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Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

2015 Bellevue Art Museum July show - Review wanted for 2D

I've done the BAM show several years running in the past, but was juried out in 2015.  The last time I did it was 2014 and the energy, especially in the evening, was way down.  They don't sell beer and wine for customers to walk around with and the music they provided was inexplicably placed inside the shopping mall with chairs for people to sit in there and listen to the music!  This was, of course, of no benefit to the artists.  

I just received my acceptance for 2016 and would love to have some feedback from any of you in 2D in particular, who might have done the show last year in 2015 - before I hand over that big wad of cash for a booth.  I do have collectors in the area and even though it's a 2 1/2 day drive for me I've always found it a pleasant one.  I'm weighing my options and would love for you to weigh in.


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Comment by Barrie Lynn Bryant on February 13, 2016 at 5:16pm

Thanks so much for the quick and informative replies, Robbie and C.C. I looked at both your websites earlier and like what I see from both of you, for sure. Great work, you two.

The health issue is hypersensitivity pneumonitis. And that's an allergic reaction to something, probably both mold and pollen. My wife nearly died this past spring in a Macon, GA hospital after we did three Panhandle shows. She was intubated for four days and didn't breath on her own the first night. That's the short story of it. It was scary. So we're not going there anymore. We're iffy about Illinois and Wisconsin and Minnesota and Michigan. We'll see. We're not really keen on summer shows, either.

So we're looking at Pacific North West for some good times. Summer won't be bad there if it isn't like it was that one hot time. Booth fees are so high in the West, especially when compared to Winter Park Sidewalk Festival at $450 since they have $72,500 in prize money to boot!

Thanks again for the news about Bellevue. We might try Bellevue Festival of the Arts. WOOHOO!

Comment by C.C. Barton on February 13, 2016 at 12:51pm


I agree with Robbie ~ plenty of customers to go around.  I've never done the 6th street, but I always did the Bellevue festival of the arts - back when it was still called The Rest of the Best.  Nice show with quality work.  Back then the Bellevue Arts Museum Artfest was a commission show and I never wanted to give a show a significant slice of my pie after all the expense of the drive and lodging, etc. so I didn't apply.  As soon as they changed from a commission show to a paid booth fee show I applied and never did the Bellevue festival of the arts again.  I retired from canopy shows a couple of years ago and only do panel setups now so I couldn't do the outside show now anyway, but I think the BAM show is a better show for higher end work and it has a bit more cache in that regard.  That said, I think the booth fees are outrageously high at 815 for a 10 x 10 non-corner, especially compared with 500 for a booth at Lakefront, for example.  Seattle is usually a great place to be that time of the year (except for that one horrible heat wave year that Robbie mentioned).  It's definitely not humid in the sense that you're trying to avoid.  It has a soft, cool sea-air feel to it.  I actually love the drive from Colorado and usually tack on a couple of extra days to spend time in Seattle and for a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island for dinner.

Comment by Robbie Curnow on February 13, 2016 at 11:49am
I'm not sure if you're referring to humidity in the Florida areas keeping you from attending shows there. Seattle is rainy but it does not have humidity. In the summer it's usually around the 70s one year we had freak weather in 100°, which is very rare. The Bellevue Museum artsfair is a very high-quality show, but the apps are done for that show. The Bellevue festival of the arts rivals the museum show and six street would be the highend Street Fair version. Six street is the cheapest of the three shows and has a mix highend and more affordable art. Three shows in a single weekend sounds like a lot, but they always report around 300,000 people attend. There are a lot of people who save their money and wait until the Bellevue museum show to spend lots of money. I'd say the shows could be worth it depending on how the buying public receives your art. It's always a gamble on a new away show.
Comment by Barrie Lynn Bryant on February 13, 2016 at 10:37am

Well, there's another venue happening the same weekend in the same neighborhood, too. YIKES! That's three shows. Isn't that too much? What do you two know about that one?

Comment by Barrie Lynn Bryant on February 13, 2016 at 9:57am

The other show in town is still accepting applications. Which show is better to do? Would you two even know since you've only done the Museum venue? Booth fees are so high for that area, I might never take the plunge to try either. But I'm looking into Seattle since it's just a thousand miles from my home in Wyoming. For so many years now we've done tours in Florida and the South East, but we can't return back there due to health reasons with that environment. Seattle is wet, so maybe it isn't such a good idea to come there, either. But we're thinking about it. The high booth fees and lack of significant prize money aren't helping matters.

So, if you two can shed any light on which show might be better, I'd appreciate it. We're high end work, figurative finely detailed Imaginative Realism fine art soft pastel & charcoal in handcrafted carved and gilded with karat gold frames. We're talkin' $1,250 to $3,200 price range.

Comment by C.C. Barton on February 10, 2016 at 11:46am

Thanks Robbie ~ you didn't say if you're doing the show this year, but I'm leaning towards doing it again and hope we see each other.

Comment by Robbie Curnow on February 10, 2016 at 11:39am
Last year was better than 2014, but not the same attendance and energy as previous years like 2010 to 2013. We had a different booth location than perious years - two down towards the opening inline. People complained they couldn't find us.
Comment by C.C. Barton on February 10, 2016 at 11:30am

Hi Robbie!

I remember you and your beautiful work very well.  So, did you do the show last year?  And, if so, how did the buying energy seem to you guys (I realize we're different mediums, of course) and had the show made any good changes?

Comment by Robbie Curnow on February 10, 2016 at 11:17am
Actually, you were our neighbor for several years at BAM!!
Comment by Robbie Curnow on February 10, 2016 at 11:15am
I am not a 2-D artist but I have done the Bellevue Museum Arts Show for eight years in a row. Yes 2014 was unusually low in attendance and buying energy was down. Last year in 2015 it was slightly better but not the same attendance and energy as previous years like 2010 to 2013. BAM does draw a huge crowd. Actually I've been surprised of the last two years turn out - I'm not sure what's up. Either way, I would always do the Bellevue show. Even in slower years it still my best money making show.

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