Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Columbus, IN is a sweet little town about 45 minutes south of Indianapolis and is known for its wealth of architecturally significant buildings, both vintage and new. So it seems like a perfect place for an art fair.
For many years the show has been held the same weekend as Penrod, a Saturday-only monster of a show also in Indiana. The Columbus folks apparently decided to quit fighting the beast and changed their date to three months earlier. Having done so, now the location on the streets of the charming downtown wasn't available for the new dates, so the venue was also changed to a beautiful park on the outskirts of downtown. The show went on, and on this particular weekend the temps were well into the 90s with suffocating humidity and not a single shade tree in the show area. Thus the perfect storm occurred.
The organizers did a good job of coordination and planning. The guy in charge is a show-going photographer himself, so to my mind the little details like set-up hours, driving to the booth to unload and load, quality of art, etc were done well well. Best, I have to say, were the indoor artist-only restrooms with incredibly soothing ac cranked up to a luxurious level. Ahhhh.
But the show just couldn't overcome the perfect storm. Very few shoppers appeared. Everyone's sales were dismal. It was what it was. I did meet some delightful customers, however, so that was the shining light for me.
To his credit, the organizer took it hard and said he would be soliciting artist input by email in a few days, in addition to meeting with the board to discuss changes for next year. If I had to guess, the location was too remote ... when you're downtown, people who didn't know about the show have the opportunity to trip over you and slow down for a look ... to be able to overcome the other obstacles.
This was my first time doing the Columbus show and, in spite of this year's problems, I think I would actually try the show again. They get it, so it's just a matter of getting all the pieces in the right places.