Roll call time -- any shows coming up for you? On my radar:

Madison, IN's, Chautauqua; Peoria Art Festival; ArtSarben in Omaha, Amdur Productions new event in Evanston, IL, Art & Big Fork; Edgewater Fall Art Fair in Chicago; Rhinebeck Arts Festival in NY ...

Here's the story on the Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival:

The amazing Art Prize (over $200,000 in prize money) opens in Grand Rapids, MI, and many artists enter their biggest piece of art hoping to win the big bucks. Member John Leben did a Kickstarter campaign to get his work exhibited.

Dates: September 24-October 12. Folks if any of you live anywhere near Grand Rapids this is an amazing once a year event that is worth your attending. Fun, exciting, museums, great art, great food, big crowds and you get to vote for the winner. More here:

What about you?

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  • Hi There Artists!

    I just got done with the Edgewater Fall Art Fair...a fantastic weekend show in Chicago! This show is organized by the Edgewater Artists in Motion ( and they are a wonderful group of organizers with strong backgrounds in art, promotion, organizing and just plain common sense.

    Not only are the organizers well educated on art fair promotion, but they are genuinely nice people who really care about the artists and not just their pockets. The extra effort of posting interviews with exhibitors on their promo pages prior to the event, gave us material to push through to our email lists and Facebook pages ahead of time. For me, this was an excellent addition to my marketing and several of my previous patrons told me they came to see me because of this campaign.

    The fair is located on Chicago's north side, in the Edgewater neighborhood, close to Lake Michigan. This year was the organization's 4th season, but it has been in its current location for the past 2 seasons. I have participated with EAIM for the past two years and both were amazing.

    The popularity of this event continues to grow and in my estimate, there are probably 5,000 to 10,000 visitors. This year, the weekend was blessed by gorgeous weather and a robust attendance of buyers. Everywhere I looked, people were showing off their purchases to friends and neighbors and several of my very good artists friends had wonderful sales for the weekend, including me.

    I grossed a little under $2,500 for the weekend, which puts this show in my top ten for the second year in a row. Two of my friends did over $1500 and most of the others I had conversations with, said they did very well and commented that the booth fee was well worth the investment.

    A special shout out to Dorothy, Rae Ann, Valeria, Mary and the rest of the committee and volunteers for a superb show!

    • Great news, Gayle. This is another show that paid me extra to advertise their show to patrons!! I have a wonderful Chicago patron mailing list, my emails to Chicago area are opened more than any other, and it is good that they took advantage of it. Their promo person, Valeria Basso, did a superb job. That Facebook page was excellent advertising.

      • Thanks, Connie. Dunno if you're onto the Ravenswood Art Walk, but I'll be there this coming weekend. Two in a row....ouch, my poor back!! LOL

  • Hello again Connie~Our impression of the Evanston show today~The Artists that were high quality REALLY stood out, but the overall quality was a disappointment.  Also, there were several Artists with the SAME media next to each other~we saw ALOT of that.  It appeared from the signage on their booths that the Artists were laid out in alphabetical order by last name which seems strange to us as we have never seen that before. The Artists were all very nice, however we saw ALOT of strung jewelry, the standard fused glass with exception to a couple again high quality ones. We actually heard 2 comments on how "junky" these 2 beaded jewelry booths were. It was our thought as well, but we didn't comment back!  Parking looked GREAT for the artists, but was horrible for the patrons. Overall, it wasn't at all what we had expected. It was not even close to the high quality of the other shows we had attended, & I guess I unfortunately "spoke too soon" about the buy/sell!!!

    • Hi Kathleen;

      Thanks for the review on Evanston...I know that Amy Amdur was having trouble filling the slots for her newest endeavor because I'm on her mailing list and kept receiving offers for discounted booth space. This may be one of the reasons the quality was inconsistent. Amy has a pretty loyal following of solidly high quality artists, but lately, I've heard a lot about the lackluster sales at her shows. It's very possible that the drop out rate is exacerbated by the extraordinarily high booth fees (usually between $400-700.) You have to gross an awful lot to make your nut with that kind of expense.

      So, with so many other Chicago-land show options, many of us have chosen more local organizations and arts groups without the profit motive of promoters like Amdur and Star Events. Needless to say, we need to really pay attention to our bottom line if we want to stay in for art's sake is a nice platitude, but it doesn't pay the bills. I really think it's a shame when an artist brags about "making their booth fee," if that's the bar you've set, it's really low. I'm not in it for the money, but if I don't profit, I can't continue to create beautiful work. I guess the old saying about artists not making good business people (and good business people not being very artistic) is stereotypical, but probably (and unfortunately) mostly true.

      I have reviewed most of the shows I attend in Chicago and the close suburbs...after 14 years I have a pretty consistent calendar each season, but I add one or two new shows each season to see if there's a new one that sticks. It's a tiny gamble, but when a show is a bomb, needless to say, I don't return. When I find a gem, it becomes a mainstay.

      I wish the "for profit" promoters would scale back and quit adding more and more booths to their shows for the sole purpose of lining their pockets. I understand their expenses keep growing, but they really shouldn't be balancing their books on the backs of the artists. It only serves to disappoint good artists with a smaller slice of pie, brings a plethora of weary attendees schlepping through the 'same ol' same ol', and it's frustrating all around. I would rather pay less for a smaller community art fair with a more diverse base, than contribute to the big promoters' income.

      • Hi Gayle!

        Thanks for the great response, & I surely agree with alot of your ideas.  After doing shows for years, it is really difficult not to notice the quality of work around you, whether buy/sell is present, if there are too many exhibitors, and seeing the SAME media booth after booth (which I find very unprofessional). Hopefully we will see you "down the road!"  

    • This alpha order has been done before in the Chicago area. We used to do a wonderful show at Old Orchard in Skokie that was run by the North Shore Art League, all artists in alpha order. Made some good friends as we'd see each other there side by side over the years. They also did this at the Oakbrook Art Invitational. It seemed to work, the sales were always just fine.

  • Hand sewing cartridge and shotgun shell loops on gun belt orders from summer shows. If I can get these out this weekend it will be billfolds and belts the next couple weeks. Also cut down and cut up three 30 something year old dead aspen trees. Looks like I will be burning lots of aspen wood this winter. One was easy, the other two were twisted around each other and had about 12" diameter trunks - buggers.
    • I imagine you have some very good saws, since I know you have envied some folks saw mills. 

      Sounds like you have a good system going for yourself. Are you selling any of these "smalls" online?

      • Saws are working great. On is a big old Craftsman from the 1960's; a real heavy beast. A year or so ago, I was cutting up a beetle kill pine and a fellow came over who was retired from the Forest Service. He had heard my saw and got curious, as it "didn't sound like the new ones". I replaced a worn out bar and chain on the little Echo and it is working great. Wanted to get the trees done as a friend needs to borrow the saws. Custom work, repairs and restorations continue to come in from show follow ups and people finding me on the internet. A fellow from Crested Butte ordered belts and wondered where have I been. Didn't like the belts at the show. Also, have a custom binocular case lined with forest green leather, and side carry handle in addition to shoulder strap. I finished up two prototypes as a result of other custom orders. I'm anxious to finish up all thew show orders so I can get started on inventory for next year.

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