Art Fair Insiders

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

Downtown Dunedin Craft Show--Howard Alan--How I lost my art show virginity

Well, after doing more than 1500 art shows in 42 years, I finally did my first Howard Alan show.
"Gee Nels, didn't you say they could put the epitaph on your tombstone,'He never did a Howard Alan show'".
Well, times are a changing.
First off, I did three art shows in January with a combined total of over $1200 in booth fees that did not even return me a gross of $5000 for the month.
Second, I had come back rejectedly from Ft. Myers the weekend before. I was supposedly numero uno on the waitlist. I showed up early Saturday morn along with six others. They had one open spot, did not get it because it was by a photographer. As I drove back home to Ybor I stopped for breakfast. On AFRs was a post made on Friday evening where a photographer said he got in off the waitlist that night. So much for being number one. Also a good friend of mine, a well known photographer, mentioned that he had been told he was,too, number one on the waitlist. I guess some of our art show directors do not think we talk about these things on social media. Hmmm, are you reading this missus assistant show director.
Thirdly, I had booth fees due in another 12 days that totaled over $1500.
Oh, and my biz checking account was down to $455.
Nels, please tell us about Dunedin.
Thought you would never ask.
Dunedin was a 30 minute ride from my house in Ybor. So with a booth fee under $300 and no hotel to pay for, "I said, WTF?"
Got there very early and ended up getting a primo spot by the Pinellas bike trail. Had a corner, nice.
Had a great breakfast at Kelly's Restaurant on Main, the avo- veggie omelet with a spicy salsa was killer.
Refreshed and ready, I said, "bring on the crowds."
They came, and came and came--all day.
Sales came with them too. I actually had conversations with people who were looking for art to put in their homes and business offices. How refreshing. I had not had any conversations like this at my previous three shows--Naples, Bonita and New Smyrna.
I sold three nice originals and also a large 30x40.
By 5 pm I was a very happy camper. So we're a lot of other artists. It was a good crowd with energy. Howard delivered the goods.
That night I roomed with my bud, Steve Vaughn at the Pier 60 hotel, high up on the ninth floor with the roof bar just above us. Somehow as only Vaughn can do it, he got us comped there.
We ate wings, quesas and a Cuban sandwich, oh we may have had a few adult beverages. The view was outrageous.
Next morn we arrived early so Mr. Vaughn could get his van into "Position A."
I took him to Kelly's for breakfast, least I could do.
Sunday's crowds were not quite as great as Saturday, and sales were not as substantial.
Overall, it ended up being a good show. Definitely, a ten times the booth fee.
I give HAE productions, especially under Helalyne, major kudos. Sorry if I misspelled her name.
Onto Artigras this weekend, I will give a report.
Later, Gators.

Views: 824

Comment by Joe Edwards on February 15, 2017 at 3:52pm

Great Report. We have done seven Howard Alan Events over the last two years and have always been impressed with their consistency. They advertise their shows and promote the artists! Our sales at these shows fell a bit below what Nels stated, but crowds and sales have been steady at each show.

If you have not done a Howard Allen Event, be forewarned that set up occurs at 3:30 on the morning of the show!

Comment by Nels Johnson on February 15, 2017 at 4:10pm
Correction, Joe, at the craft shows, setup is at 5:30am, this was a craft show.
Comment by Joe Edwards on February 15, 2017 at 7:09pm

Ah, but yes!  We did the craft show in November at Dunedin and set up was 5:30!

Comment by Connie Mettler on February 16, 2017 at 11:40am

I am shocked!! Is the sky still blue? Is Trump still President? 

There was a conversation on here recently about the HA Events. Norm and I did some of them over the years. They are always well promoted, fees are fair, and if they fit your schedule worth a try. They were always part of our Florida schedule. Was Helayne there or were Howard and Debbie?

Comment by Cindy Welch on February 16, 2017 at 1:06pm

Does HA ever schedule anything in Louisiana or Mississippi, craft shows, that is?  I noticed that almost all the current show listings on his website are for Florida, with an occasional one in one of the Carolinas and possibly one other state.  The Florida locations I spot checked are like 11-12 hours driving time for us.  It is hard to commit to a show that far away, never having done one.  I realize there are mixed feelings here at AFI about HA events.  However, I suppose I am trying to find something new (events) to us.  Any comments on shows that HA does that might be closer to Louisiana?  TI/a 

Comment by Connie Mettler on February 16, 2017 at 2:48pm

Nowhere near you, Cindy. Florida mostly but also some in Colorado, Ohio, N. Carolina, Virginia.

Comment by Cindy Welch on February 16, 2017 at 6:35pm

Connie, that is too bad.  Before asking I had looked at his website and thought I might like to try the ACE side of things.  Even if he were in the Florida panhandle, that would only be about a 4 hour drive.  Not too bad in my opinion.  I am sure he has figured out where the $$ is in Florida and had zeroed in on his audience in the cities he's selected.

Comment by Connie Mettler on February 16, 2017 at 9:17pm

Not sure where his ACE events are, Cindy. But the website is probably up to date on that and you're right, it's often useful to break out of your geographic constraints once in a while.

Comment by Joel Lockridge on February 20, 2017 at 4:04pm

I was there for that show, too. I was the one who complained recently about how they keep the show applications open until last minute, even when the show is full, adding people to the wait list.

I'm happy to say this was a good show for me, too. For a 9.5 hour show it needs to be, and this turned out to be a good weekend. Couldn't have asked for better weekend weather, too!

Comment by Melanie Rolfes on February 22, 2017 at 9:18pm
Impressed Nels, good man. Now that you popped that cherry just imagine all the new shows that have opened up to you.


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