Art Fair Insiders

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

I just finished unpacking from the Art Awards Show, in Virginia Beach, VA, and wanted to send a quick report. I was there with a group of volunteers from the Chesapeake Bay Art Association, so my review doesn't reflect any of the artists that had booth space there. We did have a booth for our Association, and sold a few prints there.

The Art Awards Show had the best variety and quality of work that I have seen at an Art Show in a long time. The Artists were all the best if their fields. I think the total number of Artists was 115, and that was just about right for the size of the convention center. The facility was nice, as you'd expect with a relatively new convention center. Lighting was very bright, so lights in the booth were not really needed. Load in and load out seemed to go well, especially considering there were events in other parts of the center that were also loading and unloading. After a number of booths were cleaned out, the remaining artists could drive into the convention center to load up.

The crowd was a lot thinner than was hoped for. This event had originally been planned for the end of January, but snow forced a date change. A lot of the advertising punch was lost with the date change. I also understand there was a problem with the local papers failing to print the advertisements in the Sunday supplements.

One other problem with the crowds, is that the public did not know the quality that was in the show. This was the first real Art Show held inside in this area in a long time, and the locals are not used to paying admission to see a great show. They also expected to see the same mix of artists and quality that is common with the local shows. The guests that I talked to were amazed by the quality of work being show. Figuring out how to get that message across for future shows will be the trick that makes this show a real winner. I'm looking forward to their next show in Richmond.

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