Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
I was curious if anyone on the forum has experience with the art fair in Peoria, IL in September. I was accepted in the show, but also have another one day show that weekend. Peoria is about three hours away and the other show is local. Just trying to decide what is the better option for the end of my art fair season. The Peoria show appears to showcase high quality artists, but I was curious about the attendance and if the show attracts buyers.
I've done the Peoria show several times. It is a very nice show to do. The people are lovely and it's in a great location, right on the river.
It is not a high sales show, though, at least not in the last few years. Peoria is struggling to replace Caterpillar jobs. Caterpillar is still there, but has moved executive offices to Chicago, and laid off a lot of people. So there is uncertainty, where disposable income is concerned.
The first year I did the show, they had an opening night event, where artists donated part of sales to the show. It was elegant and well attended and I sold two pieces that night. The main show never lived up to former years' sales however, and the last time I did it, even with a good location, it was hard to make it work for me. I'd LIKE to, because I really like the people who come and the folks who put it on, but I can't justify the trip from SC any more.
Keep in mind, I am a painter, so if you are a jeweler, or someone with a lot of affordable items, you could do well.
We participated in 2016. Seemed like it was going to be a good selling show for us, but it wasn't. Several of my long time artist friends didn't do well at this 2016 show, either. All are showing different mediums, too. Show seemed to have potential, though. A few friends did fine, and the guy next to me selling furniture did very well. Staff were friendly and really good overall.
Security was a big issue since a framed painting was stolen from our booth after the show on Saturday. When I opened on Sunday, there was a hole in my display. We are big ticket fine art, too. Show said they were going to try and help reimburse us for it, but they never came through. They tried to be nice about it by giving us $120 that the security guard apparently forfeited from his pay. But the artwork is valued at $3,200. Artists were sleeping in vans so close to the booth that I could have thrown a rock and broken all their windows. They were that close. Obtain insurance before showing in Peoria Fine Art Fair, especially if you do art you think someone will covet. Maybe someone stole the art from us based upon how I talked with people during the show. You just never know what's gonna trigger someone's meanness.
The year I did it - 2015 or 2016 - Caterpillar announced lay-offs the day before the show. I do majolica pottery and it was not worth the drive from Colorado even though I combined it with two other shows and stayed with a friend in between. Like Carol says, it's well done, a beautiful setting, lovely people.