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The 2nd Annual Affordable Arts Show in Littleton, CO came off without a hitch this past Sunday, Aug, 25.

Crowds line up in anticipation of entering the 2nd Annual Affordable Arts Show in Littleton, CO

I reviewed the inaugural event last year and it can be read at: http://www.artfairinsiders.com/profiles/blogs/affordable-arts-show-...


Things were still very well organized by Jim DeLutes and his crew and I was glad to be able to set-up on Sat. this year. With temps in the low 90's on both Sat and Sun lots 'o water was a necessity.
Load-in was still easy as you could drive right up to the ample spaces on the college campus lawn and as artists arrived on their own time schedule, staggered throughout the day, it seemed like no toes got stepped on.

By nine o'clock an impressive crowd was lining up outside the gates. Jim was working for greater attendance this year with his aggressive ad campaign. Well, word must have gotten out as they were stretched out way past the parking lot and out towards the college buildings a good way off as well. There was a good mix of ages and unlike the older second home crowd in AZ (that has no wall space) the older crowd was buying as well!
The show is built around the theme that everything is affordable at or below $100. Most of what I sold was at this higher price point with large framed images. It was my experience that people were not just buying one item but were looking for multiple items to put together, at this price point they weren't scratching their heads and considering it as much, they bought! I could see the same was true for other artists as there were a lot of large pieces with legs and a lot of bags full of items walking by. There is never a dull moment at art shows and this one was no exception when a patron, who had been eyeing a 16 x 20 framed image that I had priced at $100 down from $195, asked if there would be any additional discounts! I paused a second without response, took a slow breath, and calmly replied "No".

No amenities such as water were available to the artists however a group of volunteers did come around and check on the "by yourself" artists if they needed a break. Food and drinks were available from a couple of nice catering trucks parked near the event.
By the afternoon the crowd thinned but there were still plenty of deals available and people were still looking to buy. The show ended an hour earlier this year at 4 which was a good thing as there weren't enough patrons to support the extra hour. The clouds rolled in at 5 or so with a sprinkle but by then most artists were packed and gone.
Jim is very optimistic about this show and is working hard to get attendance to rise. I'm curious to know how many came this year but haven't heard yet. It certainly seemed as if there were a lot more this year as-well-as good buying energy. Jim did a great job with advertising and based on the addresses of those that showed up it must be working as they came from all over the metro area not just the local residents.

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Comment by Jim DeLutes on August 30, 2013 at 12:49pm

SAS is the Starving Artists Show in Milwaukee who's been doing this concept for 45 years.

Actually, feel free to use the photo since Brian used the one I sent out to the artists.

Comment by Connie Mettler on August 30, 2013 at 12:01pm

WOW! Great job, Jim. It shows you have really done your homework and discovered a formula for bringing buyers to shows. Congratulations --

What is SAS?

(hope you don't mind, Brian, but I loved that photo and have moved it up in the post so everyone will see it.)

Comment by Jim DeLutes on August 30, 2013 at 10:32am

I would like to clarify one part of this great review from Brian of the Affordable Arts Festival. The size of the crowds that came last year and the larger ones we had this year don’t sound very impressive but the buying that occurs is phenomenal. When I was first researching the SAS in Milwaukee and talked to artists who have done it for 15 years or more, every one of them said the crowds were the size of Cherry Creek or other well attended shows. I went and did the show as an artist and I agree that it seemed to be that way. But as I researched further I found that they get 8500 in attendance (they sell tickets so they know the number). I had to turn to math to try to make sense of this. It seems to me after 20+ years of shows that my best guess is that, on average, 1 in 20 attendees actually buy art. Most are there for the free art show or the food on a stick. At the SAS and the Affordable Arts Festival there is close to 100% of attendees buying art and usually from multiple artists. With that in mind, it would take a crowd of 170,000 to produce 8500 buyers. Hence, that is why it feels like such large crowds. I know at the Affordable Arts Festival the other day I was at the exit several times and saw everyone leaving with bags in hand. Some people who had 5 or 6 bags already, had to have their hand stamped so they could come back in to get the rest of their purchases! Believe me when I say that it is an amazing thing to see almost all the patrons and the artists smiling all day long. We had several artists this year whose booths were half empty in the first 2 hours. As I have often said in all the years I was doing shows, I would rather be at a show with 10,000 buyers than at a show with 200,000 spectators.

It’s not my intention to open up any discussions about the ratio of buyers versus crowds at shows since mine was an estimate. I know I’ve been to shows where it seemed that the ratio was more like 1 in 100 was buying!

Comment by Ruth Finkenbiner on August 28, 2013 at 10:29pm

Thanks for the report, loved the fact that people were in line waiting at 9 AM, that's pretty remarkable.

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