Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

A recent question about Belle Isle - where the poster said they would have to incur travel costs - made me remember a question I've been meaning to post: What do most folks do for sleeping arrangements when they travel to art fairs that are too far to commute to from home?

Airbnb? Sleep in your car/van/truck/camper? Hotel/motel? State park in a tent? Share a room?

What makes the most sense?

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There will be "yes" from someone to all those options you listed. Hotel for me. I need quality sleep. If I HAD to sleep in my van due to no other options I wouldn't do the show. I've come close to cancelling shows when I could not find a hotel.

Colorado summer resort areas:

1. House or cabin: VRBO, AIRBNB, local listings by realtors

2. Condo, locally listed by management companies.

3. Hotel/Motel if it has frig and microwave at a minimum, mini kitchen better

4. Camping - never, Any space on truck is for inventory, not camping gear.

My choice is based on avoiding having to eat out unless it is to celebrate a good show.

Eating out will eat up profits for sure. But after a long day ... a beer and some bar food hits the spot.

I try to do Airbnb whenever I can. Have had great success (with one exception). Usually cheaper than a hotel, cleaner than most motels. And you meet great people.

My wife and I always stay in hotels. Definitely not in a van.

We have done Airbnb with great success. One thought about belle island is it’s an island off shore of a rough ghetto part of Detroit. I suggest you look east and north of Detroit. We usually go toward Novi, canton area... it’s nice upper middle class areas, better accommodations.

On a side note the organizer of belle island is notorious for asking folks to apply and then rejecting them. I won’t apply for his shows, and he has quite the reputation with a lot of the Michigan artists.

Just to be a little more clear. Belle Isle is now considered a State Park, and just three miles going west up Jefferson Ave. is Downtown (making a left out of Belle Isle), with tons of nice places to stay. If you make a right, there's really no hotels until you go through Groose Pointe and enter Macomb County.

Canton and the first cities entering Macomb County, are the ghetto's.  

There are also good downtown accommodations near Belle Isle in Detroit. Usually we used or one of those sites to find something near. Then you'll have  a little time also to see something of the rejuvenation in the downtown. Lots of sights to see. Good food too.

Barbara, I've never heard that about Mark Loeb, the organizer of the Belle Isle Art Fair. I've known him for years. He is way more interested in creating venues for artists than "cashing in" than many organizers do.  That is the nature of the jury system ... you apply. You get in/you don't. I lived in Michigan for 40 years and worked with Mark on several projects.

Hotel. Since I am working during the day I want quality sleep. I don't do life well without it.

No camping, vanning for me. There is a lot of overhead in this business and lodging is one of them. Priceline and Air BnB and, etc., have been helpful in lowering the prices for lodgings which has helped, but adds another job to do. Someone has to find that lodging.

It is also a "cost of doing business", and so tax deductible. It is part of the life style, one of the expensive charms of traveling to do shows.

We have a camping trailer that we bring to all of the shows. Let me be clear we are NOT camping. The camping trailer I stay in has all the amenities of home. Full kitchen, full bath, entertainment center and a queen sized bed. The majority of the shows we do have free parking for our RV. Others have inexpensive RV parking (usually $30 or less) and those places usually have some hookups.

When we do have to stay in a campground we normally pay $50 or less a night with full hookups.

We find this to be the best way to go for price, comfort and convenience.

Most of the time the only cost for lodging is the 10 gallons of gas to run our generator for the weekend (15 gal if we run the air conditioning) . Also we cook our own meals just like when we are at home so we save all that money as well. Also I have a nice pantry of snacks  :)

As to comfort unlike most hotels I have a nice memory foam mattress on my bed. I have the pillows of my choice and I know who slept in the ed last. I have an entertainment center that lets me watch tv just as if I was at home (netflix, amazon and broadcast tv).

I have nice comfortable furniture to relax in after a long day at the show. A nice recliner not some generic hotel furniture. 

And best of all we have out three cats with us.

As to convenience well we are usually close to the show location. In fact as I type this I am sitting in my camper a 3 minute walk from by booth at Spring Craft Lyndurst. his means when the show closes I have a short walk back to where I am staying and I don't have to fight the traffic to get back to some hotel room. In the morning I can have a leisurely breakfast and then walk over to my booth before the show starts. 

Also when traveling to an from shows we always have the option to stay and extra night or stop on the way home due to weather or hour with no additional cost.

we pull our camper with our Ford cargo van but the sell ones you could easily pull with an small suv or even a mini van.

I did the calculations when we got our first camping trailer years ago. We paid $5k for the trailer and we saved that much in expenses in 9 months. the trailer we are in right now cost us $10k and we paid for it in under 2 years


I'm a backpack camper. Can rough it or stay n 5 star hotels. I'd like to save the money and enjoy the camping. However, the extra work and time to cook, clean up from cooking and body clean up (customer don't like offensive odors), is burdensome, when working a show. So hotel or AirBnB. No trailer for camping here and sleeping in the truck without good cleanup system is not good.


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