Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
I've been blogging about the seven Florida art fairs I participated in during February and March as part of a winter circuit by this artist from the Midwest. My goal was to establish a market for my art in Florida so I could count on some sales and profits during the winter months in the future. Unfortunately I was not able to reach that goal. I did some math and the numbers show that the only thing I accomplished was a pretty good tan. I would have been better off staying home.
Booth fees and application fees cost me $3600, Gas 1200, Booth improvements 350, Parking 150 and Hotels were 2500. Total expenses came to $7800 (not counting food and incidentals).
Total sales for the seven art fairs was $11,000 which gave me a gross profit of $3200. Not much for two months out of the studio, especially when the cost of materials and framing are taken into account.
Of the seven art fairs I participated in (Artfest Ft Myers, Naples National, Coconut Grove, Bonita Springs, Las Olas, Winter Park and Naples Downtown), the only one that was financially worthwhile for me was Winter Park where I grossed $4700 in sales. I averaged only about $1100 in sales at the other six events. Winter Park saved me from a total disaster.
Another thing that saved me was my sympathetic friends in Naples who put me up for much of the time I spent in Florida. Without them my hotel bills would have been much higher.
Many artists I ran into during my "circuit", did much better than I did. Many did about the same or worse. So, its hard for me to make a generalization, except to say that Florida is not my market. For others, that might not be the case. But some things are apparent to me. There are too many art fairs in Southern Florida. The market is saturated. there are not enough buyers for all the artists who naively flock to the sunshine state with dollar signs in their eyes (me included). And I can't blame the promoters and organizers. As long as the artists keep paying the application and booth fees, the promoters will keep launching new art fairs. After all, it's a business and its profitable for them.
For me, I'm still licking my wounds and trying to find the dollars in my dwindling bank account for Spring and Summer booth fees in the Midwest. As for my future in Florida? There's Winter Park, but it tough to travel all that way for one show. And there's no guarantee of getting into this worthwhile show two years in a row.