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I have been accepted to the Telfair Art Fair in Savannah, which is local for me. They have a preview party the night before the show for 600 or so "important" museum patrons that costs them between $85-$110. I can opt for a booth location that includes this party for $550 (or $650 for a corner), OR I can pay $350 and not be included in the preview party - and also get a booth location that is theoretically less desirable.

Does anyone have experience with this preview party specifically? Is it recommended? How about this sort of event in general? What are your thoughts?

I keep going back and forth on this one, so any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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Sorry to see no one responded to your query. Of the three artists I personally know and spoke with about this event, all three said they had good sales here and two of them had been consistent award winners. Two of these three artists thought that the show policies were messing it up and one of them decided not to return. All three participated in the Friday night opening reception gig.

I personally don't like the idea of a show segregating like this. Everyone should be equal, and the very idea that for $200 less a small group of artists can show in the "budget area" for only two out of the three days, is goofy. It's even suspicious to me. The show probably means nothing goofy by doing it, except that it has artists questioning whether or not they should spend more to be included in the Friday night gig. The show claims artists in the budget area are still eligible for awards. I bet the judge will be present on Friday night as well, though, and somehow psychologically this might effect their decisions. I don't know. Just wondering. But I think that last year the show only had 10 or so booths in the budget area, and that low number of booths means the impact of the area is further less significant compared to what's happening in the inner circle of the Friday night big timers.

Plus, artists are expected to pay A BIG FEE to have someone with them at the Friday night reception. And for those artists who don't pay to be in the Friday night big timers section, they'll have to pay a BIG FEE to come to the reception since they aren't automatically invited.

Good luck with the show. What did you decide to do?

Barrie, thank you tons! I appreciate your response a lot. I think you made me feel better about my decision. I decided to bite the bullet and pay the $550. My decision was based more on location than the Friday night event. I don't have high hopes for that, but I didn't want to get stuck outside the main traffic area for the remainder of the show.

I agree about the rewards. I can't imagine that being there on Friday won't make at least a psychological difference. And I too think the idea of segregating and charging $200 extra for the "gig" is whacky. But I bought into it! :) So we'll see how it goes.

Thanks again!

Renee,   How the the show go?  Did it work out for you?

Jennifer, it did work out! For me it was a good decision to be there Friday night. I sold my largest piece (a triptych) and with that sale I recovered my expenses, so the rest of the weekend was profit. The Friday night event was a lot of fun as well!

Having said that, I don't think I will apply again. The remainder of the weekend was just so-so for me. Other artists around me who had done the show previously said there was less buying energy than in years past.

The venue was great and the quality of art was exceptional. But no one that I spoke to was thrilled with their sales. All in all it was a very mixed bag.

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