meant that those attending also preferred to walk through the bigger tents, bringing in what traffic there was to those vendors. I spoke with some of the artists who had the individual tents, and they agreed. I think if there had been a breeze, the situation may have been reverse. But the air was so still this time that the big tents had the advantage this time. I’m hoping I can do this show again next year and that the weather will be better...curious to see how well it would be attended under ideal conditions!
Thanks for sharing this review! It's always great to get a new perspective, especially from a "newbie"! Congratulations on getting into the show, even if it was last minute, and good for you for putting it all together in time to actually make a small profit. One question, though, where were you? I'm don't know where Boston Mills is, you might want to include your location next time for those other "newbies" out there...thanks again and best of luck as you proceed.
Oh, interesting! Thanks for your response and a terrific recap of this show, especially from a newbie's point of view.