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2019 Rehoboth Outdoor Fine Art and Craft Review

Rehoboth Art League's Outdoor Fine Art and Craft Show
Rehoboth, Delaware

Venue: The Rehoboth Art League's Henlopen Acres campus, which used to a farmstead.

Dates: First two weekends in August

Hours: Sat 10-5, Sun 10-4 PM

Booth fee 450 for one weekend and I believe 800 if you Do two weekends. I just did the final weekend.

Plus 50 dollar fee to be a member of the Rehoboth Art League - mandatory to do the show) and $50 host fee if you choose to stay with a host family for the weekend or $100 for two weekends (these are members of the art league who put up out of town artists, which is appreciated as this is high tourist season in a beach resort town where there are no cheap hotel rates). Our host was lovely and made us dinner Fri night as well as breakfasts (which is not required). I stayed at a beautiful house a couple of blocks off the beach and a half mile from the show. Our host drove myself and some other artists each day if we needed it (also not required).

My medium is mixed media contemporary animal paintings. Price points $150 to $3900. All originals, no prints. Lowest price point sold $300. Highest was $1800.

The art show is held on the gorgeous campus of the art league, which is in a neighborhood about 10 min walk from the beach, and is surrounded by multi million dollar homes. Your tent is on grass between gravel lined paths. As this is in Delaware there is no sales tax. There is a 5 dollar admission fee for visitors (children under 12 are admitted free) and a free trolley / shuttle service.

I did this show for the first time last year, and decided to do again this year as the art quality is very high. It's juried, and if selected, you are pre-approved for two years. This is fine art and craft. No buy sell or imports. Last year they kicked out someone who misrepresented their art and were selling work made by others. There are about 125 artists I think, as well as some music (not too loud) and a beer garden. The artists range from fairly traditional to more contemporary and abstract or even whimsical or funky. They had paintings, ceramics, sculpture, textiles, glass, jewelry, etc. etc etc.

If you do both weekends you are allowed to keep your tent up in between weekends if you want. If you do only one weekend you can set up the Thurs or Friday before. One caveat, the neighborhood is VERY strict about no commercial activity (which includes an art festival), before 830 am and after 5 pm. So you can NOT do any set up or breakdown before or after these hours. On sat our host dropped us off at 820 and we were made to wait across the road until exactly 830 before we could go into our tents. When you set up before you can drive up to your spot to unload then move your car to the side. The show is pretty well organized but has a relaxed atmosphere for the most part.

Also you get a parking pass for a specific house to park at. If you park anywhere else you will get ticketed. Make sure you follow the rules for this show.

They also provide secure wifi for the show, however, at my location it was super sluggish.

Note: if you drive in Friday to set up, get into town before noon if you don't want to be sitting in traffic.

Last year I did mediocre as far as sales ( I paid my expenses but only had a very small profit which is not really worth it if you consider the amount of time and energy spent on the show), but I had a good vibe about the fest so I wanted to try it again, especially as I was new to the area. I did A LOT of promo on social media and my email lists beforehand and the day before the show i even presold a small original.

Saturday was mid 80s and sunny, no wind or rain. I was originally supposed to be in one location but The day before I drove down they had to move my spot and I ended up on a main path in a well trafficked area,. The only negative there was a tree in The space so I needed to set up in front of it so The roots made The ground uneven and my booth was not flush with my row. This did give me a partial outside wall on my tent that I could now use as it could be seen by oncoming traffic.

The paths you are on are wide and many artists will sit in the center where there is shade. They are pretty relaxed about this here.

The morning traffic was decent then died just after lunch. I did one $900 sale to one person and then nothing else. My impression was many artists were not happy with traffic. The previous week I was told was brutally hot but busy and one lucky artist got $16k in sales when a restaurateur bought up a bunch of art for a new restaurant.

I did hear that there was a fatal accident on one of the main roads and traffic (already hugely congested on Saturdays) was a standstill for a few hours, so that may have impacted us some.

However, due to past experience, my Sunday sales are often stronger than Saturday so I reserve judgement until after the show is over.

They have an artist reception Saturday night but I didn't go. They also have boothsitters, free water, an air conditioned artist only bathroom and sitting area, and complimentary breakfast and snacks. They also have a cafe you can order from for lunch but I just ate some food I packed.

On Sunday it was 80 degrees, very light wind and pleasant. Traffic came in strong and stayed fairly consistent all day. Please note this is not a HUGE festival so it's not like Ann Arbor crowds, but they can have a steady stream of people.

I sold two large more expensive works on Sunday that made my sales from meh to something I was pretty happy with.

Nobody asked for a discount and nobody acted shocked at my prices although It's true not everyone could afford it. I had a couple of people ask about reproductions, which I do sell online so I gave them my card to shop there. I had a few other people take a card to think about a purchase so i have to see if they actually do contact me (I'm not holding my breath though). I did get the usual questions: how long did this take to make and did you make this, but in general this audience is more educated. There was also a wide range of ages, families and couples. There is also a large gay demographic here as well so if you make pride or gay-friendly related work, it may be popular. In general it was a nice, educated and well behaved crowd.

I will say most of the works I sold were sea animals or regional animals. So, something to think about if you do the show. People are looking to put work in their beach houses. At the end of the review are some pics of the work I sold.

The impression I got from others was that Sunday was better in general for most. Not everybody did well though, but that is like every show.

The show is not currently on Zapp but I heard a rumor that next year it may be.

You can get your car once your tent is down but this is sort of not well enforced but everyone figured it out. A couple of artists did block one of the paths with their car which caused some confusion as they wouldn't move.

I think I thought of the main review points but if anybody has questions let me know.

I don't know if this is a show to drive across country for, but i live three hours away and it is worth it to me (though I did meet a couple of Florida artists). I do think it's a very high quality show and well run and artists are treated very well.

Most of the other artists I met were from Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland and DC.

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Comment by Erika L. Forsythe [ELF] on August 30, 2019 at 12:53pm

Cool. Thanks Lynette. Will do.

Comment by Lynnette Shelley on August 30, 2019 at 12:51pm

oh Ok. It's pretty straightfoward. You just submit images of your art (I think it was three or four?) and a picture of your booth. I believe admissions start in Jan or Feb. I can't remember exactly. I know payments for booth fees are due by June 1 and they let you know you are accepted sometime in the Spring. I don't remember the exact timeline. Your best bet is to sign up on their email list.

Comment by Erika L. Forsythe [ELF] on August 30, 2019 at 12:32pm

Hey Lynette!

Sorry, I didn't ask the right question of you. What I meant to convey was, would you provide insight to this particular submission process, for ex. the timeline of when the application came out/application deadline, and when you received your acceptance; were there any particular application questions that stood out, for ex. one show I can think of asks "In what galleries have you shown your work in the last year?" & "List the juried shows you have previously been accepted to." Knowing the types of questions asked/requirements can be helpful to prepare when you still have a year before the next event :)

You may not recall specifics for Rehoboth, as you would have applied so many months ago, but your thorough notes above are so wonderfully helpful, I thought I'd ask. Wishing you the best in your upcoming shows!


Comment by Lynnette Shelley on August 27, 2019 at 9:18am

HI Erika.

Sorry I don't have any advice for the submission process. Same as any I suppose: submit your strongest pieces :)

Sorry you did not do well. Yes, Rehoboth has bad traffic in the summer. It's a beach resort town so that is to be expected. Though I never had problems as long as I didn't drive during the middle of the afternoon. The first year I did the show I stayed at place in Lewes and I drove down early morning and there was not much traffic. People who want to go to the show go. Those that want excuses, don't.  Like most events. THere was also walk in traffic from the neighborhoods and surrounding areas where people who have houses there want to buy art for them). I know many  who bought from me had houses in Rehoboth that they were decorating so they were already in town anyway. but who knows. I know the first year I did the show I did not do great. This time I did well. Whose to say what will happen next year.

FYI membership fee is 50 not 100 for an individual. Household membership is 100 (but you don't need a household membership to be in the show, just an individual). (But I agree with you that they should do away with that for people who are only interested in doing the show. Maybe have a discount for people who are members of the league for the show instead). 

Comment by Sheree Sorrells on August 27, 2019 at 1:37am

We did Rehobeth a couple of years ago for one weekend. We also were visiting some old friends who live in Lewes nearby.  Our show didn't go so well, and we were discussing it on a beach day after the show ended. In addition to our friends another man joined us on the beach.  So I asked them what their opinion of the show was. They all agreed that it was a great quality show, but they would never go because of the horrific traffic in Rehobeth. I was kind of left feeling like it would be hard to build a clientele at the show. We haven't done it again.

I also did not appreciate having to pay a membership fee of $100. in addition to the booth fee. Really great artists though.  Beautiful setting.

Comment by Erika L. Forsythe [ELF] on August 26, 2019 at 6:04pm
Lynette, thank you very much for this review! Now that I invested in a tent and I'm building up the roster of events I will apply to for 2020, it is so helpful to read your behind the scenes notes. I am a fine art photographer in MD [] and my signature collection is macro close-up work. Do you have any advice regarding the application process/submission of materials? Thank you again. Erika Lewis Forsythe [ELF]
Comment by Lynnette Shelley on August 12, 2019 at 2:24pm

HI Connie,

YOu could very well be right about the traffic on Saturday. I know I was told by another artist that this show always has better traffic on one weekend than the other but it changes from year to year so your best bet is to do both weekends if you can as you never know which one does better. I was told traffic was more consistent the previous weekend this year, despite the weather being unbearingly hot and humid. 

I did do the host program last year and stayed with a couple that was about 20 min away from the venue.  They were also very nice to us. 

Thanks for looking at my work. It's made with multiple layers of ink, acrylic, and ink pen  on cradled wood panel. Some pieces also use "fauxsaic" , which I create by staining watercolor paper with ink, cutting it up, arranging on the panel and then applying a gel medium on top. I"ve also been experimenting with some round panels lately as well.

Anyway thanks

Comment by Connie Mettler on August 12, 2019 at 1:42pm

Wow! A perfect review, Lynette. Thank you so much. Personally, I don't know much about this event, but it seems like I should. Those are very decent sales figures, good for you.

My thought on the Saturday traffic is that there are people who really want to see the show and are looking hard at what is there, but it's August, it's summer and there's a beach nearby, and it seems the weather was conducive. We used to do a show in Charlevoix, MI, and the buyers were there early while we were still setting up, sometimes it wasn't even fully light. They were eager (and it was a lovely show), but after 2 pm they were out on their boats or at the beach. But the morning sales were pretty good, no one complained.

Your work is fascinating. It looks like batik, it looks like scratchboard ... I know you say mixed media. Can you tell me more?

Oh my, oh my -- their host program sounds wonderful. Have you stayed with a host at this event before? and overall, the hospitality sounds excellent. Good for them! This kind of event is the antithesis of the "let's make money", crowded, buy/sell, inconvenient parking, expensive lodgings that can make or break an artist's spirit and bank account. 

Your thoughtful analysis of the buyers is much appreciated and can guide others to make decisions based on this. And the addition of the photos of your work helps a good bit also.

(I appreciate your taking so much time to put this together.)

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