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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!

Views: 565

Comment by Nolly Gelsinger on March 1, 2014 at 8:13am

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.

Comment by C. L. Cunningham on March 1, 2014 at 7:00pm

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!

Comment by Mark V. Turner on March 1, 2014 at 11:10pm

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..

Comment by Michael Heilman on March 4, 2014 at 10:22am

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

Comment by C. L. Cunningham on March 4, 2014 at 2:09pm

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.

Comment by Nolly Gelsinger on March 4, 2014 at 5:49pm

Mike,

I'd like to thank you, too, for the information about shows in Maryland.  

Nolly

Comment by Mark V. Turner on March 4, 2014 at 8:21pm
The only things Mike failed to mention were that Artscapes booth fee is 700$ and the event has been dropping in the rankings while junk like bottle cap earrings gets juried in. If you are making wearable items with a modest price point (cheap), you'd likely do well. As a 2d artist I got rejected for many years and wait listed into the show once. .

Also, GRACE is realllly hard to jury into if you are a mere mortal. same might be said for A-RTS Rockville; a show I am waitlisted on for the first time after many years of rejection.

Then there's Bethesda Row in the fall and the Bethesda Fine Arts Fair in the spring. Both rated fairly highly and selective.

I am interested in the fall Annapolis showin Quiet Waters Park myself.

Some folks thing the AnneMarie sculpture garden show in southern Maryland is also good.

I will be doing Arts Alive in Ocean City in June, but that deadline is either past or almost past. Medium sized show cheap to do with great prize money and staff takes care of the artists well.

If you have the money and price points, the two biggest highly rated nationwide craft shows are in Ocean City: Springfest and Sunfest. But it's a 650$ booth fee and you are in a crafter group surrounded by buy/sell and vendors and kettle korn. Some folks swear by it and others at it.

An artist I met said he used to take art to these events and didn't make a lot of $ after exorbitant hotel fees and booth fees. Then he decided to buy several thousand units of something for 1$ that he could minimally personalize and sell for 3$ and he sells out .........

It's all a crapshoot except for the very top ranked shows... And even then the crowd has to get to know you-which means getting in a couple years in a row.

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