Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
I have been using Zapp, this site and the Art Fair Sourcebook to try to locate a decent art show to participate in on the second weekend in May 2014. My criteria is that is be juried, established and somewhat well organized and attended. I am willing to travel, so location is open. I am also looking for some shows in August, September and October. I have been doing this part time for a few years and now this is my second year full time. So, I am still learning.
Has anyone done the Wichita Art and Book Fair, 55th Annual? May 10th and 11th?
OR the Prescott art show in AZ?
Did you look at CallsforArtists.com, Amy? I just went there and found several. Probably the best of them, like Artisphere in S. C., are closed, but you still have time. Good luck.
This all sounds so random, Amy. I see you live in Wisconsin. You are willing to travel to Michigan and/or Utah on that weekend, or Kansas? If you're relatively new to the business you need a better plan than that. The Birmingham show in Michigan is a decent show in an affluent area and many, many artists here have done that show. Do you have any shows lined up in May that you could build around? make a tour from one to the next?
Hi Connie, Thank you for thinking about what I am posting. Yes, I live in Wisconsin and I have pets to take care of. Otherwise I would be doing more of a circuit. So, at this time we have to drive back home after every show. We have pet sitters when we are gone on the weekends. We got our pets before we started our business otherwise I wouldn't be doing it this way. I am trying to stay in the midwest area. Most of the shows in Minnesota and Wisconsin have not been that lucrative for us, so that is why I am willing to travel a distance. My husband and I do the art shows together. We have done really well at some bigger shows further away so I think we'll keep driving for them for now.
Your are right on that, Amy. There is a reason why they are called the "big shows." They are the ones where there are bigger sales. We always did shows as close to home as possible, keeping the overhead down, but also kept the bills paid better by having the biggies in there too. There are some really good shows that weekend but their deadlines are past, as you probably know. That can be a chancy date for weather in our northern areas. There are so many good ones the following weekend as that is when the northern area really kicks off, I'd be inclined to save money and wait a week.
I have not done the Wichita Art and Book Fair. I tend not to do shows that are not strictly about art. If they have craft or festival in the title, loud music, lots of food booths, etc., it tends to dilute the art buyers attention.
Art in the Square, Belleville, IL -- open until Jan 30, but that's the third weekend in May.
Art Birmingham can be good that second weekend, if the weather cooperates. It's still open. Juried Art Services.
Prairie Village in Kansas City is a nice little show, and I believe apps are still open. End of May.
Artisphere is closed. As Connie said, many of the bigger shows jury in the fall or early winter. It really helps to have a plan in place from year to year, or to get on schedule building starting in late August/early September.
I have not heard much good about Prescott. I would not travel to Arizona for any single show nowadays, given the distance you are going.
Fine Art in the Village, Rochester Hills
Arts, Beats & Eats, Royal Oak (over Labor Day weekend)
Amy Amdur shows: Art in the Glen, Glenview; Port Clinton, Highland Park, IL. If you hurry you can still apply, but a late fee is in effect from now until the 21st of Jan.
Art & Apples, Rochester Hills MI
Birmingham Art Fair, Common Ground (put on by the Guild)
Plaza, Kansas City
St. Louis, Clayton MO
Bethesda Row, Bethesda, MD
Cottonwood, Richardson TX
Bayou City Downtown, Houston TX
Florida shows start up again in October, November, tend to be more local Florida artists until January.
Winter Springs has a nice show in October
In November, there is the Disney Festival of the Masters... fun, and maybe profitable if you have small work. Gainesville, too. Deland has a show in November as does Dunedin, near Tampa.
Thank you so much Jim, I really appreciate the information you have shared. I have applied for a couple that you mentioned and will consider applying for the others.
Amy: I would definintely not recommend Prescott...it is a very saturated market and a really margianal show as far as quality.
Hi, Amy. My wife and I do from three to six shows each tour and we do 'em with four Maltese in tow! We've had some difficulty with that, but taking them is better than leaving them at home with a sitter. We don't parade them around the shows, we're very discreet about having them on the tour. But they are very much a part of our lives and that's that. We even had them at Ann Arbor Street Art Fair THE ORIGINAL, but that was difficult despite them being safe in the 75 degrees underground parking garage in the middle of the State Street section. We have since decided not to do summer shows at all, and it's mostly because we ourselves don't like summer heat at art shows.
We've done Artisphere at Greenville, SC twice and all I can say is I wish our shows there had been better. I love the city and the location, but sales were not good enough for us to return and we didn't win awards to make up the difference. We have high-end 2D goodies with repros from $35-$110. I think the area is conservative and traditional. Someone else might have a different take on it.
Wichita is certainly conservative and traditional. We did the Art and Book Fair once and decided not to return. That's a pity since the show is indoors and along our route home from Florida to Wyoming. This year they are advertising their show featuring a Donald Roller Wilson painting, so maybe he's gonna be at the show? Anyway, don't let the "book" part of it detract from its title. They have a book sale in conjunction with a real art show.
Art Fair on the Square at Belleville, IL must get more than a thousand applications since it's gotten such praise for being a great show. We've been rejected twice and I've since reevaluated that it's probably not the show for us to do right now. One artist friend who has done it a lot says his sales are falling off a bit. That doesn't mean you'll not do well and that doesn't mean it isn't a good show. I just don't have first-hand knowledge.
Travel and food expenses have increased so much in the past 6 years that it may not be lucrative to do just one show pretty far from home. If you have the money and just want to travel a bit, that's fine. You can write-off the expenses and have a pretty good time. You might work on getting two or three shows scheduled on consecutive weekends along your travel route. But then if you have a few lackluster venues in a row you might not profit in that case, either. Still, you won't know unless you try it. You may be the artist to soar from zero-to-hero one day, and then you'll really be hooked on the experience. WOOHOO!
Thanks for all the information you have shared. I wish we could bring our dog with us, but she is a big girl that loves attention, she is 8 years old so I don't think we'll be able to teach this dog new tricks on staying under the table or behind the booth. We have scaled back on how far we are going to travel for shows sticking to the Midwest. For May so far we have applied for Laumeier near St. Louis, Belleville and Prairie Village. We applied for Brookside but they didn't want us. We are going to try to camp out at a few shows to save some dough. This will be our second year doing this full time, before that I had been doing it part time for a few years, just local shows. Anywhoo, I appreciate all the information people are sharing.