This is a double review b/c I'm too lazy to do two separate reviews and I better write it now before I start to forget. June was a rather disappointing month for me. I had such high expectations based on the last couple years, which is never a good thing to have...
Olde Worthington, aka Art on the Green, aka Worthington Art Festival (probably a bad sign when no one including the show staff know the name of the show) is held in Worthington Ohio on the four quadrants of the historic village green. My booth was in the very northern tip of the northeast quadrant. I was worried that I might not get much traffic being on the tip, but since the whole show follows a loop I don't think it really hurt me. The booths were nicely spaced so pretty much everyone got to utilize at least one corner (always a plus for me). I got to use both my corners. It was a pretty easy setup, at least for where I was located. You could set up the day before starting at 3pm and then also the morning of. I got there at 3pm the day before and most everyone was already set up. Guess they got the memo that 3pm was just a suggestion and you could actually come anytime. I did not. But it worked in my favor b/c there was no one my area setting up when I got there, so I got to drive right up next to my booth. Just 10 easy steps from the side road to my space and tons of room to spread all my stuff out. Easy as could be. My complaint is how far away artist parking is. You have to park down behind the high school and walk over which is almost a mile walk! I was told there were shuttles going back and forth, but for all my times walking I never once saw a stinkin' shuttle. That's a long walk if you're carrying anything.
Saturday morning the show opened and a good crowd was already there. I was very optimistic judging from the size of the crowd and people coming into the booth. However, my spirits started dropping as hours went by and no sales were being made. Very few, and I mean VERY few people were carrying any purchases. Not even small bags or metal on a stick. By the end of the day I was well under what I was hoping to do by that point, even though I had managed to sell two smaller originals (under $300) and a couple prints. The disappointing thing was that the weather was beautiful Saturday but was supposed to be rainy Sunday, so odds were not good that there would be much crowd Sunday.
I was right. Sunday was slow. It didn't end up raining much, just some mild passing showers, but people were definitely not there like Saturday. Still didn't see many bags. Plenty of artists were walking around and sharing in the disappointment. Several artists who had done the show in the previous years said that sales were way down. I got to meet Robert Wallis though and chat with him on a couple occasions. And met a really great couple who did photography in the booth behind me. Isnt it often that the saving grace for shows are the other artists you get to meet?
At the end of the day I did have a couple people come back who has seen my work Saturday, and also a very nice impulse buy literally at the last minute (we held off breaking down for 15 minutes as the wife tried very hard to convince her husband to purchase a 36x36 painting and did so successfully). All in all I did manage to sell over $2000 but it was hard earned money for sure and definitely not expected after the first day's lull.
Tear down was equally easy. There was plenty room once the food trucks moved out to drive right up next to the booth and load up. Everyone played nicely and we were on the road in no time.
Easton Art Affair, Columbus Ohio: I know this show has not been given very good reviews, but I honestly have loved this show in past years. This was my third year doing it. I don't mind giving sales figures to give you an idea of the difference this year was from previous for me; first year $4000 in sales, second year $6000 in sales, this year $2000 in sales. I know I should count my blessings that I did make ok money, but like I said, I had high hopes and they didn't come together. There were so many unhappy artists. there were a couple doing really well including a painter who made over $10,000 but that was definitely not the case for 80-90% of us.
For those who don't know, this show is held at Easton Town Center, which is an upscale shopping mall. I am local to Columbus, so both of these shows were really easy for me to do and didn't have much expense. There were a lot of things working against the show this year. For one, it was over 90 degrees each day! On asphalt! Talk about hot!! It was almost unbearable sometimes. During setup, Friday morning I told my helper to leave and go to Walmart and stock up on fans. She brought back 4 which were absolute life savers but it was still incredibly hard to sit there all day. Oh yeah, that's another point, these are looooong days. 4-9 Friday, 11-9 Saturday and 11-5 Sunday.
You could setup Thursday night after the mall closed at 9 or pretty much anytime Friday morning. I set my booth/panels up Thursday and came back Friday morning for the paintings.
The other things working against us were 1) the opening of the American Girl doll store (ick) taking up all the parking and 2) the gay pride parade. Its a huge thing in Columbus. Like HUGE! Like I said, I've done the show several times and I live here, so I shop at Easton all the time. It was the slowest I've ever seen it from anytime I've ever gone. I don't blame the people. I wouldn't come out in 90+ temperature to spend money either. I'd be at home in the AC or the pool.
So long story short, it was a disappointment for most, and I know a couple artists around me completely zeroed out. The people didn't come, those who did were pretty miserable and wanted to escape the heat, but I did manage to pull out a decent Sunday and pull out enough profit to keep up with my goal average for this year, but definitely did not compare to previous years. Which is really a bummer b/c we are closing on a house next week and I really needed as much money as possible to pay for expenses for the home. Oh well. That's what happens when you have expectations I guess.
Again I got to see Robert Wallis, and I met Elissa Brown which was a real treat. Neither of them had good weekends either :(. The best part of the weekend was getting to be next to my adopted "festival dad" Russ Shaffer (who did manage to have a pretty good show) and also having a client (she bought a painting from me the previous weekend at Olde Worthington) come by in the heat just to do a random act of kindness and bring me a smoothie! I swear, the people I meet are the best part of this job!
Next weekend I'm off to Boston Mills. Its my first time showing there and I'm not getting my expectations up again after Jersey Shore Fine Art Festival and now these two. Hopefully it will surprise me. At least its supposed to be cool for once!