We all know the story about being set up across from the band or the sponsors who hawk near your booth and now the political season will be bringing politicians to the shows. But where to draw the line?

Here's a promotion taking part at Sausalito this year:

Painters, photographers and videographers are invited to submit images of the Golden Gate Bridge and have it exhibited at the Sausalito Art Festival, set for Sept. 1-3.

The competition is part of a 60th anniversary celebration of the festival and the 75th anniversary celebration of the bridge.

Entries are being accepted for the American Icon Competition online at www.americanicon.net. The exhibition will be installed on high-definition screens with rotating content. Winners will be announced in early August.

Does you think this kind of activity hinders the event?

What have you seen at the shows that makes them better for artists as well as patrons?

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  • I know at my local once a month Art walk, when it was in it's inception year, we found that jazz, some  old school blues, and acoustic music worked when played at a comfortable decibel level, but the louder rock music, and the more modern Rap didn't create a good environment for consumers or Artists. This venue books live acts to play in the lobby area, Artists and craftspeople are set up in studios and hallways adjacent to it. This is an indoor venue. At outdoor venues, it really depends on the venue- street fair, Art Show, Craft Fair, Community event. Most Art Fairs here book acoustic acts. I even do a few "Heritage" shows, Scottish, Irish, Acadian, Indian pow-wows, they usually play native music. Those can be quite fun. I have always found that music, if done properly, can enhance the experience- for both Artists and attendees. Music itself, is an Artform, so IMHO belongs at an Artfair, when done respectfully to all. However- "hawkers" and circus acts (see people on stilts, clowns, etc) are only appropriate at a county fair, or children's events or a Circus. They add NOTHING to an Art show or Craft show, or Market type venue, are annoying, and can and do actually hinder the sales!

    • You mention the political season. I just had my first experience with this type of "vendor" this past weekend. On the first day of the show, the politician had three or four others in his booth with him. They were all out in the aisle chasing people down and walking and talking with them as they progressed past other booths. I watched for about the first two hours as group after group walked right past my booth without ever turning toward me because one of the politician's people was on their other side, talking away a mile a minute, and they were facing him as they walked, instead of looking around.

      At one point, there was a fellow walking across the open field, making an absolute beeline for my tent. Before he could reach it, one of the political people ran over and started yammering at him. He shrugged his shoulders in annoyance and turned around and walked away.

      And that was it for me. I went over and had a quiet word with the politician, who was a very nice fellow, actually, and gave him a quick education in fair etiquette. I told him that anybody directly in front of his booth was fair game, but before they got to his booth, or after they had passed, they weren't his anymore. I explained how he was either chasing people away who didn't want to be bothered and therefore sped past adjoining booths without looking, or he was distracting people from being able to even glance into surrounding booths.

      He actually listened, adjusted his strategy, and wasn't a problem again for the rest of the show. I actually saw him at one point chase down and rein in one of his own people who was once again getting a little overly aggressive.

      I was lucky that this fellow was a reasonable person and cared about hurting the business of the vendors around him. Some couldn't care less, I suppose because most of the vendors aren't potential constituents. None of us were potential constituents of this fellow, but he was mindful nonetheless. Almost made me wish I could vote for him! ;-)

      • It is also difficult when you don't recognize folks.  I was at a show and a man came up to me and asked me if I paid taxes.  For some reason I thought he was refering  to sales taxes .  I was spooked out .  I thought he was with the state.  I was sharp in assuring him I paid my taxes and they were quite fair. 

        He didn't seem to know haw to respond to that. And wandered off .  I was only later I realized he was Rosy Greer and was out stumping for a senatorial candiate.  Oh well I was focused on sales.

      • Well he actually sounds like someone who should hold office- a person who listens to his (potential) constituents!

      • I had a similar experience once. A clown/mime would come and play tricks on people who were looking at the things in my booth, and they would immediately rush away. I took him aside and gently explained that he was chasing my customers away. That had not occured to him, and he apologized and left them alone after that.

        BTW, I find that dance school performances bring the parents in, and they sometimes buy art. I agree that the various arts enhance each other, but keep the decibel level down, please!

  • I don't mind an entertainment 'segment' - I can put up with the noise/distraction for a while, its when its all day its not worth being there in any other capacity other than an attendee.

  • We all know that some folks have difficulty envisioning an art piece in the home (especially if it doesn't match the couch). I have been at a couple of art shows that utilized local interior designers to run workshops during the show. At one show, each design session incorporated art work from the show. Sessions were preplanned and artists were notified in advanced and asked if certain pieces could be used during the session. Some examples of topics included:

    - How to display and showcase artwork through lighting techniques
    - Using unusual pieces in the home. 
    - Mixing traditional and contemporary artwork in your home.

    I think any program that puts the focus back on the art being displayed at the show is a good auxiliary program. This is also a good opportunity for local designers and probably doesn't cost the show anything but for staging, seating, sound and lighting.
    • I've seen this at a few (very few) shows also, Leo. They were usually indoors. This is such a great concept and totally agree that it is a great way to showcase the art.

      • I am an Industry Partner with ASID and I've always wondered why there's not more partnering with art shows...

        • Once when we were doing a show in metro Detroit, an indoor show, I was hoping to attract some interior designers to the show and did a mailing to a bunch of them -- I targeted people who were decorating spec homes or were working with realtors. Nary a reply.

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