Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
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
Thursday night artist dinner
food, drinks and coffee all mornings
awards breakfast on Sunday
wide booth spaces with storage behind
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.