Art Fair Insiders
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!
It's so true about appearance. Where I live, the seediest character with mud (or worse) on his boots, is the guy driving the biggest pickup and he pays all his bills in cash. If his wife drags him to an art fair, he's ready, willing and able to buy whatever strikes their fancy. BTW, these same farmers have sustained the arts council, built the hospital, and support the local banks.
All very true about appearances. I used to do the OKC Festival of the Arts and the dustiest, roughest cowboy types chewing tobacco and, yes, spitting (wearing real cowboy hats, beat up boots and flanked by nervous side kicks who looked ever worse) were the buyers, i.e. land owners. Hey, its Oklahoma, what do you expect? You just have to be willing and able to talk to ANYBODY that comes in your tent and teach them why they cannot leave with investing in your work. Judging by shoes (lack of shoes - Florida, purses, jewelry, or high brow chit chat is beginner stupid. I'm still interested in Annapolis because I always research a location and consider my odds with that roll of the dice, or crap shoot and it still seems worth a shot. Its good to hear fancy cars are in abundance in the parking lot for the show too. That's a great indication that the proper demographic is actually walking the event and not just driving by. You never know what pocket may be holding the beloved black AmEx card!
Thing is...it's only year five... people are getting used to going and spending the day drinking wine and listening to jazz.. But it's only year two for the music. And as has been mentioned, there has been a lot of unevenness in the quality of exhibitors. Even though I have done this one since year 1, I still don't expect solid revenue from the event. You don't know who'll be there and what the mood is or what the weather will do. The promoter puts together the pieces and makes sure the lights are on, but it's about who show and whether they are in a buying mood...and what you bring appeals to them..
Hello C.L. if you are still following the posts about Annapolis. I have some other suggestions for shows you might want to try if you are in Maryland. I know the recently much maligned Artscape in Baltimore is probably a stretch for someone starting out, but it is in fact juried by legitimate arts people.It is undoubtedly a gritty urban experience. Also, Art@the Park, in the fall in Annapolis is another possibility. A small show, but one to test the waters, so to speak. THe Greater Reston Art Center (GRACE) Shoiw in Reston, Va., is yet another legitimately juried show of about 200 exhibitors. That's for next year, as the application period is over. Also, A-RTS, in Rockville is juried and also awards prizes for various categories. In Baltimore again, Outside ArtMD, in Druid Hill Park is small but manageable for a novice, and in a nice setting with good people. It is only open to Maryland artists-good for them. And finally, the Columbia Festival for the Arts in Columbia, Md, of course, is another to consider. If you want to get into shows, get a great booth shot, from a professional photographer if necessary, also get great shots of your art. Both my own jurying and application experiences have let me see that everyone needs to pay huge attention to this part of the application. My initial booth shots, which I have saved in my gallery of shame, make me cringe today. Fortunately, some kind show administrators set me straight, when they were kind enough to let me know why I did not get in. Such kindness is rare. Finally, I am these days tending more and more toward shows that do not advertise on Zapp or Juried Art Services. Especially where I live, the shows have been taken over by the mega promoters, and they favor folks who do lots of their shows. So, my last observation, do not be discouraged when you are rejected. The selection process for these shows is a crap shoot, some, I think are bogus, ( jury scores? WHAT jury?) and look for shows that actually disclose at the end of the application process who the jurors were. I hope this is of help to you. Mike
Thanks Michael -- I think I have the jury and application process down by now, but still interesting observations for others reading this, both newbies and established. Yes I am still interested in hearing any info on Annapolis. I really appreciate you taking the time to share other opportunities for showing in the Maryland area -- this is what our blogs should be about, sharing useful information. I am a fan of ZAPP and JAS, as they host most of the shows I like to do already, but agree entirely that testing the waters with smaller or local shows is a good idea. I consider one or two of these little guys every year, just to cut down on travel and/or to shake up my regular touring schedule. Hope to meet you soon, possibly in Maryland -- Thanks again! C.L.
I'd like to thank you, too, for the information about shows in Maryland.
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