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Arts and Apples art show—Rochester, Michigan—more about apples then art

The Show was last weekend.  Three boring days with no sun, cold temps and fleeting rain showers.

Last weekend was a weather disaster everywhere in the Midwest. Heavy rains at Penrod, Bowling Green, Louisville, even St. Louis.

Rochester is a very affluent northwest suburb of Detroit.  Mucho dinero live here.  Everybody dresses in expensive outfits adorned with expensive purses and belts.

In earlier times AA was one of the top Michigan shows. Lots of artists did five figures very easily.

My, how the times have changed.  For most 2-D artists selling even close to $3K is tough chore.

Crafters have better chance.  Especially, ones with low price points.

This monied crowd tends to buy kitschy stuff on the Lowend side.

They are very conservative here in their tastes.

I have done this show at least a dozen times.  And every time I do it the take home sales get smaller and smaller.

This weekend’s take was so small that I would have to use a magnifying glass to see it.

Over three days, I only sold three 16x20 framed pieces.  Nothing larger.

The bulk of sales came out of my browse bins. As fellow photographer Bill Sargent would say, “I sold little precious pieces of paper.”

Here are some hard facts about the show if you consider to do it. And, for many of you, it could be a good money-maker.

You get to setup the day before, Thursday.  Or come in on Friday to setup.

The Show starts at 4pm on Friday and goes til 7:30.

On Saturday, hours are 10am-7:30pm.

Sunday, hours are 10am-4pm.

Booth fee for a single booth is close to $500.

This is a show run by the Paint Creek Center for the Arts.  You can find it on Zapp.

There are at least 300 exhibitors, and jurying is very competitive.

The thing is, when I know good artists that get juried out, and then see what gets in, it makes my head spin.

They do a great job of mapping out the show.  Every space gets ample rear storage.  Many artists move their booth over to the line on one side so that gives them some wiggle, and display room, on the other side.

The Show is held in a great inner city park in the heart of Rochester. A running creek, Paint Creek, runs thru it.

There are two main sections of the show.  One on a lower level, the other on the upper.  

I prefer the upper section.  Just me.

Parking can be a bitch.  It pays to get there early.

For example, on Sunday, I got there at 6:30am. Got the van situated in Position A.  I had three and a half hours to kill.  So I did my usual Sunday strategy. Which is:get the New York Times at a Starbucks (I can easily spend three hours reading it.  Then I walk three blocks to Paul’s Greek restaurant for breakfest.

By 10am I am well read and well fed.

Ready to make mucho dinero, and none named Robert.

Sorry, but I spent another hour adding on to this post after I had saved to this point.  It is all in the ether.

 OK, it is Tuesday morning. I am going to paraphrase all that got lost in the ether last night.

God, I hate doing this twice, but I will do it for you readers.  I have good info to dish out.

  As I was saying....

So Sunday I opened up to chilly weather, in the low 50’s. Very windy which made it colder.

I tarped in all three sides of my rear storage which made a nice little warm cocoon free from the winds.

Almost nobody was there til about noon.  People trickled in walked around and occasionally walked in a booth.

I was mostly ignored.

I had my black and white handcolors up of famous iconic figure like Bill Murray and Christopher Walken.

I would get giggles, laughs and colorful comments then they would move on. It went that way til close of show.  I barely sold $400 for the day.

The woodworker behind me sold one small piece the whole day. A respected glass artist across from me mostly sold little glass balls, he was not happy.

Overall, most people were disappointed with their sales. Many were 50% off from before.

There were successful artists out there.  Many had kitschy Lowend items.  Certain jewelers killed them.

like I said before, this is a conservative crowd.  They are well-monied but I do not see them buying much good art.

I tore down completely on the ground and got a red pass to come in.  I was out of there by 5:15, they did not let us in til 4:30.

It started raining lightly just after I escaped.

I am done with this show.

But, it could be a winner for some of you.  I try to give an impartial comments about the shows I do.  I realize my audience is not the same for a lot of you.  I sell to a niche market, and I realize it can have its shortcomings.

OK, good places to eat.

Pauls Restaurant right on the main drag, walking distance from show.

They are Greek.  You know Greeks do great breakfest from omelette stop crepes.

For a great dinner go west on Walton to Luckys Prime Rib.  In my humble opinion they are the best restaurant in Michigan for moderate price points under $20.

Try the filet for $19. Comes with a delicious loaf of bread, a salad plus one side.

They offer five kinds of fish, all under twenty dollars. They poor a mean martini for Seven.

Aloha, time to play golf.

Views: 586

Comment by Paul Flack on September 12, 2018 at 9:25am

Can we copy and paste this review for Beats and Eats?

Comment by Patrick Whalen on September 12, 2018 at 9:57am

So this year I participated in Fort Worth, Oklahoma City, Bellevue, Wa, Artisphere and many other shows. I was placed on wait list for Arts and Apples. I thought I would call and see what my chances were to get into show. Well, there were still 12 people above me on wait list! Enough said.

Comment by Fletcher Dean on September 12, 2018 at 12:08pm

This was my first time at A&A. I was thrilled to get in. But of the three artists physically closest to me, I don't think a one would come back. Sales - or the lack thereof - is a killer. I might have broken even at the end of the three-day week. I still have two potential sales so that might change my mind, but I admit to being disappointed. I talked with other 2-D artists and photogs and we had similar experiences. People oohed and aahed over the wall art, then immediately asked if I it was available in something smaller. ALL of my sales were bin prints. No wall art whatsoever. I saw very little art wall art moving.

Volunteers were good on Saturday but nowhere to be found on Sunday. If you were by yourself, you were on your own. No booth sitters on Sunday. Sunday teardown was frustrating, too. It's cramped and they gave load-out tickets to individuals who hadn't even pulled art off the walls. Lots of great artists here but, imho, too many crafts. Not sure I'd go back.

Comment by Barry Bernstein on September 13, 2018 at 6:04pm

Hey, Nels, you have had some really stinker shows, lately. I feel for you.

I've only done Arts and Apples once about 30 years ago. I had a booth in the bottom area. It had rained a couple of days before the show. By setup day it was dry, however. On the second day of the show it rained for a half hour or so and the ground got soaked. It didn't rain for very long but because it was in the low area, the ground got really muddy. It was like a mud bowl. In addition, a really big dog took a dump right in front of my booth. The guy ignored it and kept on going. I made the guy pick it up but the guy did a half attempt to clean it up. The weather got really hot and the mud and the rain acted as a sauna. The dog poop smelled. That was the end of my show. I took it as a bad omen and haven't been back.

Also, Arts and Apples has the distinction of being successfully sued by an artist. I'm not going to mention the person's name so don't ask. Someone may remember the circumstance.

Comment by Nels johnson on September 13, 2018 at 9:37pm

Right you are, Barry.  None of us are immune from bad things happening.

But, over 45 years of doing shows, I am still luckier, and more prosperous, than most.

Comment by Patricia Zabreski Venaleck on September 14, 2018 at 3:46pm

Nels, I agree with your review.  Friday was a waste of time and Sunday was also.  Saturday was good for me.  Previous customers.  But the show opens at 9:00 on Saturday and Sunday which I think is ridiculous since no one is there.  All the other shows I do start at 10 .  Good crowds but everyone was the yellow line walkers,  who never even look in the booths.  Just a day to get out.  Good review!

Comment by Barry Bernstein on September 14, 2018 at 8:26pm

They probably were saving their money for the Anchor Bar that opens next money. That's the same Anchor Bar in Buffalo that started the chicken wing thing.


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