Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Years ago I had done shows hosted by Downtown Boulder, Inc. on the Pearl Street pedestrian mall but gave them up due to the fact that they were underwhelming. The last time I did one was 7 years ago. In the interim, 4 years ago, the OpenArts people decided to expand on their mission and held a show that no one attended. It was held in a nice open area adjacent to a shopping mall in Boulder but apparently the word didn't get out.
OpenArts is known, at least in part, for hosting the annual open studios tour in Boulder every Oct. They partnered with Downtown Boulder, Inc. to breath life back into a show that had gone down hill quality wise. I'd say from the little bit that I was able to see of the show that they did their homework. The quality was as good as most shows I participate in.
Now for the Facts:
Show Hours and Dates: Open Arts Fest, Boulder, CO July 19, 10-7, July 20, 10-5
The show is set up on the pedestrian Pearl Street Mall and also on 14th street. If you opt for the 14th St. option (which costs less) you get to set up Friday night. The bad news is that setting up on the mall means getting there at 6 AM on Sat. The good news is you can drive right up to your booth space if it isn't blocked by someone else down the line.
LOTS of water, snacks and volunteer booth sitters for the occasional break. Additionally, Alfalfa's sponsored a great Sunday morning awards breakfast. Clean (sorta) regular restrooms on the mall as-well-as some porta potties around the corner. The staff came around quite often to ask if you need a break and they make a special note at check in if you are doing the show alone.
Storage, Booth Space, Load-In/Out:
Depending on your location, most booths had some storage space behind, not a lot of space but it was there! No space between booths to speak of on 14th, they were shoulder to shoulder. There didn't look as though there was much storage behind booths on 14th. Some booths on Pearl St. have more storage available then others on the mall. These booths are scattered throughout the mall so some are stand alones with flower beds next to them and some are 3-4 next to each other. Just depends on where you are located.
This was a show of two faces. Saturday, all day, there were a lot of strollers and lookers and not much purchasing energy. I felt as though I were just a backdrop to a day of visitors on the mall and I was ready to write the show off as another bad encounter with the Boulder market. Sunday, however, was a different animal. Serious buyers were looking at the show and were making purchases. Although there were dead zones in the day there were sales throughout the day, enough for me to reconsider throwing in the towel.
Quality/Range of Art:
This was a mid to high end FA show rather than a craft show with some FA thrown in. The work that was there was well done and as good a quality as most shows I choose to go to. I've seen some of the artists at such shows as: Omaha, Oklahoma City, Park City, etc. Many of the artists at this show are going to be at the Affordable Arts Show in Littleton, CO at the end of August.
Boulder is a town with plenty of restaurants within spitting distance on the mall and there were some fine food wagons between 13th and 14th just for the show. Lindsey's Deli would deliver and Lindsey herself came around with % off coupons for the artists.
As I said it has been 7 years since I did my last Boulder Mall show. I gave up on them as I never saw any significant sales out of any of the shows I did there. I took a chance on this show as I had nothing else scheduled and nothing much to lose. I'm glad I did the show as it turned out to be profitable for me and worth the time. My neighbors (ceramic artists) said they've done the Boulder mall show for years and it has always been good to them.
Okay, now for the Dave Piper star rating! I'd give this show ✩✩✩ out of 5 and that is because of the nice job of logistics by the volunteers of Open Arts, great amenities, booth sitting, etc. Why only 3 out of 5? I think this show has room for improvement and I want to give this show another try and see if buying energy improves.