Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
The Brandywine Festival of the Arts takes place in a beautiful, shady park in Wilmington, Delaware. It's a pretty cool show, with good karma, and while I didn't do well at the show, I have some promising commissions from it.
The show has a $5 gate fee (kids 12 and under get in free). It was advertised really well, on a giant billboard beside I-95, and while the show was on hiatus for a while, it has a long history.
A ton of people came to the show, and the festival-goers were friendly, interested and supportive. They just weren't buying big art - or at least not my big art.
I sold four small paintings, all less than $100, and that was it for sales during the show. I have since gotten one large commission for sure, and one for possibly sure, and a few others that might turn into reality, so that's great.
One possible reason for my low sales at the show is that I was the third booth from the main entrance. Between me and the gate was a guy selling beautiful and inexpensive glass animals, and a booth on either side selling small and medium-sized laminated wood objects, then me, with five paintings at $100 or less, and large pieces going up to $3500.
Behind me was a person selling iron-stake garden art, starting at $7, a person selling bonsai plants starting at $12, and a guy with a gizmo that allowed festival-goers to make their own silk scarves.
There was a lot of talk among the artists about this person, with the general sentiment being how the HECK did he get in, since he was not the one making the art? I am sure there's reason in that sentiment - but I do have to say that if I'd had the chance, I might have signed up to make a scarf, the same way I used to get in line to put paint on a little board that a gizmo would then spin around. Remember that?
As for other particulars, I was able to drive right up to my booth to set up, and even to take down. There is artist parking, but it is tight. You have to arrive at the crack of dawn to get a spot.
There were tons of volunteers to help with set-up, and with take-down. We all got coupons for free coffee and donuts on both mornings. The show is HUGE, and I saw a fair amount of art that I thought was really good, and another fair amount that I wondered about. Other artists told me they saw a lot of buy-sell, but I didn't get out far enough to notice that. I asked if they had alerted the show promoters, as buy-sell was expressly prohibited, and they said they had not.
I would probably apply to this show again next year, despite my poor showing. It felt like a good show, with good karma. And I did ask to be placed away from a certain area, (even a worse setting than where I ended up, I think), so my location was really at least partly my fault.
I'm posting a photo of my booth (it was afternoon, and shady), a photo of a pretty part of the park, and a crowd shot
Thank you for the feedback Carrie. It's hard doing these outdoor shows when weather makes such a mess of things. I'm on the fence on this show too. I've heard good things about this show, Doylestown and Kennett Square's Mushroom Festival and they're all on the same weekend. Decisions, decisions.
Nice photos, good overall review...great about the billboard and the setting, which looks amazing...too bad about the silk scarf guy. Thanks for sharing this with us and Happy New Year!