Chicago (8)

10401526882?profile=RESIZE_400xDecember 1 - 4, 2022
Chicago, Illinois
The Merchandise Mart
Thursday through Saturday 10am-7pm &
Sunday 10am-5pm
500 Artists
Deadline: May 10
Application fee: $40 Booth fee: $2600
The annual One of a Kind Holiday Show Chicago is an extraordinary holiday shopping event featuring fine art and craft from a juried selection of North America's most talented artists. The 4-day show is scheduled during one of the busiest weekends of the year and provides an outstanding opportunity for exhibiting artists to sell to tens of thousands of qualified and enthusiastic shoppers in an ideal location and premium environment.
Exhibiting artists are equipped with generous materials and exceptional opportunities to promote their presence and enjoy their experience at the show:
  • Listings in online directory featuring artist images and link, and on-site Show Guide
  • Complimentary marketing materials for artist use - electronic complimentary tickets, show banner ads, and booth signage
  • PR exposure via the show's extensive media relations
  • Opportunities for on-site promotion
  • Pre-show artist webinar
  • On-site educational programming
"People were friendly and eager to see and buy our new work. It was a fun and relaxed environment we enjoyed, and sales were good." -
Cameron Lewis, Camryn Forrest Designs
"A top-notch show for vendors and customers alike. The staff is outstanding, the caliber of artists is unique and the customers who attend are there to spend." - Dianna Dunlevy, D'marie
"The Mart is a perfect location for a show." - Roxy Lentz
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Call for Artists: Old Town Art Fair

June 11 & 12
Chicago, Illinois
Streets of Historic Old Town Triangle
Saturday 10am-7pm & Sunday 10am-6pm
215 Artists
Deadline: December 15
Application fee: $45 Booth fee: $750
The Old Town Art Fair is considered one of the top outdoor fine art shows in the nation. It is held on the streets of the historic Old Town Triangle neighborhood on Chicago’s near north side, amid charming homes, leafy parkways, and welcoming neighbors.
This is a show for artists and art buyers alike -- our art patrons are considered to be discerning, art-educated, and loyal art buyers. In addition, again this year we are putting a strong emphasis on increasing our marketing profile to be able to bring more buyers to you.
The volunteer-led Old Town Art Fair is committed to providing the highest quality experience possible for both our artists and our patrons. The Fair is produced by the Old Town Triangle Association, a nonprofit neighborhood organization whose Director also serves as staff support for the Fair. Fair proceeds go to support the Menomonee Boys and Girls Club, our local schools, community organizations, neighborhood improvements, and the activities and operations of the Triangle Association.
  • Participation in one of the country’s most prestigious outdoor fine art shows in one of the country’s greatest cities
  • Cash awards for Best of Show and Second Place within each of the four media groupings by which artists are juried
  • Website gallery with artist’s full-color, thumbnail image, and link to artist’s website (we use image #1, so plan accordingly)
  • Organized load-in Friday and, if necessary, Saturday morning, and cooperative load-out Sunday
  • Artists retain all proceeds from the sale of their art
  • Electronic postcard provided to artists to send to customers
  • Booth sitters are available for artists and complimentary water and snacks are delivered during the show
  • Complimentary continental breakfast on Saturday and Sunday of the show for artists and their assistants and for volunteers
  • Express lanes for artists at food concessions
  • Prepaid, reserved artist parking in nearby lots!
Last year our artists told us that they preferred the reduced number of booths (200 in 2021 down from 250 in 2019) and space between booths (for social distancing) that we had due to protocols. They also said they were willing to pay more for fewer artists and more space between booths.
This year we are featuring 215 artist booths with five feet distance between booths and an increased booth fee to help us maintain our revenue.
We encourage you to apply for one of these highly coveted spots!
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My personal show experiences to date

I wanted to write reviews of the shows that I've done to help other artists potentially make decisions of whether they want to apply or not but its kind of a pain to get the shows onto to the reviews page so I thought i would just share my information on here.

Key Biscayne, Florida

Hyde Park, Tampa, Florida

Altamonte Springs, Orlando, Florida

Marco Island, Florida

Old town Art Fair, Saint Augustine, Florida

St Armands Key, Sarasota, Florida

Lawton Arts Festival, Oklahoma

Blue Dome Arts Festival, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Deerfield, Illinois

Hinsdale, Illinois

Wells Street Arts Festival, Chicago

Northville Arts festival, Michigan

Fountain Square, Evanston, Illinois

Salida Arts Festival, Salida, Colorado

Salida Riverside Arts Festival, Colorado

Downtown Aspen, Colorado

Beaver Creek, Colorado

Sloan's Lake Arts Festival, Denver, Colorado

Evergreen arts festival, Colorado

March -

Key Biscayne (Howard alan)

    I personally will never do this show again, I did terrible.  it was my first show so i was working out some kinks for sure and I cant completely discredit this show. The artists I spoke to who seemed to do well were glass or 3-d artists and miami artists.  A cuban/miami local who does pretty much only pop art style of cuban coffee pots and american coffee pots that say "cuban" and "american" I would have to assume did awesome because I saw those paintings walking all over. 

Its a very hispanic population so those who are fluent speakers also have an advantage, I speak spanish at a conversational level, but I'm not as confident "telling my story" or selling in spanish so I certainly had a disadvantage.  Anyways, there were a fair amount of people walking around, the show wasnt dead, it wasnt hugely busy though. Easy Friday set up but I will absolutely never ever do it again.  Overnight parking is in a park a mile or two away and there is a sparsely running shuttle to bring people from A to B. 

Hyde park (Howard alan)
     This show is in an awesome location in Tampa.  My target clientele is younger with money and this is who populates this show.  Its a Saturday morning set up so that's kind of a pain in the ass, but I did luck out on being able to pull right up to my booth to drop stuff off and set up.  I would entertain the idea of doing this show again, I think  a lot of people do well here. 

Altamonte springs

      This is in an interesting location north of orlando in an expensive town home development with a similar demographic as Hyde park.  A majority of Saturday got shut down because of a tornado warning but i think it would have been a pretty good show for me had that not been the case.  I would probably do this show again.  

April -

Marco Island (howard alan)

     This was the first show that I felt I did well at. now after having done months of shows my idea of "well" is certainly different than it was then but Marco Island was good for me.  I think it was a first year show of HA promoting it. I think some seasoned artists said there used to be a show run there but there have been a few years sans show making it essentially a first year so, So i would have higher expectations for this show in the future. 

Set up/Break down was cake.  you can drive onto the grassy area to set up. unfortunately parking is miles from the show, there is a trolly to shuttle people back and forth.  There are no bathrooms or any amenties near the parking, I walked over to the beach and poached showers at the hotels on the beach in the evening. 

St Augustine (Old town I think its called, its run by Lynne something)

      Same set up as Marco Island, in a big open field, you drive up to it, super easy.  Parking is right next to the show which is really nice and my family lives in St augustine so i was able to get a shower there.  The location isnt great, not a ton of traffic. I did okay because my grandma passed out the little art show promo cards provided free by the show to everyone in her neighborhood and told everyone if they didnt atleast come to the show and see me they would be off of her christmas card list. I'm not joking. haha. So that was a big help.  I dont think its a great show.  its a mediocre show at best but I will do it again because of my family. 

St Armands (paragon)

     This show also has a fairly easy set up, you drive into the middle of the circle and drop off your stuff then parking is maybe a quarter mile away on the beach which is pretty nice. there are nice bathrooms there (they're locked at night) and beach showers so that's good. 

I didnt have a very good show there, one of my neighbors was a painter and he didnt do well either, but a jeweler that was near us did awesome.  Ohh and a guy who made crazy huge outdoor bronze sculptures killed it. He must have sold 3 pieces at 5-7 grand each. 

Bill Kinney, the promoter, comes by at the end of the show asks what your sales were and comes out with series of graphs by media etc and shows what the average sales of each were so that's really nice (assuming that they're accurate) according to the file that he sent the average sales were just under 4K per artist.  I did below that but I had not yet gotten my Trimline, so i was rocking an EZup and I think with the fancy vacationers of St armands. 

Also, Howard alan had a show close by that weekend and sent Helaine over to this show to try and get the vendor list, when paragon refused to give it to her she walked around and wrote everyones name down. I guess to discriminate against us? art show politics....

May- off to oklahoma!

Lawton -

    Wow, that's an interesting demographic there.  Fairly easy set up if you have a spot next to the road, less so if you're deeper in the park.  There are lots of food vendors here and the show certainly attracts a lot of people, a large portion of them are toothless, inbred looking carnival going turkey leg eaters. and the other side of that are Army people stationed at Ft Sill. 

I do hawaiian style art so many of them had been to hawaii and really connected with my work so I sold a lot of pieces in the 100-250 range. I dont think I had any sales from a higher price range, but i did sell quite a bit of pieces there.  A neighbor of mine that made wall sculptures out of square nails was NOT happy at all, but he has higher expectations than I do, he's been at it for like 30 years, and I probably did better there than him. 

its a 3 day show, set up friday am/midday and show is open friday like 4-7 or something then normal weekend hours.  The promoter was super accomodating and even set up for host families to stay with in town.  They also arranged for all of us to be able to use the YMCA gym, pool, sauna, and showers which is right next to the show. I was really stoked about that, and parking is a few blocks away at a library ergo free wifi.

The weather can be really unpredictable, there were tornado warnings on thursday, not terrible throughout the weekend until breakdown and shit got crazy windy. I didnt get any damage though. 

Blue dome in Tulsa

       So this show started as a boycott of local artists to Mayfest's policy of only accepting 10% local artists.  I was only able to do this show because my buddy is from there and we split a triple booth, which was probably the best location in the entire show right in front of the oldest bar in Tulsa. Most of blue dome is crafty or buy/sell low end stuff, which can go both ways, but i'd say it worked in our favor.

there are a lot of serious buyers in Tulsa who boycott mayfest because of the aformentioned reason and they had very little choices of fine art in this show, us being one.  So we totally killed it and were pretty drunk the whole time.  Also, the booth fee is like $100 for 3 days, so thats awesome. If its geographically convenient at all I will absolutely be doing this show again. It was a blast. I imagine Mayfest is lucrative for artists as well.


Deerfield, IL

     I will absolutely not be doing this show again.  Its in a heavily jewish area so saturday was completely dead and sunday was not a whole hell of a lot better.  A few people did okay, but its not my crowd, nor was there a crowd at all. It was a fairly easy show to do, I met a couple who became my closest "art tour" friends who i subsequently did shows with for the next 2 months.

I also by crazy chance got my top collector there. He is a young guy and avid art collector but had no clue of the show. he had gotten off the train and saw the show so walked down in the last few minutes before closing sunday. He bought a small original and said he would be getting my biggest piece at Wells street show in 2 weeks which he did.  He has since bought a few more originals for me.  That made Deerfield worth it, but I wont do that show again. No one was really happy. I do not recommend it.  It is next to whole foods though which made me happy

Hinsdale, IL

    Not my cup of tea either.  I didnt really speak to anyone who had a good show.  Its in a hugely upscale area, but I did not see anyone buying expensive pieces.  Thats about all I have to say. ohh the breakfast they had was the best muffins I'd had yet at a show-they were from a local bakery

Wells Street - downtown chicago

     That show is a big drinking party. I was right across from Benchmark bar, which seemed to be one of the swankiest busiest bars.  I heard that some serious buyers dont walk to that area because there are too many drunk people, but I did really well there, partially because of my deerfield collector buying my biggest piece.  It was a good time, I will apply to Old town next year and if I get in I will certainly do that, but I would do wells street again. Set up/ breakdown has potential to be a complete nightmare. 

Northville, Michigan

    This is a 3 day show, which it probably shouldn't be, but its in a small downtown in an upscale suburb.  Friday am we set up then the afternoon was open for business. The weather sucked friday and I didnt sell a single thing, but I didnt really care, I was hungover and didnt want to talk to anyone anyways. So i just stood in my booth and painted all day as it rained outside. 

Saturday was a different story, weather was great and I killed it. It was another show that had a lot of lower end stuff so i think that helped me stand out.  That was a $100-300 price point show for me atleast, but I sold enough to definitely be willing to do it again. especially if i can do ann arbor which is only 2 weeks away i think. 

The promoter is new to running the show but she's so awesome. I asked her if there were any showers we could use near by and she offered her house which is only a block away so I showered there and then hung out with her and her husband for hours. 

I will definitely put this show on the list for next year if its geographically convenient.  Its a good filler show at best, but it was worlds better than other filler shows that I had done.

Fountain Square, Evanston IL

     I heard from artists who had done this show for a number of years that they keep changing it around and thats definitely affecting the show in a negative way.  I expected more from this show than I got. I had a last minute sale that took me to the number I wanted to make for the show just before breakdown, but... ehh.... I think this show is going down hill for sure.  I would do it as a filler show maybe.  I made money, but it just seemed like kind of a buzzkill. 

Lunch was catered by wholefoods though which was nice.  Parking is free, but is sort of far away and they said they had a shuttle, but that company is a shit show and no one knew they were supposed to even have a shuttle. an employee gave me a ride so it was all okay, but still, unorganized. and parking is miles away so its not really walkable before/after a show.


Salida Arts Festival

    This was a first year show so I had low expectations.  I didnt do well by any means but as it turns out, I did worse at a number of colorado shows. Jerry, the promoter, I think, worked really hard to promote this first year show which isnt in a great location.  Load in is harder than it should be for being in a park, in my opinion. 

I will not be doing any shows in colorado again probably, and the only person I spoke to who was stoked was this really amazing older Korean man who makes Cajon drums who sold on saturday alone 14 drums that are priced between $400 -$700. He did awesome. Salida is a lower income artist community, and also a place where other Coloradans come on mini Stay-cations So if your art sells well here, maybe entertain this show.

Salida Riverside

    This show is run by Danna Tullis and I will NEVER do another show run by this woman. this seasoned show was in a far better location than the prior and I did way worse, as did everyone.  The owner of an art gallery less than 1 block from the show came by and told me he had no clue the show was happening.  Danna does no promotion for shows, she just takes the booth fees I guess.  She also does Sloans lake in denver which was terrible and I will mention later.  DO NOT DO THIS SHOW.

Downtown Aspen (Howard Alan)

     I did not do as well as expected at this show, which is an understatement,  but I think many people did do really well. They put a few artists on this weird little off shoot of the show, I was not one of them, I had a decent location, but I felt terrible for them, they got no traffic. I also heard other artists tell me that the art galleries had united and had gotten an article in the paper discouraging people from patronizing the show, and instead, going to art galleries who pay taxes etc all year, rather than these foreign artists who just come in for one weekend. 

I was next to a knife maker who did awesome. His stuff was really cool and he and his wife were great and made a super unique product, so I can see why they did awesome, also a glass artist who I heard of and didnt meet until the following weekend did like 20K from one collector at the show.  Most of the people buying art here are on vacation. 

Also Mountain fair was going on the same weekend in carbondale, less than an hour away and I think that detracted from the people at this show somewhat.  This show can be good for some, it wasnt for me.  I think also that booth appearance is extremely important at these shows, as these people are accustomed to buying at high end stores.  So the fact that I still had an EZup probably hurt meas well.


Beaver Creek (Howard Alan)

    Set up can be a complete nightmare, although it wasn't really for me.  Same as Aspen where I think i probably would have done better with a nicer booth set up, So its on the agenda.

A neighbor of mine who did big abstract paintings and had a large tall trimline tent sold 2 pieces at 7k each and got a huge commission.  Across from me a fiber artist did pretty well selling womens sweater things.  the glass artist I mentioned from Aspen straight killed it here too. He has some really awesome stuff and larger pieces are in the 6K-7K range and he must have sold 5 of those alone among lots of smaller stuff. 

You also run the risk (probably 50%) of being stuck in an area thats a huge pain in the ass to set up as well so far of the beaten trail that it has little to no foot traffic. This can be a fantastic show for some though, that's for sure

Denver Sloan's Lake

     Also run by Danna Tullis.  Last year was supposed to be the first year show, but that was when Denver was having crazy floods so this was the first year.  Very little foot traffic, also more of a pain in the ass to set up than it should be.  I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS SHOW TO ANYONE. no one I spoke to did well.


    This was one of the most accomodating shows I have done, although Beth, the current promoter, did announce she was resigning this year.  They have a pretty awesome artist dinner on saturday a few miles away.  Some people did well at this show, not me though, nor one of my neighbors. Its in a park so they had to design the map around trees and such so I was in a weird offshoot which was a lower foot traffic area for sure.

This was the worst show I had in a long time, but people out here, especially these retired, upper middle-upper class just weren't into my stuff.  I think its worth doing for others, but i will not be doing it again. 

To be continued .....


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Housing in Chicago

Hello everyone, I'm new to AFI, but not to the arts community. I live in Chicago and have been housing arts for over 10 years. During show season, I have accommodated up to 6 guests in a 3bdrm condo. I'm going to list in the AFI classifieds. I'd like some input on what YOU would be looking for in terms of temporary housing during a show. Type of accommodations? Price? Ammenities that are important? Thanks for your help. I hope to meet some of you soon.

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Gold Coast: LIVE

Swinging down through the Chicago Loop with the great Cher and Christina belting out about burlesque("show a little more, show a little less, let them know what's in store, welcome to burlesque!), we started out our journey to Gold Coast in high spirits.

When we reached the lake we could open the windows and feel the great breeze off Lake Michigan.


And that's what my tent has: a great view of the magnificent fountain in Grant Park and a cool breeze. Our booth is backed by huge trees that offer total relief from the noon sun. Amy handed out water jugs to everyone and there are tons of ice and water available at all times for us.


We were the first group to set up(we pulled in right by our booth. I owe that all to a fellow AFIer named Robert Campbell. He stalled unloading  and saved a loading space until my husband arrived. Thanks, great guy!)


We left at 4 pm as the next group was arriving. I must say it was an impressive sight to see all those white tents....and that was just half the number.


I feel like Christmas Eve. I just can't wait to wake up tomorrow. 

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Promenade of Art: Live

Well, I'm packed and ready to head down toward the Windy City way and my first Promenade of Art in Arlington Heights, Illinois. I'm excited, I can tell you.


Altthough this past Tuesday, Mukwonago had such high winds, hail and lighting that it shattered the boys plexiglass basketball hoop(good thing it fell to the right. Dan's antique refurbished 1963 Fury was to the left! Whew.) And it split our largest tree right down the middle......that was the one my oldest tried to saw down when he was a toddler! I thought it had nine lives....guess only two. Willow, my sober Maltese, and I were under the heavy computer desk in the basement. Too many tornadoes that are not in Kansas to suit me!


Anyway, if Connie asks, that's were I will be.

And I'll keep you posted.

Course, I'm no don't expect a raconteur.


I'll do my best.

Anyone else going?


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