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Howard Alan Events in FL - What's your feedback on them?

Does anyone have feedback, pro or con, on Howard Alan Shows? I'm trying to figure out what to expect and if I should look for alternatives. I create original copper overlay and etched art glass, and most of my work is in the $150 to $1000 range.

I'm looking to escape Michigan's winter for a month or so in Florida and have applied and been accepted into the 10th Annual Coconut Point (Bonita Springs) Feb 20,21; Stuart 26th Annual Downtown Festival of the Arts, Feb 27,28; and West Palm Beach 6th Annual CityPlace March 5,6. What are your thoughts on these or other Howard Alan shows? What FL shows do you recommend? Thanks!

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Comment by Allan Tuttle on December 9, 2015 at 10:07am
Hi James,

I was living in CT last year when I set out on my first HA tour. I was also trying to buy a house in Charelston SC. So staying in the black was critical.

I based myself out of Columbia SC and did a HA show about every weekend. I put 40,000 miles on the van from October to April.

After Jan you have a chance at sales most definitely. City place gets foot traffic. Stuart I didn't do. Coconut point I would not do again. I did both of those.

What I've learned about fla for me is, I do best between West Palm and Miami. On the west coast, I hear good things about Sarasota as a market. For me though, as an abstract painter, I find the east coast to be more lucrative. On the West coast, and I realize I am generalizing, they seem to like art with a person place or thing in it.

I should qualify that I had to put effort into sales in all of these shows. Extra effort. You won't sell if you are not in the both talking and finding out what the person standing in front of you is thinking.

I hope this helps.

Allan
Comment by Barry Shandler on December 9, 2015 at 10:12am

Expect disaster to pleasure.  I do well on some Allen shows and poor on others.  Other craftsmen do well at my poor shows and poor at my good shows.  It is therefore impossible to recommend  You just have to do them and see what happens.  I do find increasingly that Florida buyers are getting less and less and the retired dog walkers and kettle corn aficionados are getting more and more. 

Comment by James A Veenstra on December 9, 2015 at 10:25am
Thanks for your feedback guys!
Comment by James A Veenstra on December 9, 2015 at 10:59am

How about Leesburg, which is not a Howard Alan Event. I'm not seeing any reviews for that show? Anyone ever do that show?

Comment by cheryl davis on December 9, 2015 at 12:46pm

Hi James

Im also from CT and considering moving to the Charleston area.  Are you happy with the move?  Im finding the Northeast is not the art market that the south is.  I did a HAE show in VA and I felt they put on a great show.  I wish they did more up this way.  I want to try some FL shows but it is a long haul from CT.  Friends that do their shows in FL all say they are great shows with lots of buyers.  Id agree with Barry though that whats good for one artist can be bad for others so you have to try them out. 

:)

Comment by Brenda Flynn on December 10, 2015 at 5:44am

I think the key to doing HA shows is to do the ones that have tenure. The newer shows are badly managed, and not well attended. HA has promoters and volunteers that work the shows and most of the time, they are no where to be found at the actual shows. A long-running show is going to have automatic crowds because the locals are used to having it and attend it year after year. I've done some of the newer ones, and have had a terrible time of it. I don't do "standard" art, so it's a fine line as to where my art sells best, and I would do a HA show if it's in the right locale and at the right time. My next show with HA is Hobe Sound in February.

Comment by Alison Thomas on December 10, 2015 at 6:30am

Every once in a while I come upon a comment that I made many years ago that I would never ever do an HA show again.  That was after a show in Florida.  I was fairly new to the art festival world and the Sat. morning setup and difficulty with parking and close quarters were just too much for me.  Since then I have done several HA shows and this year I have (hopefully) four on my schedule but none in Florida.

I would say on HA shows that they are not for the faint of heart, especially in Florida.  Florida shows are difficult to start with just because there are so many of them attended by the same people over and over again.  And if you, like me, started out in Florida where most shows seem to have ample extra room and leisurely setups HA shows can be a shock to the system.  The biggest help to me when doing a HA show is to have a plan.  Scope out your booth space on Friday, drive the route to the show during daylight, plan where you are going to park and have a backup plan because I've found that the HA provided parking fills up quickly.  Also plan on having only a 10' x 10' space.  In most cases there will be no storage space.  

Comment by Alison Thomas on December 10, 2015 at 6:39am

James, I have done Leesburg several (3 I think) times.  It is a nice little town and an easy show to do but it is not a big money show.  I know I never made more than $500 in profit each time.  It's a nice fill in show if you don't get into Gasparilla which is usually the same weekend.

Comment by Connie Mettler on December 10, 2015 at 11:20am

Allan, Brenda, Alison, Barry and Cheryl -- this is great information from each of you. Thank you so much for stepping in with it. It is so well balanced and useful and it sounds as though James gets that you really have to roll with this marketplace. 

This is why this site was started. Your generosity is much appreciated by so many. Your good deed for the day is accomplished. Reciprocity is the key. Thank you.

Yep, you have to get up early to do a HA show. Yes, the "old line" HA shows are the best. We also could hardly sell on the west coast of Florida, but our work was easier to sell on the Atlantic coast, the closer to Miami the better.

The good thing about the HA shows is that if you have traveled far to participate in a show and have an open weekend (you are out on the road) then these shows can carry you to the next one and sometimes a nice solid home run happens.

Comment by James A Veenstra on December 10, 2015 at 11:43am

Thank you all so much.  Connie beat me to the punch with her kudus.  I really appreciate the feedback and the existence of this blog opportunity, and welcome continued feedback and insights on this issue.  I will feed info back into it as I gain it.

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