Anyone with experience on the Flats Festival for the Arts now that Howard Alan Shows has taken over?

I'd be driving 4+ hours, it's expensive and lodging is kind of high in Cleveland.

Anyone with experience who wouldn't mind sharing?

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  • I'd like to know how this show was, this year. Cleveland is a great area with plenty of art buyers, with nice houses to fill. This would be the third year for this event. You can't count the first year, though. I was run by that ... guy... who ran Columbus for a while, but, got fired. Howard does a good job. It has potential.

    • I second the advantages of Cleveland as an art buying area. They don't have any blockbuster shows, but a smattering of decent ones in good neighborhoods. We always did well at Cain Park in Cleveland Heights, have heard good things about the Lakewood show in August and many people do decently at Boston Mills. As Kathleen said, the right work at the right place can find buyers in Cleveland. 

  • The Flats is a very good show for us. HAE knows how to advertise to bring in an Art-minded crowd. It is a trendy area as well with plenty of $$$ & if you have what they like, money isn't an issue. There are many expensive condos on the river next to the show, & it & has plenty of nite-life & great restaurants, but they are also there to BUY. HAE has great security too. We drive out to Independence (about 10-11 miles) & there are plenty of Hotels from inexpensive & up there~nice restaurants as well.

  • Great replies, Becky, Barbara and Ed. This kind of information is so helpful and brings people to this site. Its purpose is to help people earn a living in this business and we couldn't be helpful without people like you who add personal information. Thank you.

    • Fletcher,

      Do you mind if I ask where you are located?

      I have lived in NE Ohio for many years, not currently there fulltime. This could hopefully turn out to be a decent show someday, but the Flats area is known locally as a place with bars and clubs, and a cool place to see the water and the boats. I don't connect it with art and art shoppers, but that could of course change.

      I ask where you are located because I have not given this show a second thought as there are some decent smaller shows in the area.

      • I'm in Midland, MI, which is roughly 2 hours above Detroit. Cleveland (four hours) would be about my limit for driving. Ended up not doing this one. I can use the time to work on some art, work on my trailer, be with my family!

        • If you could find decent lodging you may be able to make some of the smaller shows work for you.

          I have used a Motel 6 in the Montrose area but that is in Akron. Very cheap good basic hotel but always felt that I had to watch my back in the parking lot.

          Also Red Roof Inns in other areas of Ohio have been priced well, never looked for one in Cleveland,though.

          Other shows are Medina in July, Lakewood in early August, Chagrin Falls in June.

          Also what Connie mentioned.

          Some artists do several of these shows over the summer. 

  • I did the first year of the festival. At that time, there was an admission charge of $10, I believe. Attendance and overall crowd energy seemed low. I felt we were just a diversion for the people entering the show to go to the various bars and restaurants. I basically broke even. My commuting miles from the Super 8 in Beechwood almost equaled my round trip miles from Columbus (my home) to Cleveland. Prices for any lodging near the show was astronomical due to an Indians home stand and a concert (if I remember correctly, Paul  McCartney) and some other big event all converging on the same weekend. Baring new information there is no way I could justify trying that show again. For a frame of reference I am a woodworker. (see "")  Just wanted to add my perspective.

    Ed Collins

    • I have heard similar things from a lot of folks who did it the first year- it felt like promotion was a bit lacking too?  They are no longer charging the admission fee, so there is that.  Howard Allen also runs 2 other shows in the area- west side Crocker Park art fair and east side Legacy Village- both lifestyle center sort of outdoor shopping areas, so this is their shot at expanding to downtown I guess.

      The folks I have heard who are happy with their results at this particular fair last year and maybe the year before are mostly functionals, possibly photography or 2D that sell reproductions as a majority of their income. That is pretty typical of the Cleveland area IME- that it is not a good market for 2D originals even at the well-established fine art shows. (I am 2D originals-only, so that is my lens :) )

  • Try Airbnb -Ohio city is just over the bridge from the festival and is an eclectic trendy location with quaint Victorians and recent revival. Independence Ohio area hotels are a 10 Knute drive on I 77 into town.
    I don’t do Howard alan events- but they bought the rights to another art destination event done by the downtown alliance of Cleveland known as spark art hop. The event involves locals taking trolley buses to destinations and primary destination is this festival. It actually drove about 4K people to the festival last year.
    Those artist friends that participated last year did well. Blessings on a successful show. Its a beautiful vista right on the river.
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