Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
I have done more than 1500 of these art soirées.
This one I have done off and on since the 1980s. Usually this is a decent show, can usually turn $1500-$2K but not this year.
I will say right up front that this is a perfect show for Lowend crafters and art on the stick people.
Fine artists will struggle here because the crowd does not give a rats ass about it.
That said, I will dwell further on the particulars as only Nels does.
BTW, for our newbies, I am a photographer who does mostly handcolored black and white images of iconic people, think Christopher Walken. I do some color too. But I stand out from the herd with my work and I always make money. Been doing it 46 years. Not many artists out there can claim that.
So pay attention, I may give you some very valuable data, or I will at least make you laugh.
How I spent a fun filled weekend in scenic Cape Coral Florida.
CC is located across the water from Ft. Myers. It is nothing like Ft. Myers.
I bet Thomas Edison never set one foot there. He was too busy flitting with fireflies at his estate.
This is a long running show put on by the local Rotary.
They have their act together and do their best to make this well oiled machine that works for the artists.
There are 300 booths in the juried area. Then there are another 100 plus booths in an area deemed fit for buy sell and commercial.
Juried artists pay $450 for a booth, the commercial pay $600.
Those Rotarians know how to make money.
This is what you get for your investment.
A two day festival with booth setup after 8pm on Friday. Bring flashlights.
Otherwise, do as many do and show up early Sat. Morn and setup before show start at 10am.
You get a 10x10 spot with ample rear storage.
They give you a free feed at checkin—meatballs, corn dogs and sweet stuff plus a really cheap bar for drinks. Not bad.
They have security and boothsitters, they give out good awards.
They are polite and actually listen to artists and their needs.
They deliver huge dog-walking crowds, some actually spend money on what we display.
I know lots of artists who do very well here, they come back year after year and have $5K shows.
I am not one of them.
The people that come love art on the stick, they go nuts over it.
They love paintings with seashells on them— and more so,love the paintings where the seashells are glued onto them.
They love cliches up the yingyang.
Any work with water, fish and, or birds is a winner.
OK Nels, how did the show go this year?
Well, it sucked for me, I almost fell asleep in my booth both afternoons.
But, my neighbor to the left, who sells stained glass items that have nautical theme was wrapping work all day Saturday and half the day on Sunday.
My neighbor to the right sells watercolor scenes, Many with mermaids. She had a strong Sat. Morn. Got lots of return customers thru her mail list.
All day long I saw ceramic butterflys on a stick go flying by me. Usually, three at a time.
Stuff made of white vinyl crap flew by me.
So let me tell you about Cape Coral. We are talking geographics and demographics.
In the 1950s, people like the Mackle Brothers got to develope whole low cost communities around water,saltwater.
This was before environmental regs were in effect.
They would buy up acres of land near the gulf, then dredge and make canals in the land that ran out to the gulf. They sold a two bedroom house with a carport on a canal for $12,000.
They made a killing.
Cale Coral was one of these places.
For people from New York And Jersey who could not afford to join their buddies down in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale this was the perfect place.
Then, when the Recession hit, this was a prime spot that a lot of Germans invested, land on water, cheap.
The ultimate American dream.
Most who live here are not concerned with good art. I saw plenty of women at the show wearing Michael Kors bags who would not spend $30 for a photo that they said they absolutely loved.
So in summation, this is what you have to ask yourself if you are thinking of doing this show.
I am going to have at least $1000 in expenses to do it(booth, gas, food lodging).
Do I have low price points, is my work relevant.
If so, then I will give you one more Nels benefit.
The first Tequila Report of 2020 and it is in Cape Coral.
For newbies, my Tequila Report is always a review of my favorite bar or restaurant at the show.
So first TR 2020– The Redfish Point Garden And Grille Restaurant.
This place is right behind the Holiday Inn.
Finally, somebody brought a little bit of class to Cape Coral.
They have ample outside dining areas under umbrellas and oak trees. They have an outside bar
The main building is divided with a courtyard seating area around two walled areas, one ha the main bar and the kitchen.
They serve delicious food priced reasonably, and they give a liberal pour at the bar.
The first nite I had a petite Delmonico steak withs vegs and a salad for $22. It melted in your mouth.
Sunday nite, I had the redfish, grilled to perfection with a great sauce and vegs with a salad. This was $28, and worth it.
Check it out.
Well, there is my first blog of the year. This weekend I do Sebastian, on my coast. Report coming.
I have a strong schedule.
Next, will be Images, in New Smyrna, then Ft. Myers, then Sanibel, then Gasparilla (Tampa), Then Vero Beach, Then WINTER PARK, then Bayou City, Houston, then Woodlands, Houston, finally, Mainsail, St. Petersburg,Fl.
I could make some serious moola.
Not bad for 46 years, they all have been fun.