2023 ART MARKET OF ESTES PARK, CO, MAY 28-30
PROMOTER: Fine Arts Guild of the Rockies
FEES: Jury $35, Booth $350 on Zapplication
NUMBER OF BOOTHS: 90 +
MEDIUM: Leather (equine, canine, personal)
PRICE RANGE: $4-$9800
This was the 22nd annual Art Market of Estes Park. You can apply to the show on Zapp. The jury fee is $35 and standard booth fee is $350. The application deadline was March 3 with March 20 notification.
GEOGRAPHY, CLIMATE, DEMPOGRAPHICS
Estes Park is the eastern gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Access from Denver and I-25 is by US-34 through Big Thompson Canyon or US-36 up the St. Vrain River. Check the weather and road reports (www.cotrip.org). Trail Ridge Road crosses the mountains in the National Park, and the resort areas of Granby, Grand Lake and Winter Park are on the west side. The road is usually opened Memorial Day weekend.
“Parks” in Colorado refer to broad intermountain valleys. You have all probably heard of South Park. There are also North Park, Middle Park, Allenspark etc. Estes Park is one of these valleys at an elevation of 7,522’. Mountain weather can be unpredictable, and this is true of Estes Park. It was all nice all three days with only brief afternoon showers followed by sunshine. There were a couple strong gusts of wind in the afternoon.
There are many summer homes around Estes Park and in the
foothills. The area is a destination for metro Denver residents and both national and international tourists. The crowd is middle class, many families with pre-teen kids, lots of dogs, and with a large percent from the Midwest judging from college sweatshirts.
SETUP AND TAKE DOWN
I was anxious about the show this year with a change in management to Fine Arts Guild of the Rockies (FAGR)and the new staggered set up starting at 9:00 am instead of the traditional 8:00 am. Both were red flags, but all went well. I showed up a little after 10:00 for my 11:00 set up and wondered where were all the 9:00 and 10:00 booths. It seems that the early birds regulars with large/complex set up just showed up and others did not for that scheduled time. It worked out well and judging from the rest of the day scheduled set up was not necessary. Because so few had started set up, I was told I could drive in and drop the load around 10:30. Ninety booths are arranged around Bond Park, and in and along the City Hall parking area. All booths are on hard surfaces. A few special considerations about doing this show are altitude sickness if you are a “flatlander” and presence of wildlife: elk, deer, bears and the smaller critters. Cautionary information is in your information packet. There was none of this parking in front of your and your neighbors’ booths while you dink around unloading and setting up for several hours. There was a designated trailer parking area with a shuttle back to the show. Booth sitters were available if a volunteer was available. Take Down is similar after taxes were paid at 3:00 pm on Monday.
SALES AND ANALYSIS
I have done the Estes Park Art Market ten times since 2009. It started as a solid $2K sales show for me and in most years, sales were mid-$3K. I met my target this year. My average sale was $73.50 and my margin for the show was 52%. It was a good 3-day show and I plan to return. FAGR also has a show in Bond Park two weeks after Labor Day. I plan to apply to that show next year following Rotary’s Labor Day show. I had good sales Saturday and Monday, but Sunday sales were off by $1K. Sunday there was an auto accident that closed US34 blocking the highway through Big Thompson Canyon, one of two major routes into Estes Park from the east. Belts with silver and utility buckles were my biggest seller followed by a mix of other leather goods: holsters, dog collars, checkbooks, canteens, and billfolds. Some sales were post show custom orders billed when completed.
The mediums were heavy on wall art (photography and 2-D) and jewelry but with diversity. There were about 2-3 artists in mediums of leather, ceramics, fabrics, wood, metal, and mixed media. I have a following at this show with returning clients and it was great to see clients who needed more adjustment holes in their belts.
There was coffee and goodies every morning and a goodie bag with snacks for several days. There are clean accessible rest rooms in the City Hall and there was overnight security. Food vendors are present. There was a silent auction of donated art, and a high percentage of artists donate work. I donated and shopped the auction with proceeds going to high school scholarships.
Art shows in Colorado resort areas are mini vacations out of the studio for me. We have found it is less expensive to rent a modern cabin or condo in the area which in some cases are less expensive than motels. We eat in to save money. We rented a house with our daughter and family from western slope CO. The three grandkids helped with set up, take down and sales. Each was paid $100 for the weekend.
When sales were slow on Sunday I greeted and photographed many dogs who liked the attention.
Estes Park has four major shows during the summer and fall. Rotary produces the Estes Park Art and Craft Show Labor Day weekend in September, and the Fine Arts Guild of the Rockies produces the Art Market Memorial Day weekend and the Arts and Crafts Festival in mid-September. There are other weekend events in the community.