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This is a second year show. It is small with maybe 50 artists. Jurying was tight and I didn't see any questionable art and the overall quality was high. There are only 3 awards but they are generous at $3,000; $2000; and $1000. There is a big Jazz festival several blocks away, but it starts in the late afternoon and goes into the evening. There is a small stage in the middle of this show for jazz performers too. Many attendees to the show are carrying folding chairs and are on their way to the "real" jazz show. Set up was on Friday afternoon, but as soon as I arrived the heavens opened up and it poured rain for an hour. Many hardy souls continued with set up, but Kim and I waited it out. We pulled up to our booth and unloaded. Then parked and set up. The show is right in downtown Clearwater on a boulevard with grass down the center. There is room for only one vehicle at a time but everyone cooperated and all went smoothly. We set up against the curb and most spaces were 11 to 12 feet wide. We worked it out with our neighbor and had an outside wall to display on. There is room behind for storage. I would estimate that 80% of the store fronts were empty and there were homeless folks every where I looked. The police asked some of them to leave for the day. Clearwater is the Florida home of Scientology and someone told me 70% of the property was owned by the cult (as decreed by the Supreme Court). Down the block was the "Church of Scientology". It is a huge converted bank. The show opened at 10 AM to light crowds and slim sales. The day ended the same way with our total somewhere in the $300 range. Kim walked our pull-behind luggage bag and soft-sided cooler to the corner while I went for the van. The jazz crowd was building (while our show was closing) and it took me almost 10 minutes to pick her up. When she got into the van she said a couple of homeless guys took pity on her and told her to come with them as they were on their way to the food bank for a free supper. They too, were pulling everything they owned behind them! Sunday was more of the same but cooler and windier. We totaled out at $750 but our neighbors all around complained about not making expenses. Pack-out wasn't bad we were headed for home by 6:30. Kim had a long talk with the director of the show and said she had confidence that he would take some of her suggestions to heart and improve the show for next year. My inclination is to write this one off, but Kim wants try it again, so... we'll see.

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Comment by Gary & Maureen Shull on November 3, 2009 at 1:55pm

Great pics! You have a good eye for that usual shot...

Give Kim a hug for us... Gary n Maureen
Comment by Connie Mettler on October 22, 2009 at 4:08pm
Just wondering about the demographics of Clearwater after reading this, R.C. Sounds like doing an art fair in downtown Flint, MI, except no Scientology there, just old monuments to GM. I'm thinking you have a very optimistic wife.

I think I would have loved the music though!

How do you think they were able to get even 50 good artists to come here?
Comment by Nels Johnson on October 20, 2009 at 9:43am
Richie,Richie,what were you thinking? I would not do any show in Clearwater. There are few sales ever to bne had. Take this from a local. The Jazz Fest has been going on for years and there have been several attempts at holding A/C shows there. None of them ever work. Like you saw, they all are handling their chairs, leaves little room for art. It was a great review though. You gave lots of "meat" for what is pretty much a vegetarian show. We got in on Sunday and are in the midst of unpacking. Thank God, we have internet. Nels
Comment by Bill Sargent on October 20, 2009 at 8:58am
Good report. We have done a show or two in Clearwater but they were indoors. Yes, we remember the Scientology presence well. Ann watched a large group of them come out of a building, pause briefly for traffic, and all turn at once to another direction before crossing the street. No obvious signals, etc. Could have been a coincidence but it was eerie.
Comment by Michelle Sholund on October 19, 2009 at 9:16pm
I had a good laugh when you mentioned the homeless folks asked if she wanted to join them for supper. One, that is awfully sweet, but so funny at the same time. I am a church going person and always amazed how giving the poor are and how stingy others can be.

I have been in Clearwater - over 15 years ago. And it was a pretty town then. Seems weird to see the photo of Church of Scientology and learning how things have changed. This is good incite, in my opinion. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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