Has anyone out there had a good experience with mall parking lot shows? I've done them from Lincoln NE to Skokie IL with consistently discouraging results. After staring at the Prairie Village app yesterday, I decided to give it a pass. Like another mall show in KC (Town Center AF), it has excessively long hours (friday eve, plus 11 hours on sat), and one gets the feeling of being little more than diverting window dressing for the mall itself, like pony rides for the kids outside the casino. The published attendence figures count all who might possibly go to the mall on a given weekend, but at least 85% of them came to shop at the mall and have to run a gauntlet of art carnies to get to the shop which sells what they came for. And what they come for is BRANDED merchandise sold coast to coast, not one-off original pieces made by (to them) unknown artisans.

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  • I wouldn't pay for an artfair in a mall. People are coming to do their usual business. And when there is by accident a art fair they just watch in a hurry. You would not sell a thing. Or as good as nothing. Its only the organizers. The business districts who want some artist to cheer up the windows of the businesses in that area same thing. Artists are taken for milking cows. Same goes for stores , restaurants even layuers offices etc. They only want free art on their wall. They are not concerned about selling. May yes if something is sold they want commission. When I come up with a contract and insurance ussues they pass, that says enough.
  • I've done a few and was not satisfied. I think its lost money sales as good as nothing. People come to the mall to shop not to see an art fair who is accidently at the place.
    Zaki Knapen
  • We live in the Prairie Village area and like this show. We also do the Brookside show run by the same director, Donna Potts. This show is not the same old upscale mall thing you will see but a nice show in an older established area that attracts the same people as the Plaza and Brookside shows do. Town Center I heard has cancelled the show this year, it was never a great show for us and we didn't do it last year. We try to do the reseach for mall shows but generally stear clear of them anymore.
  • Hi Dale,
    Ironically, the show you mentioned passing by, Prairie Village, is one of my favorites. Have you ever been there? I really don't consider it a mall parking lot show. It's a pleasant shopping district with a street down the middle. Artists line up back to back in a row inbetween. Sigh--last year they juried me out. I hope they realized their loss :) and let me back in this year.

    Later, Cooper
    • Karen:

      Thanks for the response. I may have made a mistake passing on the PV show; I've never done it, and may not have gotten in - some mall shows have high standards. But I've done Town Center AF in Leawood twice, once just below average, then way worse. And its a very nice show, high quality exhibitors, and well organized, but just not much by way of sales and attendance, despite its being put on by a charitable organization rather than some one in a tiny office thinking up schemes to promote the mall traffic count.

      Although I've made my living as a jeweler for over 20 years, I've only been doing shows for 6, and here are some of my suspicions about how to prejudge the worthiness of a show. Mall shows are at the bottom of my list; in addition to the reason in my first post, they are usually invisible from even the adjoining thoroughfares (which are often just feeder streets to the mall apron). My favorites are shows which occupy and block the main drag (or at least visible to the high traffic if its a federal highway). Second from the bottom are privately promoted shows, generally no better attended than shows that are lacking the mercenary for-profit motive, and the booth rent is 1/4 to 1/2 of what it is at shows where the promoter is looking for a 25 - 50K payout for the weekend. I favor shows run by arts leagues, chambers of commerce, art museums and charities. There are a few put on by parks and recreation boards (Champaigne) which don't raise much enthusiasm, just keep municipal workers justified.

      This year I'm trying to recalibrate in advance, expecting the economy to warp the show landscape well away from what its been. I expect attendance to be down, and if not, many more tire-kickers who will be much harder to set the hook on. So far this winter I've made over 250 smaller, less ornamented pendants I'll sell for $25 to $50, hoping to tempt the fearful.

      Cheers, DALE
  • Hello,
    Way in the past when first starting we did mall shows, both inside and out. Have not done one a second time. Do not do any now.
  • Some can be quite good -- depending on your work and the location of the venue. ArtFairSourceBook has good information, both artists' reviews and on the paid database. Prairie Village was well-recommended, as I recall. Art at the Glen in Glenview has been good at times, as has Crocker Park in Westlake, OH. Both are run by experienced promoters. Bonita Springs in January is usually good for high end sales, the spring show not as good.

    Sometimes local mall shows attract a good crowd if you are also local and don't have major travel expenses. Ask around, see if other artists that have done it have good or bad words for it.
    • Perhaps it is my work - targeted at a modest price point - but the venue, a mall, seems to draw habitual time-passers. I do the Glenview Art league show with good results, but have been warned off the Amdur shows, she does the Glenview show in the development where the AFB has been upscaled, maybe I have made a mistake. The other two shows you cite are well out of my comfortable driving range.
      • I'm curious what you meant when you said you were warned off the Amdur shows... This is my first year venturing out of state (MI) and I thought that Chicago shows would fare better than Detroit. I've not done Amdur shows before, but I will be doing 2 this summer. (Promenade and Cantigny) I am also considering doing the riverwalk AF in Naperville IL and the Lake Forest Art Fair in the Square show. Your advice would be well appreciated.
        • Warned off the Amdur Production art shows ? As of 2009 art show season, Amdur reorganized their art entry for art participates. They are interfaced with juriedartservices.com, who renders the closed circuit prescreening for artists governing some of the most elit neighborhoods inclusive of the most affluent art shows throughout the Chicago metro area...I suppose due to security reasons. You register and submit samples of your artwork for review, they contact you per qualifications predicated upon your art. Then you obtain an application from zapplication.org and choose which art shows you would like to attend with the related entry fees. This process must be completed in the month of January with a deadline on the 31st. You no longer show up to participant in any specific art show produced by Amdur. By what some of you are saying, I would guess many of you may not be aware of the latest procedures...Anyway, Good Luck !
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