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Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Has anyone out there actually done the Annapolis show once or more who can provide the skinny on it? Thanks bunches!
I have done each Annapolis show since inception... that is if you are talking the Annapolis Arts Crafts and Wine event next to the Navy Marine Corps Stadium.
Despite some egregious rain last year in the days leading up to the event, staff made the resulting muddy event location passable and I had did over $1000 for the event. Last year they added cool jazz to the mix and people felt free to wander the show with wine glasses and a bottle... I think that might have freed up a wallet or two.. The prior three years were not as good and we suffered semi-biblical challenges from storm and heat.
The staff have been accommodating despite some confusion in the first couple years.
Others have not done as well and have noted a large number of new faces each year. They believe that a high turn-over in exhibitors does not bode well for success at the event. While this may be true, this event is only five years old and I believe it is starting to get it's legs. IMO There has been buy/sell in the event and perhaps some junk gets in so that booths are full. But it was well attended last year and they charge a stiff gate fee gate is 8$ for no wine and $30.00 to do the wine portion.. So folks who come are there for the wine and the art work... not sure for which more than the other.
It can be brutally hot, so be prepared. Management does other events, but this may be their only art event.
Not sure from year to year how tough the jury is or how balanced the show is... Always plenty of women's wearables..
Thanks so much, Mark! I think I will keep in sight for a year longer but definitely attracted to its demographic...
Howard, be glad you didn't go to set up on Friday last year. There was 4 inches of standing water on the site and those who had already set up earlier in the day had churned parts of the site into a morass.
I must concur with Howard on driving in Annapolis on a weekend night... Parking is difficult, but we found a great sushi restaurant close to our hotel which is one meal out and then there is a great take-out steamed crab place just across the bay bridge in where you better order ahead - because they are that busy...
Ive always wondered if the hotel staff get peeved for us grunging up their towels with crab goop....
Hello. I did this show for the first and last time in 2013. No one can control the weather, so I will not comment on that. It was the miserable quality of the exhibitors that made me feel out of place. Understand that this event is mainly a wine tasting event for most of the people who come. There was jewelry made from wholesale parts, the woman across from me was selling Dollar Store glasses with daisies painted on them, arriving customers were met by folks selling tie died t shirts. A fellow exhibitor at the recent ACC show reminded me that she had characterized the quality of the show as "shocking." If this show is "juried" I will eat my hat. Forget the touted demographics of Annapolis. No one with money or taste will go there. Too bad promoters put selling booths ahead of quality. I did make money ( I make rugs), but no one else I talked to around me did. Definitely do not travel a long distance to this show.
There's plenty of exhibitors I don't care for either, But I am a fine art painter with some pop painting in my booth, too. The jewelry from wholesale part is at a lot of shows. This is why I have always advocated that art show jewelry should be precious metals like gold and silver and precious and semi-precious natural stones. Some jewelry which used old watch parts and other mechanical detritus is marketed as Steampunk. The decorated sunglasses are considered by some as Upcycling. I see plenty of it.
The tie-dye apparel gets into a lot of shows... I saw a 20 foot booth full of it at the Haddonfield Crafts and Art show in New Jersey...
But you forgot the exhibitor who created complex animals from pieces of driftwood - that was outstanding. There were some very good painters at the event who do work that is thoroughly and technically complexly old-school.. The still lives of Aimo Hill come directly to mind.
Now the guy with the twisted Plexiglas bird shapes on a metal pivot kinda got to me... I was thinking pink flamingo yard art, but there's plenty of that to go around.
As far as money and taste go, I believe you failed to see the Jaguars and Porsche's in the parking lot.. They charge a fairly steep gate, so that pre-qualifies a lot of folks right there and keeps a lot of the looky-loos from coming. Still there is a fair bit of stroller traffic.
I agree that some better jurying could go a long way towards improving the event. It's quite possible that it is still juried by an in-house team. Many shows are.
I have done every show for this event since the first. Last year was the best year for sales I had to date at this event.
Jewelers always do well compared to most traditional fine artists.
But if you were working alone and had time to walk the show, I'm sorry for your experience. I am never super busy with customers as I deal solely in original paintings and my wife helps out with minding the booth.
But please don't be upset when I say that I have seen people who take six photos; doctor them in photoshop; print them on canvas; and blow them up to couch sized paintings and smaller; frame them in junky plaster frames; sell them for hundreds of dollars each and then complain because they didn't make more than 3 K $ after expenses... I'd love to have a $3K weekend.
If this is the world you walk in in the art circuit I admire your ability to make a product people absolutely must have in their upper demographic homes. And, no that show might not be for you yet... but it's only on year 5 and each year has been better than the last... if you don't count the biblical storms and heat...
I really appreciate having recent feedback for this show. Annapolis is reasonably close to me, and the demographic is definitely geared toward success for a decent show of this kind. I agree that the gate would deter browsers. Maryland is wine country and wine festivals here do pretty well, but you do compete with folks who want case lots of vino rather than art. I'm going to re-evaluate an application to this show. I'm having trouble getting juried into the better shows, but I'm still resisting "jury by check" as much as I can. I make jewelry, which is problematic, but I make my glass components, so I'm somewhere between fine jewelry and wholesale assemblers. Finding the right venue is the challenge.
As a rule of thumb, I generally think most jewelers almost always do better than painters,, People are sea glass crazy up here, but they are even more crazy for it if it is in silver... The precious metal aspects and a good display drive that sales avenue. I sort of agree that the current state of affairs is jury by check in large part for this event... But really I think that it is that way once you fall out of the top 100-150 shows in the various rankings..... But I was pleased to get into a Howard Alan event b/c I think they do demand quality and do attract buyers with money to spend. But, if you are doing your own lampwork, that's great. Just don't do schlock elephants and critters... Colorful lampwork beads on or in silver have some wekk in some shows I have been to...
And as far as adding shows to your schedule... You have to take chances to decide whether an individual show works for you and I think you need at least 2 or 3 years of it in your rotation before you can say yes or no to keeping it.
Yes, I have certainly dropped some shows after one year - they were that bad... but others that were marginal but close to home have improved as customers know who you are and eventually buy.
Then again, many shows are far more crafty than they are artsy and you have to figure if your work will not only sell but is a good fit..
I agree that it takes a while to build a following at a show. I usually try at least two years, tho, like you, there have been some so dismal that surrender is the only option. On the other hand, most shows get better, even in this spotty economy.
Thanks for the remark about Howard Alan; I'm on his mailing list but haven't picked a show. I'll look again to see which one might work for me.
So does anyone think a price range on original 2D of $100.00 to $13,000.00 would cause laughter amongst the winos at Annapolis? I could tone it down to $100.00 to $4,000. if planning ahead. Thanks for so much detailed information -- I really appreciate it! CL
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