Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
We are successful at most of our shows. We make elegant functional pottery. Our experience at four day shows includes South University, which is one of the top Ann Arbor Shows MI; Arts, Beats and Eats in Royal Oak MI; State College PA and Wyandotte MI as well as The Yellow Daisy Festival in GA. All other of our 20 shows a year are either 2 or 3 days. We have stopped doing the 4 day shows. I can't speak to any other 4 day shows as these are and were the only ones we did.
I have just learned from speaking to the promoter that "Art in the Park" in Plymouth MI in July has applied to the city or wherever it is that they need permission to extend to be a 4 day show from their present 3 day status.
Our experience has been that although some additional money is made, it doesn't work out in sales profit enough to counter the total expenses for higher booth fees, hotel, gas and meals. Equally significant - the time away from the studio producing our art is time and money lost. We have done the numbers and it just isn't worth it.
Please send your opinion if you agree with our experience or if your opinion is the same to www.artinthepark.com/contact. You can call or write. This Plymouth MI show is already expensive in booth fees, but it has been a good show mid July. I hope you can exert an opinion to counter the promoter's enthusiasm for a 4 day show. Also love to hear about other suggestions in July for 2 or 3 day shows.
Donna and Greg
Pottery For Living
Donna, it turns out we will be at some of the same events in the spring i.e. Ft Myers, March Bonita.
That formula works for a small business or a corporation with 1000 box stores across the country. Let's say your Schlockmarket stores are open on Sunday and you are open until 9PM. You do less business from 6PM til 9PM. Should you change your store hours and close at 6PM? You know how much it costs in electricity and labor during those 3 hours and you know how much you sell during those hours. You would stay open if your sales equal your costs or are greater. You would close at 6 if it costs you more to stay open. You may decide to close certain stores at the earlier time and keep the ones open that do good business during those hours.
Funny thing about driving back and forth to shows. I, luckily, got into Des Moines and Cherry Creek this year. The idea was to drive the 600 miles to Des Moines and then drive the 600 miles to Denver. There was 10 days in between and I was planning to see the Eagles in Denver the weekend in between the two shows. I sold all my pieces $250 and under in Iowa and drove all the way back home to fire pieces that I had made for Ann Arbor, which was 2 weeks after Cherry Creek. Then I drove the 1200 miles back to Denver. I think I am still tired from all that driving.
Your response makes me laugh. We had a similar experience a few years ago. "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." I'd like to meet you in person and hope if your picture looks like you we might cross paths at FT. Myers or Bonita March. We'll have a double booth as usual and our sign is, "Pottery For Living.'
I'm an oil painter, and like Larry, sometimes arrive at a show a day early, and almost always stay over the last night and leave for home early the next day. The extra hotel fees are pretty minimal, really, (one small painting) and I eat on the road what I would eat at home, so that's no extra cost.
What I've found, though, is that that extra day just doesn't usually add an extra day's income, or at least, not reliably. The people who come to shows mid-week are generally not my buyers. They tend to be older, retired people who - in general! - usually have all the 2-D art they want. Or they are mothers/fathers with preschool kids, often in strollers. These folks are at the show For An Outing. They might buy small stuff, or mementos - but they're not buying multi-thousand-dollar paintings - at least at most shows.
All that being said, at some of the huge shows that I've been lucky enough to get into - Ann Arbor and Columbus and even Uptown and State College - it seems to be different. That first day, true buyers come out to get the good stuff early. But I don't get into these shows regularly, and at most of the other multi-day shows I do, those extra days are just taking painting time away from me. I suspect that one of the reasons that those shows are so popular with artists is because those extra days contain at least some buyers.
Just my 3 cents (inflation).
Thanks for answering Carrie. It's clear that we all have different buying patterns and preferences. We just came back from the Great Gulf Coast Art Fesitival in Pensacola FL and I spoke to several artists there with high end 3D work. They felt that the same as you. Their essential take was that almost the same number of people come but are spread out over the extra day. I guess we all take our chances. The cost we have to include as well as hotel is the higher booth fee that the show is charging because it's adding a day. The director of the Plymouth MI show in July said she would definitely raise the booth fee. There are a number of factors to include to see if it's worthwhile. In the meantime if anyone has done a 3 day show mid July that's got big crowds of people within 11 hour drive of Atlanta and has a prior day set up, let me know.
Ann Arbor? 10 hour 39 minutes - Atlanta to Ann Arbor :-)