Art Fair Insiders

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

What is one of the best things about art fairs? Near the top of everyone's list is meeting the other artists and spending time with them. Which brought me to Springfield, MO, March 15-17, for a professional development conference sponsored by Best of Missouri Hands.* 

I was really pleased to be invited to speak at this conference. I love to talk about the business of art fairs and to meet the many, many people in this organization who are members here at AFI. (And let's face it, folks, travel is in our blood).

BOMH was founded in 1989 dedicated to the development and recognition of Missouri's arts and artisans through education, interaction, and encouragement. They sponsor juried exhibitions and their members have access to exhibiting opportunities at popular places like Silver Dollar City in Branson. They host workshops and have regional chapters which develop a real spirit of camaraderie. 

If you've never been to an artist development conference think really hard about it the next time you have the opportunity. In fact, you might want to put this on your calendar for next year as it is open to artists from other areas. The attendees were an amazing audience, no iPhones or iPads in evidence. They were really there for development, listening and note taking.

"Framed" at the Frame Gallery: Robert Lyall, Marian McKinney, Connie Mettler. Thanks to Fresh Gallery for the photo.

What you missed:

  • gallery exhibition and sale of member's work
  • Friday night frolics: workshops where you could try your hand at printmaking, wax resist and other media, taught by members

  • Reed McMillan, currently sales manager for the International Contemporary Furniture Fair,whose long list of credentials includes Producer of The Artist Project, and Show Director of the American Craft Council spoke three times on Seeking Inspiration, Adapting to a Changing Market and Maintaining Artistic and Creative Integrity.
  • Connie Mettler, after more than 25 years participating in art fairs, an event consultant, art fair director and show organizer, but now runs four highly ranked websites around the art fair business, advising artists and bringing patrons to attend art fairs. She spoke on Jurying for Art Fairs, Insider Secrets to Art Fair Success and led a roundtable on the business of art fairs.

    treasures to take home, hand dyed yarn from Marci Blank, "memory" key from Bob Lyall, aroma flask from Robin Ragsdale

More workshops:

  • Introduction to wholesale markets - led by long time wholesale exhibitors, Dodie Eisenhauer and Teresa Gallup
  • Insight from an Art show Manager - led by Vic Barr who manages the Queeny Park Art Shows
  • Legal Issues for Artists
  • Managing your web page
  • Making the most of the Artist/Gallery Relationship
  • What Makes it Great? led by Martha Greer. What makes a show great? What compels an artist to participate?

Social events: Welcome Reception, Gallery Reception and gallery crawl - hospitality!

More details: 

The people I met: Don and Gail Crozier, Vic Barr, Dodie Eisenhauer, Teresa Gallup, Bari Precious,Julie Bell, Marcie Blank, Serena Boschert, Jean Hartley, Peggy King, Nancy Koehler, Robert Lyall, Marian McKinney, Robin Ragsdale, Joyce Wathen, Don Ament and so many more! Thank you for your welcome. 

Martha Greer, executive director of BOMH, is pretty amazing, thorough and on top of everything. Photo courtesy of Fresh Gallery, Springfield, MO.

Favorite story: potter Bari Precious' website url was recently up for renewal: She was offered big bucks to sell it. Any idea why? 

*With support from the Missouri Arts Council.

Six minute video that includes Reed McMillan's tips on jurying and the importance of the "hand of the maker" in the work he views:

Views: 323

Comment by Farah Darwish on March 25, 2013 at 6:55pm

Yay for you! I bet you did fabulous Connie! You're always great in the public speaking arena anyway :) Wish I could've gone with you.

Comment by gary simmons on March 26, 2013 at 9:35am

Kathy and I had a great time, and it was great meeting Connie. Her comments about the art show business, juries, images, displays were invaluable.

Comment by Connie Mettler on March 26, 2013 at 9:48am

Sorry I left you off the list, Gary! Didn't you win the "consult with Connie?" Ready when you are.

Comment by gary simmons on March 27, 2013 at 10:46am

I don't know. I have been told yet. I hope so.

Comment by gary simmons on March 27, 2013 at 10:47am

I "haven't" been informed yet.

Comment by gary simmons on March 27, 2013 at 11:01am

wonderful. that is great. I will contact Connie soon.


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