Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
This is hands down my favorite show all year. I think I would be happy with breaking even at this show because the area is so wonderful, it is like a paid vacation. This was my second year doing the show and decided to come a little earlier and leave a little later so I could see some of the DC area. Tequila report for this show would be way to long, so many options, including catching a water taxi to George Town for dinner if you want and the metro takes you almost anywhere you want to go, but Alexandria is the best home base. Ok enough of this trip advisor vacation talk, I am suppose to be writing about the art show.
If you do this show there are two things you need to do. 1 figure out your parking situation and 2 stay at the Monaco hotel right on King Street. The parking is a bit tricky but not that difficult once you figure it out. If you do this show find a friend that can give you some tips about parking depending on what type of vehicle you are driving. The Monaco IMO is a must, it is such a special treat and if you play the hotel booking game you can get a great rate.
Set up is one of those early morning Saturday deals. The street can be pretty tight in some areas so some opt to dolly in. I never dolly and both years have never had a problem getting into or out of my section with the van. My block of artists really know what they are doing at this show so it makes life much easier for all of us. I was all set up and ready to go back to my room at the Monaco, which was exactly 14 strides away from my booth, by 6:15 am to take a shower and a nice nap before the show started. Oh and order breakfast room service J The booth set ups at this show is mainly tight, really tight. Some areas worse than others. The booths are set up back to back practically touching. You know those two yellow lines that run along the middle of the street? Well that is about how much space you have between booths in the back, and possibly zero space on your sides. The great thing about staying at the hotel on site is you can keep a lot of your things in you hotel room and just run up and get them if you need to but the better thing to do is to really go thru all the crap you bring to a show and decide if you really really need all that stuff. I did a combo of both and I had amazing booth neighbors so we all worked it out. Also booth set ups, most of the tents are not allowed to use awnings. The fire marshall and the police run a tight ship at this show. They are on it so you better bring your weights and keep that awning off. Good news just one less thing to deal with at se up. There is a section of this show that has only one row of booths running along the middle of the street, so they have two fronts basically to their booth and they can use awnings. They are closer to the river and get a wonderful cool breeze coming off the water.
The show starts at 10am. But at 5:15 in the morning groups of joggers were running thru the streets, so I knew these people were going to be out early. At 9 am there was a good crowd and by 10 am excellent crowd and credit card machines were being used, large pieces being walked out and packed up. The crowd is a mix of ages. I would say mainly 30s and 40s with some 50 and 60s about ready to retire. These people have money and they understand that this is an art show, not a flea market, so non of that bargaining crap. The price is the price and they have no problem with it. Both years at this show I would be sitting in my chair and a credit card would be handed to me and they would point and say “I am buying that one”. No introductions or anything, just buying. I usually have to deliver my work since it is larger, but the folks here would never dream of turning an artists into a delivery person, so no deliveries for me, all the work was walked out by the client. LOVE LOVE LOVE the respect this town gives us artists. I didn’t bring anything with me under $650 to this show. So that was my low end. The first day I sold all my high price point work, restocked and sold it all again before Saturday ended. Many of the boths were pretty bare by the end of Saturday. So the plan for Sunday was to sell out completely by noon, keep the booth open but jump on the metro and go to the Smithsonian and checkout the HirshhornJ I came close. Sunday morning I walked the show to say hi to everyone and to get the free artists breakfast from Balduccis, yes Balduccis for the artists. I got back to my booth at 9:55 and a group of women were there waiting. One was a be back from Saturday. The piece she wanted was already gone so she chose another piece. She brought her friends to show so they could give an opinion on the piece she wanted, and the friends bought a piece as well. Now the booth is looking really bare and the show hasn’t even officially started. Lots of be backs came, but there was nothing really left for them to buy. Long story short I was left with 3 pieces on my walls by the end of the day and I came really close to selling those as well. Surprised I didn’t.
Breakdown, my best time yet (well when there is nothing to break down how hard is it really) I was down to the ground and stuff on the sidewalk in less then 30 minutes. The police wouldn’t open the streets yet so a group of us artists went to get dinner. After dinner my street looked great. I tell you it really makes a difference when you have a group of artists in a block that know what they are doing and are considerate of each other. Got the van right in front of my stuff and loaded up the tent and the walls, which was basically all I had left. The cargo van had a good echo going on.
Last thing to say about this show, in case you hadn’t heard, the weather over the weekend was PERFECT! I can’t imagine it being any better. I can’t wait for next year.