Art Fair Insiders

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

A stormy weekend in Bend Oregon, Art in the High Desert 2013

When my jury results for Art in the High Desert came I expected to file it away with my rejections. I had juried for this show for 4 or 5 years, always with the same results... no joy. I was close to giving it up and not apply this year. I was shocked to be wait-listed. And then I was almost immediately called off the wait-list. I’m really glad I didn’t give up! It was a wonderful show in all respects... except for the weather, but more on that later.

Art in the High Desert is located in central Oregon in the resort area of Bend. The area is known for the Mt. Bachelor ski resort, the Deschutes river, and other various outdoor activities and its numerous brew pubs. As the name implies it is in the high desert. This is an artist run 3 day show running Friday thru Sunday. It’s always the weekend before Labor Day. It has been set up to attract artists heading to either Art in the Pearl in Portland or Sausalito near San Francisco the following weekend. Because of its timing and proximity it is able to draw from a field of excellent artists. The show is set along the banks of the Deschutes River, right across a footbridge from the Old Mill district shops.

This show promotes original art. There is no music and no stilt walkers. There is a list of rules, which I did see enforced. All work hanging on walls needed to be originals, which I liked. I never hang reproductions. It makes it easier for the customers to know what is what. No B/S that I could tell. The show directors are present and communicative. Carla came to my booth to welcome me and talk a bit, she spent time running around with weather updates when her text message system failed to work.

Here's a short video someone made of the festival on Sunday, some of it in the rain.

booth fee $375


artist hosting
Thursday night artist dinner
food, drinks and coffee all mornings
awards breakfast on Sunday
wide booth spaces with storage behind
booth sitters
jury feedback (what a concept!)
gifts for the artist (this year a wine stopper and a AHD sketchbook with the logo embossed on the cover)


I drove the 160 miles from Portland and checked in with my host. Yes, this show offers artist hosting. The woman I stayed with was wonderful and I hope I have made a new friend. Her home was only about a mile from the festival site.


Setup is by time. There were volunteers a plenty and carts for artist’s use during setup. Spaces were wide enough to walk between to access the storage behind the booths. It was windy and threatening rain so we were instructed to set up and secure our canopies first before finishing unloading. There was a little rain but it didn’t last long. I unloaded everything and hung most of my work and went to the artist dinner. This was hosted with beer and wine. There was a talk about selling at art festivals before the dinner.

Friday and Saturday

Ran from 10am-6pm. Friday was mostly browsers but Saturday the real buyers came out. I had one very good customer who had come to the Old Mill to see a movie and ended up buying 3 paintings from me! I saw other original work walking by all day on Saturday.


When I think of Bend I think of sunny, hot (and maybe windy) summer days. The last thing I expected was rain, but after threatening all weekend, the skies finally opened up Sunday afternoon. We were told we could close an hour early at 3pm if the weather didn’t break. Some artists started closing around 2:30 because rain was blowing into their booths. There were still a few hardy shoppers. I took down my price tags but otherwise waited until after 3 to seriously start packing up amist the cracks of lightning and sounds of thunder. It crossed my mind that a metal canopy might not be the safest place to be in a thunder storm :/. Fortunately, by the time I was ready to load my vehicle the rain had stopped.

Yes, I would do this show again in a heartbeat. My sales were good and the cost of doing this show is relatively low. I think the weather on Sunday may have affected my sales somewhat.

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Comment by Steph Mader on October 16, 2013 at 10:03pm

I was there, too - what a great show, especially in terms of art quality. Lisa, your booth looks great in the video. I agree, Lucia's dolls are just amazing. So is Lucia!

My sales were okay, but I imagine the weather might have affected things. I was hearing that attendance seemed slower than the previous year. It's one of the best-run shows I've attended - I'm a big fan of the promoters. It makes a huge difference when they take show quality that seriously. I think that's the key to shows being able to build a good collector base & I wish more promoters would realize that. I will now remove my one foot from the soapbox.


Comment by Lisa Foster on September 10, 2013 at 1:38pm

Hi Lucia, I saw your dolls and I thought they were amazing! I loved your display too. I'm glad you had a good show!

Comment by steve appel on September 5, 2013 at 1:34pm

Jackie i stayed with artist an artist friend when i did a show in the cambria area otherwise i stay with people who are members of a club i belong too.  it was the best thing i ever joined.

Comment by Lucia Friedericy on September 4, 2013 at 12:45pm

Hi Lisa, I did the show too--I had the dolls down on the far end. I thought it was a fun show, the audience there was so interested and engaged. We had a good show in sales, and I think if the weather had been better on Sunday it might have been a great show! 

Comment by lulu moonwood murakami on September 3, 2013 at 7:55pm

Wonderful review and video, Lisa - thanks!  One to put on my list!

Comment by Lisa Foster on September 3, 2013 at 1:51am

I also stayed with a host at a show in Sunriver a few years ago. It's also in the same area, near Bend, about 15 miles away (maybe 20). I've heard of other shows that offer it but I don't remember which, and I don't think they're common. I know that when other volunteers At Art in the High Desert heard that I was being hosted they said they wanted to be on the list for next year. Jacki, they told me that they had enough hosts for all of the artists that asked for it this year. I'm not sure how many that was.  

Comment by Jacki Bilsborrow on September 3, 2013 at 12:06am

Artist hosting is a great idea.  I think many people would volunteer for this if shows started offering it.  I think many people would love to have an artist to get to know and stay with them. 

Did all of the artists stay in homes do you know?  Did they have enough homes for all the artists?  Thanks for the video, too.  And the nice review.

Comment by Chuck Kuhn on September 2, 2013 at 2:35pm

Terrific video and presentation, tks so much. Art Hosting is that unique to Bend or other shows? Would nice to have a link to shows that offer art hosting.  I would travel to more shows who offer hosting. Thanks

Comment by Annette Piper on September 1, 2013 at 6:08am

Congratulations Lisa on both a good show and review!  Sounds like it was a lovely event if you ignore the rain :)

Comment by Connie Mettler on August 30, 2013 at 4:25pm

(Just changed it, Lisa. Embarrassed again.)

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