Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
I know that just about everyone, with some exception, has had a down year and, for some, Tempe was just a continuation of that trend. For me, thankfully, it was "okay". The bottom line is I didn't lose money but didn't make much either. I made about the same at the spring show. Read between the lines, this show is not making a lot of money for some artist/attendees.
The administration of this show has changed hands since spring. Kate Borders, President / Executive Director of Downtown Tempe Authority, is the new director of the show. Didn't she come from the Peoria, IL show? As is the case, when there is new leadership there are changes and so was the case with the fall show. Most of the changes were barely imperceptible especially to the audience. For those of us who are veterans of this show some of the changes were very noticeable. The artist hospitality was moved to the shows headquarters about a block and a half north of their previous location, what was wrong with the old place? Not too bad for those of us at 5th and above. I felt bad for anyone wanting to have coffee or a snack from 5th south as they had a much further hike. The arrows that were chalked onto the sidewalk from the old location showing where the new location was seemed to go on forever! I hope Linda wasn't too lonely.
Next, and certainly not least in importance, Porta Potties! There used to be at least 4 of them located near the old artist hospitality area. This year there were only two, until Sunday morning when there was only one and this one was over full and seemed not to have been serviced over night as they usually have been. I wonder what it was like at other areas where they usually stage these things?
Artists reception. Okay, it's not required that a show have one, it's a perk for the artists. Usually this reception was held in a large open area near the beer and wine garden so there is a lot of room for the artists as-well-as good eats and 2 free drinks. This year the reception/awards reveal was held at 5th and Mill, upstairs, in the already overly-crowded-with-regular-diners restaurant. There were still the tickets for 2 free drinks but alas, there was no nicely catered dinner as was usually the case for this show. The "bites" that were served turned out to be herb spiced french fries and maybe something else that looked like pizza stuff on pita bread, was there anything else? Needless to say, by the time I found out they were being served and got there all was gone, you know artists + free food= nothing if yer late!
The awards reveal was probably about the same, too loud to hear anything so wait till the next day to find out in the daily newsletter. Oh, no newsletter. Okay, most of the time it didn't include much more than was already known but it did include load out info. This last item was covered in an email which, if I didn't just happen to be checking my phone for who-knows-what I would have missed it. Included in it was info on load out which, by the way, seemed to be better organized than in previous years and made for a fairly orderly departure with it taking no more time than I usually take to depart similar venues and the aforementioned awards winners (see separate post for that info).
Speaking of too loud. The "music" was too loud and there was too much of it concentrated in one area. I've not been in this particular location of the show before so I don't know if this is what usually takes place here. Was it a new thing that they had a music stage in an amphitheatre like location that amplified the music and sent it out through canyons of buildings to drowned out conversation? In addition to the end cap musician and the children's banging on instruments area nearby. Some adjustment to this seems in order.
It's not a big deal but wouldn't a show organizer want to meet and greet? It just seems like a nice thing to do. Okay, I'll admit that there is a lot to do with organizing these events. The previous administrator got out and said hello to the artists and knew their names! I didn't meet Kate but one of the staff members described what she looked like to me.
Speaking of staff...this is not new to this show just ongoing. Booth sitters were nowhere to be seen but in all fairness you were given a phone number to call if you needed one. I saw a few young people with red T-Shirts that said "Volunteer" on the back, were they the booth sitters? Hard to know because they were just roaming the streets with no apparent agenda. What were they volunteering to do? I've got an issue with all shows that say you can call for a booth sitter. Sometimes, the need to evacuate your booth comes on quickly, calling and waiting for a booth sitter is just not practical. I've had to rely on my fellow artist/neighbors for quick comfort and fortunately had nice neighbors for this show. Thank you, you know who you are.
This falls show must have had a gazillion jewelers, well, I exaggerate some but it did seem as though and in some cases actually was, a jewelry booth every other booth no lie!( two categories; fine (37), and ornamental (38), what's the difference it's all ornamental!) So out of approximately 350 artists 21% were jewelers, I'm sure they were not happy with those kinds of odds. I had two different jewelers on either side of me. Let it be known that high end was not selling anywhere near me. The "fine" jeweler next to me 0/out with high end stuff and the jeweler to my east who had more variety and price points wasn't very happy either but was selling...some.
Okay, so it's easy to point out flaws and, in all fairness, the show went along fairly smoothly. In the morning the usual coffee/water cart came by, which I appreciate. There were goodies in the aforementioned artist hospitality area. Load in and out went smoothly, we can only wish it would do the same at all shows. The crowds were actually crowds but alas were spending frugally that part is NOT the job of the promoter/organizer.
If your looking for the nuts and bolts about this show please see my previous reviews as not much has changed.