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Bayou City Art Festival Downtown Houston TX

We are driving from Houston as I write this on our way to New Orleans to enjoy some good food and drinks after finishing up two Texas shows. The Houston show was this past weekend. It was very impressive that the organizers and the city were able to not only go on with the show but to do it up to the standards of past events. If you didn’t know about Harvey you never would have guessed the city had been hit so hard. Downtown for the most part looked just fine. Our booth is in-front of city hall and the only thing we noticed was that the bottom basement level was gutted since it had been flooded and the electric for rent bike racks were down and empty.

Carrie did an amazing job keeping us all updated before during and after Harvey. Running a show like Bayou is already a difficult enough job but this year Carrie and her team did a stellar job inspite of all the challenges.

There was a LOT of talk amongst artists on wether or not to go to Bayou. I believe the majority of us who went wanted to support the city and the show. The city and people of Houston are very resilient and bouncing back but they are not there yet. The people also came out to support the show and everyone was ready to enjoy getting back to normal. Almost everyone we talked to in Houston, at the show and around the city, told us they made it through with out too much damage but many of them were dealing with survivors guilt. The people were ready to get back to enjoying life and attending things like an art show but mentally it didn’t feel like they were ready to start indulging in art.

Now for the review of the actual show. The show is on the city streets in Downtown Houston. On Friday you check in at a hotel near the show starting around 11 am but set up starts in the evening. There is an artist parking lot you can use all weekend. This is very helpful in a downtown setting with a ton of oversized vehicles. You can start lining up at 6pm and they begin letting cars in after 8 pm when the streets are closed and cleared. Booths are across each other on wide streets. Almost every booth has lots of storage in the back.

The show runs Saturday and Sunday 10-6. It is a gated show with entrance fee. The crowds were steady all weekend with exception of Saturday afternoon once the Astros started playing. There was still a decent amount of people that day.

It was HOT AND HUMID Saturday. I was impressed that anyone showed up on Saturday. At the end of the show I had never been more excited to be staying at a hotel with a pool. That was the best feeling being able to jump in the pool after a looong hot humid day and get the core temp back down.

Sunday was warm but tolerable. Both Saturday and Sunday mornings seemed to be the time the serious shoppers were out looking. There were packages walking out and people on a mission for art work. Most of the people I talked to had decent shows. Not killer shows but almost everyone made some money. There were just a handful I talked to that just made expenses and a good friend did 5 figures. We were very happy with our sales considering. The patrons thanked us for coming over and over again.

Tear down same old same old. Break down get a pass wait in line. It really started cooling off at break down and got windy. It took a little longer then usual to get out because of the wind but the streets are wide and it moves fast for a city show. We dollied out. After break down we had a delivery and the patron had 6 artist deliveries scheduled that evening. It was great to run into some of our artist friends at one of the coolest homes in Houston.

The artist are treated pretty good at this show. I don’t think I have ever been offered more iced bottle waters and snack at a show before. There is an art pick up booth. Larger items can be dropped off at the booth and held for patrons to come pick up later. This is very convenient to have at a gated city show. Tons of volunteers for booth sitting. For those of you who prefer to not eat festival food plan to pack some food. Downtown stores and restaurants pretty much shut down for the weekend. Hotel restaurants and food at the festival is your only choice unless you bring your own. We really enjoy Houston and the Bayou show. Can’t wait to return.

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Comment by Connie Mettler on October 23, 2017 at 4:19pm

Great review and I really appreciate the commentary on the buyers and the city too, Melanie.I know we can count on you for the nuts and bolts, but it is good to get this full report. How many times have you done this show? 

Do you usually do it as a road trip with other shows lined up before and after? Where are you off to next?

Comment by Melanie Rolfes on October 23, 2017 at 9:28pm
Connie last year was our first time in Houston, it paired perfectly with the Zapp conference. This year we paired up with Cottonwood in Dallas. Next show is home, Chastain Park but going back to Dallas for the new show Turtle Creek. We are hoping to deliver commission pieces and follow up sales from both cottonwood and Bayou. It’s looking good. We have success doing this in other cities
Comment by Connie Mettler on October 24, 2017 at 3:51pm

That is a nice trail ... it is a bit of a drive from Atlanta to Texas and back but have a feeling you and Michael know what you are doing. You'll have to agree it is a lot easier doing this with a partner rather than alone, isn't it? Norm and I could never have done individually what we were able to do together. There are so many hats to wear in this business, sharing some of them is a definite asset.

Comment by Melanie Rolfes on October 24, 2017 at 8:16pm
We both did it alone for many years. We are stronger together...most of the time:)


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