Art Fair Insiders

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

Finished by Cottonwood, Another One Bites the Dust!

Now that Cottonwood is done and on the books and I'm semi-recumbant I'll put in the details.

This was not a first time show for me as I've done it a few times now and generally, it's been trending upwards. So, it was with some thoughts of hope and trying I returned to the DFW metroplex and after all Nels had such a glowing report about FW last week I was feeling pretty positive! The weather the weekend prior to this show was pretty bad in the Dallas area and I figured people would want to get out and see the art. They did get out in big numbers but maybe they were only there to see the art and not buy so much. So, first the facts:

Show Hours and Dates: Cottonwood Arts Festival, Richardson, TX. May 2 - 3. 10-7 Sat, 10-5 Sun,


The show is set up in Cottonwood Park in Richardson, TX, a NE suburban area of Dallas. They started allowing artists to come in and set-up on Thursdays which is a big help as the one road into the park gets exceedingly congested if you wait till Friday. They let "big rigs" in around 11 or 12 and others at 3. I showed up too early at 3 and waited in line till 5. I usually show up at 5 on Thursday and get in with very little wait time. I also noted that on Friday they now have parking on BeltLine road which is something new. This is not a show for type "A's" as far as load-in and load-out is concerned. You need to be patient and play well with others!


Lots of water,  snacks and volunteer booth sitters for the occasional break. Additionally, the show hosted a great dinner on Friday night. The snacks seem to be something they didn't have before and it is growing! The local Boy Scouts 1001 come out to help by donation with loading and they are well supervised.

Storage, Booth Space, Load-In/Out:

Booths are a generous 13 x 13 so there is plenty of space on the sides if you cooperate with your neighbor for a side opening and plenty of space behind for storage. Tip: Good idea to keep your boxes, etc. in back of the tent for quicker pack-up!

Demographics/Buying Trends:

This was a slow show. I had noticed that the show was trending upwards for me over the last several years but did not continue that trend this year. Not to say there weren't lots of people. This show has, in my experience, always had a good turn out, except for the first year I did it when a large cold front moved in and the weather hovered around 50! People seemed to be buying my low end ($25) and mid range ($85-95) but not enough to make this even an "average" show.

Quality/Range of Art:

This was a very tight show in terms of quality. Maybe a few booths were not up to the same level as the rest but those were the exceptions. The quality of art at this show has always been pretty consistent. I hope it stays that way!


Lots of variety; the usual "fair" food and some nicer food trucks. It seems to be a newer thing that these gourmet food trucks are at the shows now. They offer a much nicer selection then the usual gyro or foot long corn dog.


This was not a  first time show for me and although it didn't go so well this year I'd still consider doing it as the quality is good and they take good care of the artists. It is a nice validation of ones work to be selected for this show as the quality is so good.

Okay, now for the Dave Piper star rating! I'd give this show ✩✩✩✩ out of 5 and that is because of the nice job of logistics by the volunteers, great amenities, booth sitting, etc. As far as the buying goes, I'd give it half ✩. This was the fifth show I have done this year, the first three were stinkers and Bayou was not so great either!

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Comment by S Brian Berkun on May 13, 2015 at 1:15pm

Too late for that Jeff!  LOL

Comment by JEFF LEEDY on May 12, 2015 at 4:53pm

Serri Ayers is OK by me. Genuine and caring and good follow through. The show buyers are numerous but sales are spotty. My read is that , get ready now, the whole art show climate has changed. People who bought at art shows in the last 25 years now have full walls and need no new art (unless they are decorating home #3 or #4).So what do they buy? Functional stuff and gifts and jewelry (come Armageddon, women will still be buying jewelry and shoes). Sure some high end stuff still sells but that is a low percentage of buyers. Very low. The middle class can no longer afford "whims" or "wouldn't that be nce?" Gift items do OK if the price is under $100 or even lower. And what are the milennials buying? Damn if I know. One artist friend I met at Cottownwood last year said, "He just has to do more shows to keep his income up because he can't afford to quite and wouldn't know what to do with himself anyway." A sad reality.

May I suggest you marry rich?


Comment by Jacki Bilsborrow on May 11, 2015 at 10:28pm

Brian, I hope your next show makes up for the ones you have done so far.  You are due for a big sell out.

Thanks for your review.

Comment by S Brian Berkun on May 11, 2015 at 1:41pm

Susan, First of all artist opinions are just that, opinions, and there are a lot of them, not worth a dime when it comes to figuring why a show is the way it is. It is what it is, mostly serendipitous! I couldn't have possibly saturated the market as this is only the 3rd time I've been to Houston and the last two times the show was not that well visited! That being said...It is what it is, or, as Popeye said, "I Yam what I Yam, heh heh heh heh heh!"

Comment by Susan Parry on May 11, 2015 at 11:40am

Thank you for the thoughtful review. I've never done a Texas show and wondered which one to try first (assuming I get in). Wonder why the buying energy was down. Economy? Have you talked to other artists there to get their opinions? Do you think you might have saturated your market or do enough new people come through each year that see you for the firs time? It could just be a fluke too.

Comment by B. David Kay on May 11, 2015 at 11:38am

Dave, what I get from your review is that if you don't want to sell anything but hang around with other artists and enjoy the amenities then this is the show for you.  LOL

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