First time at Penrod in Indianapolis.

I was ecstatic that I was juried into this show having fellow artists saying what a solid show this is. It after all is billed as one of the largest one day shows in the States and "Indiana's nicest day"! This was my first show ever in the state of Indiana. 

I made the trek from Tennessee to Indianapolis in about 5 hours. I was in the "Yellow" section which was the area for the Evening at Penrod preview party. I entered onto the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) off 38th Street West. I was greeted by the first of what seemed to be a minimum of one hundred volunteers. At check in they handed me a manila envelope and directed me to the unload area. There were several volunteers there with golf carts with the bed on the back to cart items to my booth space. That was nice even though I was only about 5 booths from the unload area. It was very efficient.

After my truck was unloaded I was required to park at a church building about a quarter mile away. The volunteer at the lot asked for my parking pass. I checked the manila envelope and there was my YELLOW SECTION parking pass along with the booth number tag to hang outside. Every festival I've done to date has at least the booth number and artist name. This was a 8 1/2 x 11" sheet with Y89 printed on it and nothing else. Perhaps a little advice to the Penrod folks next year. I'm not just a number. ;) After making the walk back to the festival site I set up in the 92 degree heat and became soaking wet with sweat. Additional volunteers came by while I was setting up with bottles of water. That was nice! 

After set up I made my walk back to my truck then drove to my hotel to check-in and shower. I made it back to the IMA about 5:30 and the Evening at Penrod event started promptly at 6. The artists were to be open from 6-8ish as directed in the emailed instructions. A steady stream of patrons came onto the festival area and the booze started flowing freely for the guests. I felt that were were the entertainment rather than the focus. It was definitely a social event. I spoke with a neighboring artist and his friends that did the inaugural preview party last year said that sales were slow. I didn't have any sales for the first 1.5 hours but had three quick sales near the end. The event was scheduled to to go until 10 pm with live music, food and alcohol. I wished there had been electricity for the artists so we could have stayed open past dark (8:15). 

I got back to the hotel about 8:45 and anxiously watch a line of thunderstorms that appeared on the radar from the west. There was no way that these were going to miss Indy. I stayed awake until about 11 and the thunder, lightning and rain were all around the area. Would my canopy be ok? Certainly my weights and structure would hold! Positive thoughts! zzzzzz.....zzzzzzzzzz

The festival opened at 9am and I was on site about 8:15 for the continental breakfast of bagels, cream cheese, fruit, coffee and juice. That's always a nice perk. My canopy held up, but there were several EZ ups that had crumpled from the overnight storms. 

The weather was cool compared to the day before. 68 degrees and a light mist/drizzle. Patrons started onto the festival grounds about 8:45 and my first sale was about 5 minutes later. Sales and patrons with umbrellas were slow for the first 90 minutes but then the drizzle stopped and the crowds came. Sales were brisk after that and were steady for the until about 4 pm. The show ran until 5 at which point the sun promptly came out but it was still very comfortable at 74 degrees.

Two neighbors of mine were potters. One still had not made back his booth fee by mid afternoon and the other said she was slow most of the day. The other artist next to me was a water color painter that was glad to be doing her final outdoor show of her long career. I had my 3rd best single day ever with a steady stream of folks in my booth and many more saying "I don't recall ever seeing you here before!" I gave out close to 500 business cards and this show exceeded many of my two day festivals I've done.  Another friend from Tennessee that was across from me made over 5K for the day. The same that he normally makes in a two day show.

For load out I broke down, walked back to my truck then waited in line about 35 minutes before I got on site. After I got parked volunteers were there to assist in getting my belongings to my truck and get me on my way. I decided to take a 5 hour energy drink about 7 pm, drive straight thru back to Tennessee & made it home about midnight.

 I am looking forward to applying to a few more festivals in Indy next year. Perhaps Broad Ripple and Talbot Street? Even though it was a whirlwind trip there and back, it was very profitable! 

The Bad: 

  • Bring a helper with you. I never got a bathroom or lunch break.
  • Prepare for a little bit longer load out. Limited access to the site.
  • A little better communication about load out procedure.

The Good/Great:

  • Tons of volunteers
  • Help with load in and load out
  • Large crowds, despite the less than ideal weather.
  • Strong sales for my art. 
  • Great live music all day long. 

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  • I loved doing Penrod when yrs ago I made decent money there.  Loved the bands, the ballet company, the string quartets that were sprinkled around the grounds.  I was in the Red area where u had to roll across alot of grass to unload. Of course the golf cart guys were there so it was never a problem.  They actually had the Budweiser Clydesdales, complete with wagon and dog, go thru the park on the paved path.  No lie.  Was that cool. Unfortunately my sales had dropped thru the yrs and having every other yr have rain all day, I gave it a rest.  

    Reading your review has me thinking again about applying for 2015. I agree with everything you wrote and I miss it.  Maybe the economic wheel will be better now and the rain Gods will hold off!


  • Great review!

  • Thanks Matt for your review.  I think that is the most I have ever read about Penrod before.  Sounds like it was pretty good for you.

  • Ann, I saw from your site that you'll be at Artclectic as well! I did that show last year and it was FANTASTIC! They really treat the artists like royalty. I'm looking forward to that show this year!
  • What a truly great show review! Great Job- we lova  detail!

  • Ann, welcome to Tennessee! I'll be at Centennial Park as well. I look forward to meeting you!
  • Matt, Thanks for taking the time to write this show up and your answer "mid-century" influenced birdhomes intrigued me.  At first I thought...huh?  I then went to your facebook page and your work is terrific, very original and creative.  I just moved to Nashville from the Northeast where I've been doing shows for years and haven't seen anything similar.  I don't plan to do many shows this year but will be participating in the Centennial Park show and I'll look you up.  Ann Light

  • I absolutely will reapply next year!
  • That was really thorough, Matt, and will be helpful to others. Sounds like it continues its reputation of good organization, although these sales sound stronger than I've heard before. Good for you! Will you apply next year?

  • I make modern and mid-century influenced birdhomes from western red cedar and reclaimed Tennessee barnwood.

    instagram @churpmodern

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