Art Fair Insiders

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

Bayou City Memorial park 2014 Observations

Well, the Bayou City Art Fair is now over and it is my time to do my best at writing a review. This is not about the controversy discussed in other forums because that has been overdone and is past news. This is about the time from load in to load out and all that I experienced during the time in between.

Carol and I arrived Wednesday afternoon and had a scheduled load in time at 10am Thursday morning. This gave us time to get to Houston and go to the artist check in on Wednesday ...better than trying to deal with the traffic to check in early Thursday prior to load in.

Thursday morning we arrived at the park and drove right in and unloaded the van with no problem. Hardly anyone there at that time. The weather forecasts were predicting rain and thunderstorms but they never happened while we were in the park.

After setting up we had lunch, went to a movie, went to a shopping mall and then had a late dinner before relaxicating back at the apartment. The weather on TV kept predicting more rain and thunderstorms for Friday but fortunately they never happened. It was overcast and chilly most of Friday morning up until around 1 or 2 pm and the crowds were extremely sparse.  It was the slowest Friday I can remember.

This did give me a chance to walk around the park and visit with some artist friends and check out the additional tents along the back loop. I am not aware of how many artists signed up at the last minute to take advantage of the reject specials...but there was a lot of room available.   I did see quite a few empty spaces...I don't know if they were supposed to be tents there of just open space. It seemed like there were more rented tents than last know the tents with the big pointed tops, scalloped overhangs and the big jugs used for weights that no artist is likely to carry along with them.

Most people I talked with said their sales were nonexistent or weak on Friday.

 Fortunately for us a good customer from 2 years ago came by..he said he came there just to see us... and made a nice purchase...I also received a commission from a new customer that said he had seen my work on the TV station that morning...I didn't even know it was on TV...but thank you TV station...! So Friday made our day even though it was a very empty park.

Saturday's crowds were much better and the weather was beautiful all day long.  I don't have any idea how sales were for others because I rarely left my tent during the day except to go to the portapisser. I did see a few people carrying flat packages wrapped up, so obviously some paintings/photography were selling. People were also walking by carrying the Birdhouses on a copper I believe the birdhouse guy did just fine.

Sunday was also a beautiful weather day and the crowds were out and steady. Many people said this was the first weekend in a while that the weather was so nice...and they were definitely out to walk in the park, if nothing else.  If I could pay the bills with compliments I could retire.

We made some nice sales but the last time we did the show two years ago we had even better sales. As with any show some are better than others financially. We didn't make a bundle but we didn't do bad after expenses. I stopped by one of the local hardwood lumber yards Monday morning before heading back to Prairieville and recycled some of the money I made

I sure hope everyone else had  good sales and experiences..

The volunteer staff was always walking around and there was no shortage of water, sodas or snacks.  One judge came by our tent Friday morning for a minute. I am not sure if there were other judges...couldn't tell ya. I am not sure who won the awards or when it was announced.

Load out was much easier than I expected. We originally planned to pack up everything and then go have a relaxed dinner prior to coming back around 10pm to load up the van. After all was packed up I noticed it was not a traffic jam, so I got my van and easily drove right up to where my booth was and loaded her up with still enough daylight to see . We were outa there by 7:45...  

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Comment by Greg Little on April 6, 2014 at 10:56am

Connie, I imagined you did get the recycle comment...I joke so very much and always have so much fun and try not to take anything seriously...and sometimes some people cannot differentiate between joking and not

Comment by Connie Mettler on April 6, 2014 at 7:49am

(Greg, I did get the joke. My favorite method of recycling.)

Comment by Greg Little on April 5, 2014 at 5:07pm

I saw those cheezy bows and arrows with the foam tips and I didn't realize someone was selling them. I thought that was something the kids were making at the children's tent. obviously not...!

Comment by Weldon Lee on April 5, 2014 at 12:37pm

Wish I could I could have met you too, Greg. I love a good gumbo.

Comment by Weldon Lee on April 5, 2014 at 12:34pm

I would like to add that the quality and diversity of art that we saw was very good. Having said that, there was one minor exception . . . a booth selling bows, arrows (with foam points), and tepees. Not exactly art, but since the kids loved it, it was fine with me.

Comment by Greg Little on April 5, 2014 at 11:52am

Hello Weldon,

I wish I would have had the opportunity to meet you and visit while at the show. I only had a chance to walk around a bit on Friday and take in the sights. I am glad you did alright. Wish I would have known about James Coney Island because a good eatin" referral is always nice. I brought some home made gumbo with we didn't suffer from lack of good food the first night.

Comment by Weldon Lee on April 5, 2014 at 11:16am

Lori and I returned from Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park on Thursday. Having traveled from Allenspark, Colorado (near Estes Park), it was quite a drive for us. However, we combined it with a visit to see my oldest son and his family who live in Tyler, so it wasn't so bad. This was our first time doing this show. In fact, we were wait-listed and barely made it in. I though we would be notified by email should they take is off the "wait" list. Wrong. I just happened to go to my ZAPP page the day before the deadline for accepting the invitation. I now check it every day.

Load-in and set-up for us was easy. Based on my limited experience doing shows, it seems that the secret for easy load-ins and load-outs is to arrive early and be willing to be one of the last to leave. So far, it's worked for me, especially since we're slow setting up and tearing everything down anyway. We were a little concerned since our load-in time was 1 to 2 PM on Wednesday, and the earliest check-in time at the hotel was also 1 PM. Fortunately, the times were not as critical as it would appear and no one came by to see if we had moved our truck and trailer. We were able to partially erect our tent and get everything under it before the rain began. Wet and tired, we decided the best plan of action would be to return early Thursday and finish setting up . . . which we did. It rained Thursday night while we were dining on hot dogs and chili in a nearby James Coney Island.

I've got to mention here that Colorado has been my home since 1998. However, I was born and raised in Houston. As a result, I was first introduced to James Coney Island at their original downtown location when I was seven years old and I've been addicted to their gastronomical delights ever since. I'll be 77 in a few months. So, whenever I'm in Houston, it's important that I get another "fix."

As Greg reported, Saturday WAS slow, not only for us, but for everyone we talked too. I'm not sure, but I believe our tent was on, what some referred too, as the back side. In any event, Memorial Drive was only a stone's throw behind our tent. The reason I mention that is because Saturday crowds were huge in our area all day long, with only short periods of slow-down. Sunday morning, as you might expect, was slow. Afternoon crowds were good, but nowhere equaled those of Saturday. As for sales, we did good. Short of what we had hoped for, but still alright.

We made several new friends while there. Holly Sue Floss (from Minnesota) and her infectious laugh was one booth away from ours. It was great meeting Ann London and her husband from the New Orleans area. I love Ann's painting of African wildlife. I also loved their tent setup. I was first introduced to her work at the Cherry Creek Festival last year in Denver. Unfortunately, we didn't meet any AFIers.

Volunteers were constantly coming through our area with water, soda pop, and snacks. As for Lori and I, we liked the snacks. We'll be headed back to Texas in a few weeks for the Cottonwood Art Festival Spring.  A week after its over, we'll be leading a wildlife photography workshop on the Santa Clara Ranch near Rio Grande City in the Valley.

Comment by Christina L. Towell on April 3, 2014 at 9:17am

Great commentary and critique of what sounds like a pretty cool show...I love your work and enjoyed seeing your booth shot. Thanks for sharing such a well-written and informative review.

Comment by margo stamp on April 2, 2014 at 3:39pm

I know there was no discount. The quotations were placed around your quote. Was not aware if you knew that. I had no problem paying the same as anyone else because I did not feel like a reject, only someone given a second chance in a show I have been turned down for multiple times.

Comment by Greg Little on April 2, 2014 at 3:25pm
Margo, they did not give any special discount prices to anyone coming in at the last minute and that is one of several reasons for all of the controversy. No location guarantees sales just as nothing guarantees acceeptance into the show. I have had more rejects from juries that I like to think about and have had good and bad sales at shows I got into. If we can ever figure it out the money will flow...but who has figured it out?

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