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Glynn Art Association (Spring Show), St. Simons Island, GA: April 12-13, 2014

I'm going to write a VERY brief review of this show, for reasons that will be revealed in a paragraph or two.  This was my first visit to beautiful St. Simons Island, GA.  Although the state has less than 200 miles of coastline, it boasts beautiful wide barrier islands teeming with birdlife.  I've driven past their exits countless times on I-95 but never had time to stop.  So after Connie posted a call to artists a few months back, I jumped at the chance to apply and was accepted.

Glynn Art hosts two shows yearly in Postell Park, which is in the downtown of St. Simons.  This time of year, anyway, this is a tiny hamlet with relatively light traffic, lots of small eateries and retail shops, and the art association HQ, which occupies a pretty space right across from Postell Park. 

The spring show featured about 60 artists, in facing rows along the brick pavers (bring a rug!).  By admission of the director, it is "lightly juried" and  heavily skewed toward country craft, low-end craft, and a smattering of manufactured products.  There was lots of jewelry (some quite nice, some cheaply made).  A few of the Art Association members exhibited paintings and watercolors, but generally speaking, 2-D was hard to find. 

The overall ambience is laid-back, relaxed, and friendly. The show was laid out in maybe five sections of artists, scattered throughout the small park.  When I first arrived I wondered aloud about the discontinuity, and whether attendees would miss a section, but one of my neighbors, a show veteran, said it wouldn't matter...and it didn't.  Although booths were tightly pole to pole, the facing rows are quite short (maybe a dozen booths long) and you have lots of storage space behind.  Setup was Friday, from noon until 5 (you could stay later to set up if you wanted); security (local police) was provided from 6 PM to 8 AM each night).  It was an easy, beautiful three-block walk along the two-lane street, lined by live oaks, to the artist parking lot...though I noticed many artists with oversized vehicles used a commercial parking lot on one end of the show and were not bothered by anyone. 

Weather was beautiful, the booths were comfortable even in mid-day, and yet attendance was light.  However, for most of the show it was comprised of the affluent residents of this laid-back island.  They were casually but neatly dressed, knowledgeable, and friendly. (Sunday afternoon was dominated by day-tripping familes from inland Georgia, who were mostly browsing, and more interested in spending a day with the kiddos.)

I made only two sales on Saturday, but they were my largest, most expensive canvases.  Sunday brought smaller but still respectable sales through mid-afternoon. I wound up, surprisingly, with my second- or third-highest sales total of the year...plus an invitation to have a month-long at the art gallery on nearby Jekyll Island sometime in 2016. 

Demographics:  As noted, the demographics here skew to the very high end.  Housing is expensive, surroundings are beautiful, and many of the homes are quite large.  It was sort of a interesting mix between Sanibel Island and a small New England town. Seemed to be an equal split between vacationers coming from other parts of Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas) and residents (many of whom were year-round).  I talked with only a few Midwesterners. 

Everyone I spoke with, including the director, said that the fall show (Oct. 11-12) is even smaller (about 50 artists, tops), much more tightly juried, and better represented by 2-D art. I don't know if I could recommend it to an artist from far out of state, but if you are in central or panhandle Florida, Georgia, or South Carolina this might be worth trying. 

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Comment by Geoff Coe on September 18, 2014 at 9:40am

Barrie, from what I understand the fall show is every bit as strong as the spring one.  I'll know in a couple of weeks, since I'm doing it. 

Comment by Barrie Lynn Bryant on September 18, 2014 at 8:58am

Speaking of watering it all down, Connie has just posted a link to another Glynn Arts Association event happening this fall called Mistletoe Market.

Comment by Barrie Lynn Bryant on September 18, 2014 at 8:07am

I had been considering doing the fall show since we're gonna be in North Orlando the weekend before Glynn Art and the weekend after it. But I got a great deal on the La Quinta Inn in Lake Mary for the three weeks and if I cancel the deal I'll pay $20 more per night for two separate weeks, which is almost the total cost of the third week. So I'll just have to NOT SHOW that weekend and visit all my Florida-resident artist friends in the fall Winter Park show since it's the same weekend as Glynn Art.

The demographics of Glynn Art had me strongly considering the fall show. Then I learned about the spring show and started wondering if that might water down the possibilities. And now it seems as though Glynn Art isn't offering as many cash awards as last year, or maybe they're just not telling about them in the prospectus or something.

Still, I like small shows. Plus I have a really fine customer living in Hilton Head Island that just might breeze over to Glynn Art in the Park. But I'll be going to Hilton Head in spring for the Art Market at Historic Honey Horn show. So I'd really hope to find a good customer living in St. Simons Island. Would I?

I dunno. It's something to continue mulling. Thanks for the great review, Geoff. WOOHOO!

Comment by Christina L. Towell on April 17, 2014 at 8:53am

Thanks, Geoff...sounds like a great location and a good show, I'm glad you did well.  Thanks for your thoughts, I always enjoy your reviews.

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