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Naples Uptown Artfair, Jan. 23-24–HAE Inaugural Event—Yes! A Success! yummy ...

This was a new Howard Alan Show in downtown Naples.

Usually, I stay away from new events, but, I trust Howard to advertise and bring in the monied, and he did.

We got to set up after 6pm on Friday which beats doing it early in the morn like at 4AM.

The Show was one block off Highway 41 and just a short block off from South 5th Avenue where all the restaurants and retail are located.

It had great visibility, cars driving 41 could see the two rows of tents parallel to it. The show then made a turn north along 10th street for at least three blocks.

There were a little more then 130 exhibitors, many were longtime vets like me and they had savvy, affordable art to sell, and they did.

Howard arranged for plentiful parking for both exhibitors and patrons just off 41.

Also, he did the smart thing, Bonita take notice, and had 6 foot spacing between all booths. Most of us had ample storage behind booths.

Also, all of us were masked and armed with sanitizer. Thankfully, nearly 99 % of the patrons were masked.

Ok, let’s talk Naples demographics.

I have done shows in Naples for over 40 years while watching the town prosper and grow.

Lots of money here.  Everybody drives high end autos.  Most patrons are dressed in very expensive, hip outfits.  This is not a Walmart crowd.

That said, Naples is not the Horn of Plenty for all exhibitors.

The patrons are largely from the Midwest with an also growing Hispanic population.

They tend to be older and conservative in their art tastes. So my neighbor had paintings geared to younger people. She died, barely made expenses. My other neighbor had fanciful, painted sstarfish in cute settings.  He killed them.

Thankfully for me, my new handcolored work flew off the walls.

I had one of my best shows in Naples for the last 10 years.

Abstract painters do well here with large pieces, bigger then 48 inches across.

Of course painters who do the B’s always kill here.(that stands for birds and beaches).

Crafters with traditional work will sell here.

They love big statement sculpture pieces that they can stage in entryways and lawns.

Blown glass is tricky, not too adventuresome is better.

Jewelers always kill here, cause Girls love shiny.

Howard came by my show later Saturday afternoon and admitted he was initially sweating bullets.  Crowds were not storming the barricades.  But momentum slowly built. He was a happy man.

I mostly sold framed photographs and high end out of the bin.  I only sold one 8x10 matted photo.

Sunday started off warmer and slower than Saturday, but the sales still happened.

Both days we had steady crowds ambling along.  Most stopped in to see the art.  They were not just walking there dogs.

At teardown, I was in and out hour and half after show ended.

Elaine, the show director does a fab job. She is tough on those who do not follow the rules, but she is fair, she does not play favorites.

I would do this show again in a heartbeat.

Two weekends away I will be in the Fort Myers Artfest, hopefully  as successful as this.

Here is a mini Tequila Report.

For the uninitiated, this is where I talk about bars and restaurants at the show, one of my favorite topics.

One disappointment about the Naples scene.

People seem to be oblivious about the dangers of Covid.

I stayed at the Red Roof Inn close to the show.

A few blocks away is the Bonefish Grille which I love.  They always have yummy seafood. Fresh!

Trouble is they are all sitting shoulder to shoulder, no spacing.  Also no spacing between booths or tables.  Very troubling.Most did not mask as they came in.

Luckily, I found a place at the end of the bar.  There was a big column that separated the rest of the bar.  There where Two chairs. I put my backpack one one and sat on the other, I had my spacing.  Also some yummy strawberry grouper. This was Friday nite.  On Saturday I went back there later, after 7pm, the bar was empty.  Got my corner and enjoyed more yummy seafood.

When I went in on Sunday I had the place to myself, got there just in time to see Tom Brady drive a wooden stake into the hear of the Packers,The meal was awesome.

BTW. Covidwise, I sanitized my hands after handling any credit cards, I kept my distance,masked, when talking to patrons.  It worked well.  We can do shows safely, and make money.

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Comment by Nels johnson on January 29, 2021 at 5:56pm

You are bang on Connie

Comment by Connie Mettler on January 29, 2021 at 11:03am

Even more good news! I hope this is a trend.

What a relief this must have been for you, Nels, ... two in a row. Yep, I agree on several things:

  • attendees at art fairs this year are those who are interested in the art, not tire kickers. People who value what they are seeing and coveting it. We do not need hoards of people in the street to sell art, we need the right people.
  • Naples buyers are conservative buyers. Cutting edge, avant-garde or something that doesn't match the walls or have a theme that relates to their lives is not going to sell on the Gulf Coast. 

Here is a little background on this event:

There was a bunch of blowback when the city gave Howard Alan Events this date and place for a show, (discussed here and here) but it seems their good organization has made it happen again. Good for them and for their paying attention to Covid restrictions. 

I'm beginning to be a little hopeful for 2021. 

Comment by Loc Tran on January 28, 2021 at 10:32pm

Thanks for the nice review. It's inspiring to hear that shows are continuing during the pandemic... and with success.

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