With just one outdoor show under my belt, I'm ready to try more. I've been accepted into the City Place Art Festival in West Palm Beach, FL on March 5-6, and I'm waiting to hear from the Virginia Beach Boardwalk Art Show on June 16-19. I've selected these because they match up with my travel calendar.

Does anyone have experience with these shows? I'm interested to know anything anyone can share, and specifically if there seem to be buyers looking for fine art (my work is oil painting on canvas) or if they're mainly lower price audiences.  

Thanks for any info!

Sharon Strine

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  • The Boardwalk show is a long, tough show to do, but the year I did it, there was tons of buying energy, and lots of sales. For a long time, it was my best show ever, in terms of total sales. AND I got commissions afterwards, too. People come to the show from all over the state, and many plan their vacations around it. A couple of my expensive ($2000+) pieces sold, and a number of other pieces in the $500 range also sold. And then a bunch of $100 paintings. So it's long and hard, but worth it. Do not be put off by the crowds of bikini-clad, beer-drinking beach-goers. They're there to look and drink and not buy anything - but the real buyers are there, too. 

    • Hi Carrie,

      Thanks for answering my questions, especially about the market potential. It's tricky to determine the worth of investing in a show in an unfamiliar region. Really helpful to hear from those who've been there. Thanks again!

  • We did it for the first time last year and the heat was overwhelming!  The actual temps each day went over 100 and our sales went down each day.  We never got cool, but finally just wore our bathing suits, dunked our feet in buckets of ice and went swimming when the heat overwhelmed.301681881?profile=RESIZE_1024x1024

    An important note regarding the winds.  If you're setup is east of a divide between large buildings such as hotels or parking areas, make sure to add all the weight you can muster to your tent front (facing west).  The last two years, thunderstorms blew over heading out to sea and the winds picked up speed between these buildings.  We saw many tents blown all the way onto the beach that were positioned east of those building divides.

    • That is one sad looking shot of destruction! (Not yours, I hope) Thanks very much for sharing your experience and advice, Joe. 

      • Nah, Not ours!  This was a food service booth stationed just east of an opening between hotels. I have a picture of a commercial booth that was next to it, but it is just pavement and a Geico sign.  The pop up tent went waay away!

  • I've only done the Boardwalk show once, last year, and it was brutal weather wise.  No wind to speak of but the heat and humidity darn near drove me to the emergency room.  The artists on either side of me had been doing this show for 8 and ten years respectively and they travel from Michigan and Florida.  I was prepared with weights but I was fortunate to be able to tie into a 55 gallon drum, filled with water, on either side of the front of my tent, and you can easily tie onto the boardwalk railings in the back of your tent.  The water drums were paid for by the artists on either side of me and they each had no problem with me tying into them.  I offered to split the cost but neither accepted.  According to those two artists the crowds were minimal and both credited that with the weather.  I considered the weather to be an anomaly for that time of the year therefore I am trying to go back this year.  Also, if you apply this show make sure you sign up for the DRIVE ON program.  Doesn't cost anything and you get a police escort onto the boardwalk.

    • Hi Tony, thanks for sharing your advice and experience. Best wishes for a better - more comfortable and lucrative - show this year.

  • I disagree about the beach front hotel.  I request a specific block where the hotel has first floor rooms with patio doors.  This means I can keep my water in my own hotel refrigerator and go to the bathroom in my own bathroom.  Also I park my van in the hotel parking lot and it does not move the entire show.  I agree on the wind.  I put 75 lbs on all four legs, ratchet strap to the back railing and add an additional 45 lbs on each of the front legs.  The heat is another problem.   Bring your sunblock and plenty of water and be careful not to get overheated on setup (another vote for the beach front hotel since you can stop and rest in the room)

    • Alison is exactly right! Every word of it. :-) 

      As for weights, the show will let you rent barrels (for front legs; as Larry mentioned you can tie back legs to railings). Last year, this was $80.00, and after the wind whipped through on Saturday night and sent a number of poorly-weighted tents sprawling, I was glad I'd spent the money. 

      • Thanks Geoff, good to know. I found information (might have been on this site) on a type of weight that seemed well-designed for this and for use at other shows so I ordered them. Sharing the URL in case anyone else is researching weights: http://www.canopyweights.com/products/ingot

        Thanks again for your help,


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