Art Fair Insiders

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

A show with a view-Trout Lake, WA 2013

This art festival is located on a farm in the very small community of Trout Lake, WA which is north of the Columbia River Gorge. The area is known for outdoor activities, Mt.. Adams and the huckleberries that grow wild there. This year it was in a new location complete with a stunning view of Mt. Adams. That was the good part about the new location, the bad was that we could no longer drive onto the field so we had to dolly to our spot over bumpy ground. Friday was setup from 1pm-whenever and the show ran from 10am-5pm on Sat and 10-4 on Sunday. It was fairly windy during setup but otherwise the weather was beautiful but HOT. Because of the heat I was really slow setting up and tearing down. It was the longest load out I’ve ever done. I was the last to leave, although I did spend some time talking to another artist.

The show is small with 55 artists. The quality is mixed, however, most of the art was good and I think better than previous years. Since it’s so small, customers tend to make the rounds a couple of times before purchasing. The attendance was good both days and people were carrying purchases. The locals from Trout Lake and the surrounding areas really turned out and supported the show this year. Don't let this photo fool you, there were times it was pretty busy. Unlike a show in a large city, it’s the only show in town so the people come. This was my 3rd year at this show. In 2011 I sold several originals and did well. Last year, attendance was down and I just made expenses. This year I did a little better but only sold small items and no originals.

This is a very inexpensive show for me to do. There is a $55 booth/jury fee which is refunded if you are not accepted and a 10% commission. Lodging is limited and it’s on the expensive side (no bidding or deals), however I camp at the county campgrounds for $18/night ($24 with electric) and it's only a 80 mile drive from Portland. Amenities include ice water for all, iced tea and lemonade for artists and credit card services. The credit card services came in handy for some artists that couldn’t get data reception.

All in all, it’s a fun show to do. I don’t think it’s the type of show where anyone would make $10k, but I know some artists grossed over $3k. You can do ok here, especially given the low cost. It’s not the kind of show I would travel far for, but if you’re semi-local or laying over in the area and have a free weekend it could be worth a shot. For me, it’s a crap-shoot. It’s a lot of fun to do and I enjoy camping and seeing the other artists that work that show. The director is great, the food is good, reasonably priced and there are healthy options. It depends on my schedule whether I'll do it next year but it will be on my list.



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