Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
I am trying to get some information regarding this years Suncoast Arts Fest at the Shops of Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel Florida. If any artists have any comments to make on it, I will be happy to let the promoters know how you felt about the event this year, good or bad. It is held at an upscale mall, kind of in the middle of Pasco County. I participated 2 years ago and felt I was competing with the mall for sales. They really want their festival to be successful and of course we artists want and need to sell our work. Did you feel the show was worth attending? Would you do it again?
This event is about 2-1/2 hours away for me, and since I had a free weekend I thought I'd check it out for next year. Evidently this is the 6th annual event for these folks so they must have had time to work out the wrinkles.
Artfest is set up along the middle "street" of a village-type shopping mall. I was not particularly familiar with the mall or the area, and even looking for signs (amid the road construction) I only saw two. The tents are set up in such a manner that they can't be seen from the road or for that matter from the parking area. If I didn't know there was a festival going on I wouldn't have known there was a festival going on. Once inside the village area there are signs indicating sponsorship by the local newspaper and radio station. The polka music on Sunday was amusing. I was quite impressed with the quality of the art/crafts -- with one exception (one -- and I checked twice) every single booth was high end craft or art and a great selection. My partner complained there was (again) too much jewelry, but I think that's the norm now. The streets were still crowded late Sunday afternoon, and the stores remained open until after the show closed.
I spoke with four artists. Of the four only one had made booth fee. Yes, the streets were crowded, and yes, the shoppers were carrying bags. The bags, though, came from the stores. This is an upscale mall where couples go to while away the day. Maybe buy a sweater or a pair of shoes, but not art. They go to look at art. They go to spend the day, and the art festival provides a new and interesting take. A walk in the park.
Yes, the show was worth attending -- I saw lots of great art. Unfortunately, I don't think it's a good venue to sell art, but may provide contacts for later.
Thanks Lin for your reply. The Arts Fest unfortunately was unhappy that I have started this discussion. I have not given them anything yet, because I am waiting for more folks to check in. Their committee has NO INTENTION of moving the festival they told me in no uncertain terms, I personally would like to get others impression on the location due to the fact you ARE competing with a fancy mall. If it looks like money is being made, I would cetainly love to give it another try. It is close to me and would make a nice winter show. But I am in this for my art and to make a living with it not just to support the Arts for Kids, which IS a worthy cause. So let us wait to hear more. Anything you hear would be helpful. Thanks again.
It doesn't surprise me that the committee would want to put a lid on artists' opinion -- the artists weren't selling much so I'm assuming wouldn't have a very high opinion of the event. Again, though, it was a fantastic draw for the mall -- a traveling museum of interesting art. An added attraction, if you will, to make your shopping at the mall even more pleasant, and yes, a worth cause.
Would I apply? No. Would I recommend it to a friend? No. Unless you're aiming for prize money (which is a whole different story) simply put, in my opinion it isn't a good venue to sell art.
We attended the show this year but I will not be attending next year.
My price point was between $169.00-$3,000.00 I am a 3-D ARTIST (Highly Detailed Sculpted Jewelry)
I noticed their were more CHICO, etc... bags being carried than artist bags and I felt I was just entertainment for the mall's customers. The price points that I felt moving were around $25 items which including the Beer Can Airplanes for approx. $10 (Recycling is great, just not at a juried art fair)
Although the venue was beautiful and I felt it was a well run show...I have to make a living, this is a business for us, not a hobby.