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

Just got conscious from the drive back from Boulder City, NV and the Art In The Park show. This was a first time show for me, thought I'd look into something different in a new location in the same time slot as the Annual Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival which I did last year and despite Sunshine Artists giving it a high rating was a bust for me and I didn't see many other artists selling there either. Makes me wonder how Sunshine rates shows but that's a thought for another time...Boulder City grew up in the shadow of the Hoover Dam project in 1931-1935 (used to be called Boulder Dam but they changed it, there was a song about the change and how disappointed they were). Anyway, Boulder City is a quaint little town with a funky historic district which has a Palm Springs/Scottsdale feel to it. Lots of old buildings, motels, antique shops and restaurants but I digress. Art in the Park is the major fund raiser for the Boulder City Hospital and takes place in three grassy park areas and on the street which divides them. Two of the parks contain crafts, which, as reported by visitors to my tent were mostly "buy/sell and other junk". The street in-between had a lot of food vendors and the larger of the three parks, Wilbur, had the fine arts which to me seemed a mixed bag of stuff. When I arrived I found that my booth was directly behind a park bench which basically said, "don't enter". The two artists who were already there informed me that Wendy Adams, the Community Events Manager knew about the issue and that I should see her. I found her and she and her assistant were very accommodating about moving me to another spot of my choosing (there were a lot of empty available spots on their map) on the other side of the park. According to several artists this show is not in its old glory, apparently there were many more booth spots in previous years that were not filled this year. Sorta like "you should've been here last year!" Load in was easy from the streets surrounding the park all day Friday prior to the show and with near 100 degree temperatures we needed it! I thought late September early October would be a little cooler! After setting up the tent we had to take a break as it was getting too hot, after lunch, a swim in the hotel pool and a little nap (it was a long drive there) we came back later and set up the art. Artists were still loading in late in the afternoon/evening. Saturday morning arrived with a 9:00 open time and the people started to arrive locally and brought in by the bus load from Las Vegas and nearby Henderson. With some recent shows I've noticed the crowds thin considerably near the end of the day but there were still decent numbers of folks walking around at the 5 pm close time. After frying our brains in the high 90's weather all day I wasn't waiting around for the stragglers to close my booth. Besides which the buying crowd was not buying. It wasn't until Sunday that people seemed to be more serious about purchasing but even then they were few and far between. Some large pieces walked out but I saw a lot of artists with a lot of spare time. I sell traditional B&W photography with hand-colored images and my sales came in the afternoon on Sunday but were not enough to make this a "must do" show. Load-out was about as easy as load-in with plenty of space to drive up to the park after I had everything packed and stacked. So, licking my wounds I left Boulder City behind with a question mark as to whether I would go so far in order to make so little.

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Comment by Robert Leuallen on October 10, 2011 at 1:50am
Art Festivals seem to be getting "Walmartized," everyday low prices on lots of great China stuff. An artist friend who had done this show for a number of years, did well, but quit couple years ago because of what you are describing. Perhaps another one will hit the dust.
Comment by Ruth Finkenbiner on October 5, 2011 at 3:42pm
Thanks for the reviews, we had considered this one along with the Genoa Candy Dance this year but were warned against it by other artists from the Pacific NW that it wasn't worth the drive.
Comment by steve appel on October 4, 2011 at 8:18pm

 Well someone beat me to it.   This is my 18th year of doing a show that used to be great, and not that expensive.   Now it is just an ok show and  expensive.   First the fee for show is 425.00,  jury fee  is 50.00 till april 15, then each month after that it goes up 50.00 each month till Sept when jury fee is 150.00   In order to do the show every year you HAVE to give a donation. It is Mandetory  This year if you wanted your packet you had to give the donation first.  I always thought a donation was something you wanted to give not a mandetory thing.   

Set-up was rather easy for me since booth was right on edge of curb.  But others had to haul their work in from quite a distance.   I called the director about something earlier in the week and to my surprise was told I had to haul my work in from outside a parking lot that we usually use for unloading cause a car manufacturer had bought out the lot.  The was a 50 ft. trailer right in front of the park, in parking lot, there were new cars parked all over the lot.  I figured it was going to a pain but was rather easy.  So load-in was a breeze and load-out was the same.  The guys that setup show for car manufacturer were great to work with,  but i doubt whether they will return.  I believe that the director of the show was the biggest problem telling us could not bring vans into parking lot till 5:30.

Most of us were loading at 4:45  it was a breeze.

 I found that the show was somewhat crowded in the park that i was in.Saturday was more crowded than Sunday this being a two day event.  The weather i agree was toasty but it beat the wind and rain they had the year before.   I did fairly well,  a little down from past years, but vegas is depressed so the news says.   In the past, customers used to come at 7 am to start buying.  Not this year.   Also they had free parking with free shuttle.  Lately parking is free but shuttle is $4.00 and some people had to wait an hour and 1/2 in line,  in the heat, just to get on shuttle.   Heard they cut back expenses and the shuttle was one of the cutbacks.. 

The jeweler next to me had the worst show she has had in years.  Spoke with three artists around me said they would not return in 2012.  There were a lot of unhappy artist at this show, and a lot of empty spaces.

I wrote a review last year and the biggest problem with this show it is loaded with buy/sell.  Dog harnesses,  there were at least 2 booths of painted nail files,  One booth with the files was pulling puppets probably imported out of plastic packages before the show opened.    There was a booth of $2.00 jewelry who literally took up 1/2 the park i was in.  Last year I emailed the director and was told the buy/sell was going to be dealt with.  Well this year there was more.  This show used to have high quality work in it.   I looked forward to seeing all my friends.  I saw a few but a good percentage have dropped this show.  This year they only had around 300 booths as compared to 500 they used to have.

There are actually 4 parks that this show covers,  Wilbur (fine art), Bicentennial (crafts ), North Escalante (crafts) South Escalante ( crafts)  The craft parks are loaded with buy/sell.  There were a lot of empty spaces in the fine art park, and in S. Escalante Park.   Years ago when i was doing the show the parks were loaded with booths.  Now not so much. 

The rumor i heard over dinner was they wanted to cut back, well they cut back on the shuttle service and now are charging.  2 buses instead of 6 and customers were waiting an hour to get onto the shuttle.

There used to be all these amenities  we were given t-shirts, coffee in the morning.  Now we get nothing.

There was no booth sitting this year.  had to get neighbors to watch booth while going to the bathrooms.  They did have a lot of portapotties

As far as would i go back,  yes i would, I also have a following of customers,  but if i co

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