Art Fair Insiders

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First Time Ann Arbor Art Fair - South U - Help!

From my mailbox:

Hi Connie, I watched several of your videos of A2 Art Fair. Total newcomer to art fairs with my paintings, I've now done all of 2 art fairs here in Mi, where I live showing my ceramics. (Royal oak clay and glass and Palmer park. )
I am a little scared now...I was too inexperienced to be scared for these last two but have now seen what must have been record high temps this last Sat and record cold for May a few weeks back. I have visited Ann Arbor art fairs and lived in Ann Arbor but this is my first time exhibiting my paintings at any art fair, and my third art fair of any kind. I enjoyed your videos and felt I got a different perspective on what to expect.
I have so many questions I am not sure where to begin so I'll ask a nuts and bolts one that's been of concern.
  1. I have a lot of lg paintings, 6'x 39" and I realize I should probably not use up all of my booth space with pieces too big for most people.
  2. I'm not sure at all about pricing but that's another question.
  3. This one is about how much "behind the booth" space I'll have and how many of these pieces I can put in reserve there. I'm not expecting a whole lot of sales but I would really like to have some extras to fill holes, or try a different one in a spot that isn't getting a lot of attention. What do people do?
  4. for those of you who have done Ann Arbor, what is the single most important thing you would tell a first timer?

May Hiddleston

(I haven't missed the Ann Arbor Art Fairs since 1978, so I have a bunch of videos. Click on that video link up above.)

Views: 578

Comment by Sandra J. Atkins-Moran on June 17, 2016 at 9:30am

Be sure you have electricity and BRING FANS!  It can be hotter than sin at AA.  As for back storage, depends on where you are.  Often there isn't any behind the booth.  Sometimes you can find a building or loading dock to store stuff, but it's not guaranteed to be secure.

Good luck on your AA Maiden Voyage!

Comment by Larry Berman on June 17, 2016 at 9:33am

for the most part, you should be prepared to stay entirely within your 10x10 space. Bring your back wall in three feet so you have room to sit and room for inventory.

Larry Berman

Comment by May Hiddleston on June 17, 2016 at 2:05pm
Thank you ! That is very helpful
Comment by Connie Mettler on June 17, 2016 at 8:42pm

Hope you will call Maggie Ladd at the South U show to get solid information on what you can expect as far as extended space. I think a lot of it depends on where your booth is. I know the artists on S. U near State have big back areas, as well as some of them that are near E. University. The layout has some back to back booths, but think most of them have some room for you to navigate.

You're not the lone ranger heading into AA as a relative novice, May. When we first started doing shows we had our first show in a park in Royal Oak (easy to figure out and navigate, took our little kids and made a picnic of it), then our second show was in AA at the intersection of State and Liberty. Oh my. I believe we sold enough to cover most expenses but mostly had no idea about marketing, price points. But you'll have four long days to look around and learn a lot from your neighbors. I still remember those generous artists who were our neighbors who shared so much with us. 

If you've got time drive over to AA and look around at where your space is going to be, meet nearby merchants, if you're near some, scout for parking space. Get there early on setup day and learn even more. Hope you saw my video with the setup days. That had some great images (stolen from other sites, yep) of the ongoing setup and how that city changes over 12 hours and then disappears again. It is an amazing business.


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