Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
I am concerned about oversaturation of art shows. As an example, for June 2016 in Chicago and its direct suburbs there are 13 art shows in 4 weekends during the month. Just how many art shows can the customers attend and how much will they spend?
The weekend of June 11-12 has 5 art shows that weekend.
These shows total over 1500 available artists spaces. How many of those 1500 are duplicates. That is, the same artist doing 2 or 3 shows. Then mother nature coming in during one or two of these weekends. Do you think the promoters really care that there are 4 other shows running on the same week end as theirs? Or are they just looking to sell a space to an artist and move on?
Is there a solution to this? Will all artists at each of these shows make any money?
That is the reason I stopped doing Chicago shows. There are too many shows to make each one special, and then as you're aware, there is also an oversaturation of photographers in the Chicago area. I've lost money at virtually every Chicago show I've done for the last three or four years.
I don't agree with the assessment that the market is oversaturated for what we do, not even in Florida and I don't believe it about Cleveland and Chicago. I look at it as if it's a numbers game. How many people do I need to get my art in front of before I close a deal with someone? By the end of my tour, how am I doing? By the end of the year, how am I doing?
Then I work to answer these questions: What prospects did I meet at the shows? How can I get my art back in front of the prospects to turn them into customers, or better yet, collectors? And even better, once I get a customer, what can I do to entice them to become a collector?
How many of the folks coming to shows in Chicago are tourists? How many are bona-fide collectors looking to make a connection with another artist?
If you do one or two venues in Chicago, Cleveland, or wherever, once you begin to establish a customer base, you'll be able to pull those folks in to see you when you are at the one or two events you choose to do. Those customers might decide to make the one or two events THE ONLY ONE OR TWO THEY GO TO since they have other things to do during the umpteen other shows. Loyalty often wins in this situation. What I've experienced is that collectors have a loyalty to themselves to suss the best work that satisfies their desire to collect in the first place.
So make the best art you can, keep expenses low, and get it in front of folks wherever you decide to do it.
I believe you are right. I saw this in the area I exhibit in a few years ago, there were 17 shows within a 200 mile radius in one weekend, across three states MI/OH/IN. And it was strange.
There were two strong ones, and then a bunch of what I call mini's that were run by "friends". Most of the smaller ones are gone now. And it was difficult because I knew almost all of the ones running them, and they all expected me to be at their show.
I tried explaining to them that they were all drawing from the same pool of exhibitors and the same customers, and to change weekends/months but they were all adamant the other shows would have to.
I ended up going 500 miles away instead. There were too many, too much similar products, and all of them drawing from the same potential customer/dollars.
One of those...talk to the hand moments.
You are so right. I just did a local one because well, it was down the hill from my home. Seriously. The runners could have driven a gator here to pick me up rather than park my car further away then I live. I digress.
I witnessed the organizer "vetting" potential exhibitors on the phone the day before while I was setting up. And I thought...are you kidding me? Something is seriously wrong here. But then my only expense was rolling my car down the hill and the show fee. And I learned a lot. It was a different venue then my normal.