Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
This was last weekend in downtown Birmingham,Michigan right on the street--Old Woodward Avenue. This show is produced by the Ann Arbor Guild but you do not have to be a member to do it. It is on Zapp.
For the second year in a row, weather killed the attendance on Saturday--rain, until about 3pm. The crowds never showed up even though we still had over three hours to sell. This basically made it a one day show.
A couple of artists that I know made serious money that day. One, a batik painter sold a very expensive piece--the right person came along. The potter behind me sold steadily in spite of the rain. Me, I barely talked to 20 people, I had. $200 day, whoopie!
This is a long-running show, but it is newer now on the street. Originally, it was held in nearby Shain Park (Ironically, they hold their May show in the park, but not this one--go figure), that location was a killer show for most of us for many years.
Also, the Arts n Apples show (nearby Rochester) was the same weekend as Shain Park. Customers would visit both shows and we all made out. Now AA Rochester is a different weekend. For me, the street show has never been a winner, I make a slight paycheck but I cannot even gross 2K there. Others do.
Birmingham is a very wealthy north Detroit suburb. Lots of moola here. They dress very nice and walk around with expensive dogs. Once in a while they buy something. Overall, they are very traditional in their choices of art. They are not my crowd.. I need younger, hipper customers. Not many here.
The show is a typical Guild scrimmy layout. They give you a whopping two feet of common space to share with your rear neighbor. Inventory storage is tricky here. Side to side the booths are squeezed so tight that it is almost impossible to get to a side tarp and roll it up or down. They have plenty of room side to side but they squeeze us all in. The Guild used to be smarter years ago, but the present regime is not as kind. Hey, they do give you cold water. And, they have a tent with the usual goodies for artists. Lots of bananas. OK enough beating up on the Guild. They do an adequate job.
I saw more serious art bought in 3D than 2D. The glass and metal sculptor couple next to me cleaned up on Sunday. Lots of 1K pieces went out of their booth.
Sunday was a beautiful weather day with better crowds and sales were improved. I did almost $1500 then, if I had a similar Saturday this would be a good show. Sales started around noon and petered out by 4pm. Show was over at 5pm. This is one of those shows you just have to try once and see if it is your crowd.
Now, I will give a sort of Tequila Report--The wonders of downtown Pontiac after dark. I can hear the snickers, read on, you might learn something.
For the show I got to stay with good friends who are longtime residents of Pontiac. Since I got to stay free, I took them out for dinner and drinks Saturday. We hit Mitchell's Seafood for dinner in nearby Rochester Hills. Parker and Parker country. After dinner I got a bug up my ass. I said, "show me downtown Pontiac, I have never been there." I was buying drinks, and not driving, they gleefully obliged.
I had this preconception of Pontiac. I figured it was this big industrialized town with great buildings and lots of grit. I know it has fallen on hard times. And, I figured if I got disappointed with Pontiac, then they could take me to downtown Buick or Cadillac. Whatever.
Boy was I wrong. First off, there is no downtown Buick, I guess they sold it off to the Arabs and they made an amusement park out of it. Actually, downtown Pontiac is a very small, compact town. Not much larger than the village of Saugatuck where I live in the summer. There are lots of cool old buildings. It is very walkable, and there are a jillion bars and restaurants there. Granted, many are closed now, but many are on the verge of reopening.
Lots of new lofts and apartments where millenials are inhabiting. They do not have to get in their car. They can easily walk to and easily crawl back. This town is on a comeback. And, as my friends so astutely pointed out, it is at the epicenter of a whole bunch of highways that take you everywhere in a matter of minutes. You have Woodward, Telegraph road (alas, I could not find Dire Straits anywhere, it put me in dire straights) M-59 and I-75 all there. Pontiac has a future.
We did copious shots of Makers Mark at the Liberty Bar and the bill was cheap. Check out Pontiac--but do not go to the Buick Amusement Park.