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Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

Hi All,

I just got accepted to the Asheville show in May. They have a $475 booth fee. Does anyone have any feedback about how much money/sales are often made there, and whether I should gamble to rent a booth, get a hotel, and drive from Nashville to Asheville with my family to attend? I am an impressionist oil painter.fullsizeoutput_3575.jpeg

Above is a picture of my booth so far.... I have large work.

Thanks for any input!

Kymberlee

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I don't know about the show, but understand trying to weigh the risk.

I love your work.  I also love the table.  :D

Thanks so much, Cindy:)

Kind of you to respond...

Kymberlee

Hello Kymberlee,

  I usually hesitate to give opinions about shows and sales (especially when things usually turn out the opposite and I am construed as an Ass)) but in the hope that when I need solid feedback the same will be offered to me.... here goes.

   As with any show, sales can be a gamble. But as an nearby Asheville resident and for many years part of the art scene in western NC (I am a wildlife painter) I can give you some of my impressions about this show having talked to former exhibitors and my own experiences in our area- show dates and venues, etc.. To be clear I have not personally done this show...just passing on the impressions of others and my experiences in the area.

1. It is being held at the WNC Agricultural Center which is 25 miles southeast of Asheville proper (it is actually in Fletcher, NC) last time, the show was held in the convention center in downtown. I think the fee is somewhat steep (it is the site of our Mountain State fair and and other "horsey/farmy" events throughout the year) for the venue especially when including the cost of a family trip- hotels, meals, etc. If you where be yourself and sleeping in the van it might be OK

2. When it was at the convention center I had several friends that were vendors at the show and where not exactly pleased at the sales as compared to expenses.

3. Since many of the buyers are those with second homes, May is a tough time to sell- Kids are still in school, folks have not escaped the heat of Atlanta and Florida for the mountains. Or major selling times are the early Summer and Fall holiday weekends and best sales are during October when the "Leaf Lookers" descend on our mountains

4 Just out of curiosity what is the price range of your work? Is that the same booth shot that you sent to ***works to be judged? Just curious....

DMeinders

Hi There,

That is so helpful, thank you!

Its great to hear from someone who lives in the area. My price point is between $250-$895. I have never bought a tent, so I just did a little set up for the photo in my garage...the booth shot I sent is the photo I used.

Thanks again!

Kymberlee

Your welcome,

   I hate to be critical or a downer but as artists our profit is the last drop in the "trickle down" economy. This is my ONLY business -and the arts is a dirty business at times- so any info on not wasting $$ is important. Let's face it, promotors make the same amount regardless of the artists sales, hotels and meals and gas and transport are hard costs, as well as tents, displays, materials, insurance....and the list goes on. Since you are new I will give one nugget of advice (one that someone gave me when I started out)-treat it as a BUSINESS, don't spend money you are not making- save the passion for the creative process, but treat everything else as if you were an accountant for Mr. Scrooge. Even if you only do 4 or 5 shows a year, keep track of accounting- ALL costs and profits involved. Believe me it will be worth it!

I do. I was part of it last year.

Pros:

It's a great venue, there were lots of GREAT artists there. It was one where I looked around and said "how the heck did *I* get accepted into this show?" Easy set up, you could drive right into the Cellular Center to your booth area to unload. I made some new artist friends.

Cons:

Nobody came. This show remains very close to the biggest loss I've ever taken. I had the booth fee (it was 575 last year I think), $225 for hotel, and gas and time to drive. I made $175 TOTAL all weekend. 

There were several other events going on that weekend last year -- another art show, a gallery walk downtown, and a big concert. Maybe they have resolved that this year, but indoor shows where admission is charged don't seem to do well in that area.

I did have plenty of time to talk to the other artists since there was a lack of customer traffic, and made some good friends. Best of luck to you!

Joel,

Exactly. That was my hunch, which is why I just cancelled for this time around. I think I need some experience in local shows first before I can know how to make some money and not make it a big loss. I think i was just excited that I got accepted, since it was my first time.

Thanks for all the input! I am so thankful for this site. Otherwise, who knows this kind of stuff?

Kymberlee

I asked the same question last year. Nobody stepped up to tell me, so I thought I could pay the Karma jar to help someone else!

I am sorry no one stepped up to tell you. Sometimes I think that artists believe (and I have heard stories that might back this belief) that those who criticize a show will be put on some kind of "blacklist" for the future.

DMeinders

I do shows throughout the southeast and if I can ever help,  give me a holler!

Thanks Don, for responding again. I live in Nashville and just applied for the Nashville arts and crafts fair. I applied to local private school fairs last year and didn’t get in. I am doing a Knoxville street fair in May. Any recommendations within driving distance from Nashville, or near Vero Beach Florida?

Don't be too upset about that private school show (Artclectic). I was there, too. Another not so great show. I was so excited to get in. They want an entire inventory of everything you have, and supply price tickets to you. You have to give the ticket to the customer, they take it to the cashier, the customer brings back a receipt, then you give the customer their item. You never see any of the money until the school mails you a check a month later, and they keep 30%.

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