Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Hello Art Show Family! This intrepid artist is back from Florida and ready to review my second set of shows for the Florida winter season. First, I'll dish about Artigras in Jupiter and then Suart's Arts Fest.
I decided to try Artigras vice Coconut Grove for several reasons, but primarily my personal objection to outrageous booth fees (CG) and the desire to try something new. The set up at Artigras was deliciously unscripted- but it worked. The wide lanes for traffic and parking and an all day window put me in a relaxed frame of mind before I even drove up to my check in gate. The signage getting to the different gates were plentiful and easy to follow, btw, adding to the relaxation. So when I need to move my rental minivan a little to the left, a little to the right, front a bit, back a bit for the artists around me, I really didn't mind!
I found the check in packet good (I always read the materials) with only one confusing part-- artist parking. I must admit, I followed the lead of a few old timers near me and parked nearer to my booth than the mysteriously hard to find artist lot.
I was disappointed the trailer bathrooms were not reserved for artists only, and as I was alone at the show, I loved the "text for a booth sitter" feature. Morning breakfast staff were gracious, even if I think they had the same bagels out each successive morning. Hey-- free food is better than no food! (I have to give Beaux Arts better points for breakfast overall, maybe the best breakfast in the winter Florida season. #forReal)
I absolutely loved that the volunteers delivered lunch to the booth daily-- Thank you Jersey Mike's subs!!! I did not win an award, but the trumpeting and fan fare made it obvious that awards were being given out. Bravo! The show rained out on Monday, but I made $300 for the day- so I guess I had an excellent day based on other reviews. Load out was easy and it was a pleasant experience for the show overall.
Ok, Ok, thanks for the logistics chat-- but "how were sales???" you'd like to know. I'm a jewelry artist and find my normal price lately has been $150-$225, but average sales tickets at Artigras were $100-$115, most frequent price point being around $85. For me, the magic multiplier price point is the $200 & up sale and those were few and far between. I worked hard for sales and have hope that exposure to my work will drive eshop sales later in the year.
Overall, it was a solid show and maybe in the long term it would average higher than normal. I was able to keep lodging costs low and the booth fee was lower than CG. There seemed a lesser degree of sophistication in the buying population overall, not to mention the excitement factor of Jupiter vs Miami. In my secret artist's heart I missed Miami.
Stuart Arts Fest was my two-fer show. With teenagers at home, I cannot make a 7 week Florida swing, so I plan tactical two-fer strikes allowing me to spread travel costs across two shows and limit the unpredictable weather factor we deal with every weekend.
It was a pretty small show; although staff refused to answer exactly how many booths were in the show. I'm guessing 100 booths. There was some great work there-- it makes sense on a Florida swing. However, there were 27+ jewelers. YUCK! Most of the work was nice, but please limit your categories, Stuart, it doesn't work out with more than 15%-20% of any one category. There were 5 potters, maybe 3 sculptors, a few mixed media-- get the picture?
Load in was confusing and I had an issue with the gates not being open on Sunday morning, but the greatest success they had as a show was the LOAD OUT PASS. I love it when a show does that!! Come on-- we're professionals, right? Break your booth down THEN get your car and if we can't be trusted to do it that way, then the show needs to step in and take in on board.
Breakfast was donated by a bagel shop down the street and we got to go in and pick out the bagels and what we wanted on them-- with a drink-- almost a princess moment. It was a small town touch and extremely nice. Sales were low with less than mediocre buying energy, but I tripled expenses and I had wholesale business at the show (it's always a nice surprise when that happens).
I enjoyed being able to spend time with customers as only a small, slower paced show allows. I would not plan the Stuart show as a stand alone show-- it is definitely not worth it, but it's an ok, non big promoter show for the time frame for a traveling artist.
That wraps Florida up for me-- Scottsdale, AZ is next and I'll post a blog/review about it in March. Good luck out there, everyone!