Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
I have had no discussions with any one other than my immediate family about the Cvirus.
Two family members are in healthcare. Their opinion is that this is going to be in our lives for AWHILE. Not 3 weeks, not 6 weeks. Longer.
They are also skeptical as to the severity, comparing it to other health issues, past influenza, other influenza.
They are very sobered by the effect on the future of the economy.
Would anyone like to share what they know others are thinking, or what you are thinking?
I am wondering what potential customers would be have in their minds.
Have had sooooo many thoughts about this and when you posted I decided to reply with my own two cents.
First, before I was a full-time artist, I worked many years as a Biologist in tropical countries. I think that my science background gives me some "bonafides" to comment about the current situation with some clarity and a little bit of an analytical mind.
1) Looking at the current projection models (and these have been around since January) things do not look good. I do not think that we will see a peak in cases in the US until June/July. 80 million infected is not only possible but probable. China took drastic measures and the numbers of new cases have slowed considerably. If the current mortality rate of 3-4% holds true that means that means some 3 million possible deaths. To put it into perspective the seasonal flue last winter sickened probably 100 million and we had 30-50,000 deaths. Since viruses mutate...we might even see a larger problem.
2) The authorities really dropped the bag on this...for example I was looking at the pictures of all the Spring Breakers still on the beaches in Florida, all with the possibility of getting infected, travelling home, and continuing the spread ( shame on you governor!!!!). As much as it hurts the only way to control the spread is with draconian, albeit unpopular measures of quarantine and containment.
3) That said, so many personal measures are so easy to do....wash your hands...maintain distance...do not go to places with crowds or confined spaces. It is a measure of PERSONAL responsibility and CONSIDERATION for your fellows. The personal touch may not be possible for the foreseeable future.
4) PANIC leads to bad decisions. Although I maybe accused of looking at the worst scenario I believe that at times this is the prudent way to go. For example we all have car and/or home insurance. Do we want to have a car wreck or have a house fire? Of course not. It just prepares us for the worst.
5) As far as Art shows go we have to accept that the Spring shows are pretty much a lost cause. Since this gig is now my main source of income I am REALLY concerned. BUT...I am not interested to be around crowds of people right now- and I doubt that "crowds" will show up to purchase. We home care my 86 year-old mother and I can not take the chance of bringing home something that might affect her health.
6) Now a little light at the end of the tunnel. Worst case projections rarely come to pass. They are based on many probabilities and possibilities. WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS. All the customers that missed us during the Spring will come back. As artist we now have time to create, set up a stronger on-line presence, develop and diversify, etc. Opportunities will present themselves and we will come back stronger.
Sermon is done.....hopefully I will not get too much flack- LOL
Thank you! Great, well thought out reply.
Thanks Don. You should expect no flack for a thoughtful, rational post. While we’re all entitled to an opinion, the only opinions I care about are those of scientists, medical experts, epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists etc. that you reference. The two guys working on my house, who I love, think the coronavirus is no big deal and public health measures an overreaction by “snowflakes”. I don’t look to them for enlightenment about pandemics.
Especially because we have been so slow to act, current predictions about the spread of the disease, projected fatalities, increased imminent restrictions on our mobility, and devastation to employment and the overall economy are dire. So dire that they even got the attention of the current administration, which is saying something. I would be happy to be wrong, but I can’t imagine that we will see another art fair in 2020.
Unlike you, I am not an optimist by nature. I know you were trying to be positive but we won’t all get through this. Even short of a worst case scenario, between one and two million Americans may die. And many artists, who live economically on the razors edge anyway, without insurance and without savings, will be wiped out. Because this is going to last a long while. We’re apparently 12 to 18 months away from a vaccine. And while we pat ourselves on the back better than any country in the world, we Americans don’t seem constitutionally suited to dealing with this crisis. It will test our capacity for altruism, for sacrifice, for patience, for impulse control, for the capacity to bear relative isolation and decreased stimulation. In other words, as I said to someone today, we may well be screwed.
But while we’re being screwed, is there something we can do to help those among us who are in the most need? And I’m thinking here of some sort of emergency fund through this site. Many of us with sane, stable, paycheck earning spouses could afford to contribute to it. And there are many art fair patrons with deeper pockets who I think would be very willing to help if approached. Just a thought.
Thank you Don , and Al, for your responses.
I want to clarify, for Al and any others, that I am not looking for any medical advice but trying to get a general perception as to what others are thinking. I believe that Don was trying to give me his best and honest answer, which I very much appreciate.
I would not want others to be timid to post a response.
When I referenced my family members, it was to show what their perception is of the situation, coming from their background and day by day working environment, which is a city hospital for one, and a group practice for the other.
Many of us have been through 9/11 as working artists. We can remember the September shows that came directly after Sept 11. We had to use our heads and figure out the new market as things had so changed; looking back, this time looks so much harder. Hopefully we can do it again. Our customer's wants and needs had changed, and are changing again.
As to helping others, all for it, but I don't know who feels capable right now? Even those working at jobs cannot see too far ahead.
Thank you both, again, for the thoughtful replies.
Excellent thoughtful words - thank you!
Thank you for asking the question, Judy. And I'm sure others will really appreciate the background and ideas presented by Don and Al. (As always thumbs up to you, Don C.). This is going to be a long haul experience. Winter Park's cancellation was the beginning of the dominoes falling.
I do keep thinking about what I can do with the voice presented here of artists and the strong outreach of our art fair websites to artists, show organizers and the clients we all serve, the buyers of our art. There are already many capable well-organized efforts already out there, so I hesitate to start an initiative for helping. But am open to your suggestion, Al. You are right, we are not all starving artists but many of us have been the stomach churning experience of fear that bills will not be paid. Do you think we can help?
Don’t really know if a fund is feasible or if it could even be funded. I just know, as you do, that a lot of artists on the circuit if not starving, frequently skip a meal. And they have no backup. Here’s an example of what I was thinking. I did some Florida shows and then left my van at the Tampa airport, flew home to Maine with the idea of returning for Winter Park. I was advised not to fly, then Winter Park cancelled, so my van is stranded at the airport. I can handle the monthly fee to let it sit there for the time being, but what if I couldn’t? Lots of small businesses will be appealing to the government for help, as they should, but sometimes it just feels important to do something to help your own tribe.
As to Judy’s question about what people out there are thinking: there are lots of examples of people minimizing the threat (see Rand Paul or video of spring breakers) but at least here in coastal Maine, where social distance is a way of life, people are very anxious and very serious. The grocery store is the most crowded place in town but full of strained sober faces and you can hear a pin drop. Kind of eerie.
lots here ...
re: the grocery
My older brother needs help. He emailed me his grocery list yesterday and I went to the grocery around 9:30 this morning. It was very quiet, few people there, probably about the # that are there usually at that time of day. I think the big scary crowds are settled down now in many places. No crowds, plenty of parking places ... the good news about living in this country, and the illness that is taking over is that it doesn't affect the food supply. Lord knows they're not going to stop making toilet paper. There is not a transportation disruption.
Hey Al - I'm a photographer. I live in Winter Park. In 4 to 7 days, I need to drive to St Pete to pick up a frame from Florida Framers. My wife could come along and we could pick up your van and keep it at our place in Winter Park, if that would help. - Robert Green ph: 407-256-3206
I knew my inattentiveness would someday get me. I just saw this. What a generous offer. I’m assuming it’s too late but many many thanks anyhow. Al
Here’s one thing I am doing and it was a purposeful decision. Actually two things.
1) If anyone brings a non perishable food to my booth (@ my local retail business) it is going to the local food bank. Plus they get 10% off any purchase for their contribution.
2) I am spending more time in my shop due to the situation. It keeps my hands and mind busy. While working I am creating more items to sell at the $20 and under price range. People may want to buy but feel they cannot let go of $$ for larger ticket items. This price point will work for me, though I know it would for everyone. However many of us could create more at our lower price points, whatever that is, and go for volume. Many of my “raw materials” were free or bought at garage sale prices so my investment is very low.
Sorry for,the diversion in topic here.
I have very mixed feelings on the approach our country is taking. Both myself and my husband (and my mom!) are in the age groups that risk a more severe case if we get coronavirus. But my husband works in healthcare, and is actually at an even higher risk of contracting it. So I think its prudent to try to limit unnecessary social contact, but for how long? Every day this continues, the time line gets pushed out farther. And it is not just kids home from school, and the hospitality industry that will be impacted. Eventually, almost all occupation and trades will be impacted. My husband's hospital is actually looking to reduce hours, because no one is coming in for routine health care!
So I worry that the consequences of our restrictions are going to have grave economic impact that will haunt us for even longer than the virus threat. Are we pushing ourselves into another Great Depression? And will the fallout from the economic effects be even more detrimental to us than the impact of the virus if we had just let it run it's course? I have four adult children, and I worry about their economic future. Our virus containment efforts may save lives in the short run, but ruin lives in the long run.