Review: Downtown Sarasota Craft Show
Promoter: American Craft Endeavors (ACE; part of Howard Alan events)
Dates: Sat/Sun, Oct 28-29
Location: Five Points Park, downtown Sarasota
Booth Fee; $275
Setup: 5:30 AM Saturday
My medium: Fine art bird and "cloudscape"/seascape scenic photography on canvas and metal ($350-$1200); matted prints ($35-149)
I don't normally review craft shows, but among South Florida artists, this event serves as a "soft launch" for the Florida season. So there were a fair amount of art show veterans among the beaders, toe-ring specialists, and potion pushers that so often make up Alan's ACE summertime ACE shows
And it's well-timed: Decades of climate data tell you that the transition from muggy summer to cool winter happens, statistically, around Oct. 18-20. Sure enough, a cold front swept through early on Saturday afternoon, bringing steady rain and closing the show around 3 PM. Sunday was windy and much cooler, but if you were in the tree-lined park (as opposed to on the streets, which fell victim to the "wind-tunnel effect" in Sarasota's high-rise downtown) it was pretty pleasant.
The early morning setup was a bit chaotic, as it's always difficult to find booth spots marked with silver duct tape in near-pitch darkness. If you were lucky enough to be along a street, parking was close to your booth. If not, a dolly was a great idea.
Crowds aren't the high-season high rollers, but Sarasota has a pretty good number of full-time residents so attendance was OK before the rains came on Saturday afternoon. I wasn't the beneficiary of much consumer spending, however; notching just one sale on the day. Sunday was cool and breezy, definitely not a beachy water day. If you were on the streets, especially the ones trending NW-SE, it was a cold and windy day until the winds calmed temporarily in mid-afternoon.
At least one tent was overturned, hammering a painter's and sculptor's inventory. and another purveyor of large metal sculpture on the upwind side of the show got a large piece tossed, but luckily no customers were standing next to it, and (being steel) the sculpture was easily reassembled.
There was a spurt of buying energy elsewhere, but again, it escaped me. I didn't even come close to making the (relatively paltry) booth fee, although my customers were free with oohs, ahhs, and compliments, none of which (my accountant assures me) is valid currency. However, it gave me the opportunity to be introduced to a few very nice couples who are in the midst of closing/redecorating, so there may be (emphasis on "may") future business transacted at one of the two Sarasota shows looming on November's schedule.
A couple of folks near me did OK, notably the PVC yard art guy, who sold out of his $25 egrets, herons, and flamingoes.
My fine art photographs of egrets, herons, and flamingoes escaped unscathed, to be sold in Venice this weekend. So it's a week to order raw materials, do a little shooting, and make sure I've got next week's mortgage covered. As a friend of mine memorably said, "It's a great life, but not always a great living." And so it goes. . .