arts (12)

Paradise City Northampton 2017

Paradise City Arts Festival
Northampton, MA
May 27-29, 2017
Booth fee $950

I'm a painter, with pieces from $75 to $4500. This show was the first "real" show that accepted me, eight years ago, and it has also been my highest-grossing show ever, two years ago. But after this year, I'm going to take a break from it.

The show takes place at the Three County Fairground in Northampton, MA. It's a wealthy area, and the show advertises heavily on all media, and draws people from all across New England. It has a great postcard mailing program, and a beautiful show catalog. Gate fee is $14, but you can get big discounts from going to their website and giving them your email address.

In the past, the show has taken place in three distinctly different buildings on the site - a small, old barn; a medium-sized new barn; and a gigantic arena building. This year, for the first time, it took place in three identical buildings, the new barn plus two new new barns.

I was in the last row in the last barn, the farthest from the gate. Traffic was very light - and I think it was because of my spot. I heard many people say, basically, "Whew, we're almost done, thank heavens."

The new arrangement made set-up and breakdown easier, I will say that, though I think that if you were in the middle building, that might not have been the case. Artist parking is plentiful, and on site. There's a special area for RVs, who can spend the weekend, at a price. I believe there are hook-ups.

The new buildings are lovely. There was plenty of storage for me, and for others along the walls of the buildings. I don't know about the areas in the middle aisles. There are general storage areas in each building, and a special locked storage area for jewelers.

This is a lovely show, with stunning, jaw-dropping high-end work. There's a great mix of 2D art, furniture, sculpture, fabric, ceramics, glass, jewelry and anything else you can think of. Booth sitting is offered every day (you sign up), and there's terrific food.

I did OK at the show, about $3K, but that's about half my usual total for this show. Others around me did very well, and friends in the other buildings had even more successful shows. I might have saturated this market somewhat, as many buyers came up to say hello, but not to buy. A year or two off from this show will be helpful, I think.

If you have high-end stuff and find delight and excitement and inspiration in being in a truly fabulous show, this might be one to try.


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SONO, so bad

This is a review of the 39th Annual Sono Arts Celebration, held on Connecticut's "Gold Coast" town of South Norwalk, on Sat/Sun, August 16-17, 2014. The "celebration" consists of an art show, several music stages, food court and children's activities, all contained within two cross streets that juncture at the SoNo train trestle overpass.

I had been hearing mostly bad things about this show for several years but jeweler acquaintances supported it and said with the large crowds, it was still a "good selling show" for them. I decided to give it another shot, "jurying in" with both my line of porcelain jewelry and decorative porcelain wares. I had exhibited at this show many years ago, mostly in the nineties with my last participation being around 2004/2005. It was never a stellar show for me but yielded a decent profit and good times with its regular stable of artists and the ever popular "Puppet Parade". It was fun. There used to be great art by 200 or so artists run by very capable artist-organizers, even awards and a "somewhat" buying public. None of this remains. Partly due to the "somewhat" buying public but largely due to the state of things in general. South Norwalk has seen better days and this event has morphed into nothing but a crowded street fair.

I was impressed with the show's "Pre-show" materials that the management company emailed. The info was clear, well organized and alluded to some perks which led me to be very optimistic about the event. Not much of it proved to be all that accurate. I had the earliest set-up time of 5:30-6 am and the line of cars to get into the festival street hadn't moved until after 6 am because no one could find the staff to let us all in. With the light of day, the vacant storefronts and the homeless sitting on the benches were unsettling but nothing proved as maddening as the unswept streets, littered by several days' worth of refuse. Several other inconsistencies came into light as well: parking fees, no vegetarian option with Sat/Sun's free lunch, artist hospitality tent not well stocked. But this is the small stuff.

There were about 65 "artist" booths with only 60% really qualifying. The remaining were filled with buy-sell (cut-rate at that), DIY booths (henna, silk scarves, etc) and designer booths (work designed by them, made elsewhere). One such designer booth was the hit of the show with an under $10 product neither constructed nor decorated by them (it says it on their website). Quality overall was abysmal and clearly NOT juried at all. The music was not suitable for any art show with very loud hard rock throughout both days. Two days of nice weather (sun/clouds, temp's in the upper seventies, low eighties) brought out the crowds but sadly they were not there for the art fair, rather just to walk the streets.

Though, I did make a small profit (80% jewelry sales, 20% ceramic sales; $65 the highest priced item sold), I would not return to this event. It was uncomfortable. The puppet parade wasn't even fun anymore, with only a handful of puppets making the rounds...if you blinked, you missed it. For anyone who remembers, this used to be a huge draw, as art organizations, clubs, high schoolers, etc., would construct life-size puppets to parade with accompanying drums throughout the festival streets. It would last 20 minutes or so. I was so bummed. And yes, the jewelers who had done so well in years past, were complaining about how dreadful sales were this year, too. Even a couple of painters who had enjoyed "great" sales last year, echoed the jewelers' sentiments. In the end, it's a street fair in a with an expensive buy-in. So sad.

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After last weekend’s soggy experience in Sequim WA, we were excited to be headed east to the warmest part of Washington.  Several of us who had put up with the rainy weekend were looking forward to the opportunity to dry out and we weren't disappointed. 

This was our 3rd year participating in this art show.  Last year it was our best show of the year and still stands as our best 2 day show EVER!  So, we went into this weekend with expectations of a good show, but also trying not to be overly optimistic.   Sales?  We hid the dead center of the results from the past 2 years, less than last year but much better than our first year and to date this year, our best 2 day show of 2012 thus far.  In our minds we at least achieved our goal for this show.


Load in / Load out is fairly easy, I blogged about the show logistics, fees, etc. last year so instead of re-writing all of that, I’ll refer you to last year’s blog:


We had several repeat customers and seem to be building a great client base in this area.  This is the one big show they have each summer and is well attended.  We were a bit disappointed to see how they had reconfigured the portion of the show where our booth was located.  We had the same booth number but instead of having our nice shady location we were without shade most of the day, we had a lot of comments from customers that we had one of the hottest booth locations, groan, grumble, etc.  Set up and tear down in the direct sunshine was also a little more exhausting, but at least the tent dried very quickly after being packed away in rain the weekend before.


Friday sales started early and rapidly  between 9-11 and then seemed to die for a couple of hours.  The crowd seemed to shrink about 2 PM until early evening.  We had a few sporadic sales through the afternoon and then after 6 PM the crowd seemed to multiply quickly and we closed the evening with a few more sales.  Overall it was our lowest Friday at this show, a decent day but not the great day we had last year on Friday.  Friday’s weather was warm (97 for the high) with higher than normal humidity for this part of the state.  We were saved by having a fairly windy afternoon, that helped keep the air moving and made it feel a little more bearable.


Saturday started slower but sales were very steady for us from 10 – 4 and then a few last minutes sales between 6 PM and 7 PM.    The weather was much more pleasant with a high only in the lower 90’s, low humidity and a wonderful breeze for part of the day.  Saturday was a better sales day for us and the crowd was pretty steady all day.


Overall this is a fairly pleasant show to do.  No artist amenities are offered, the focus is really on just the art.  There is a stage with music and some performances by various dance groups, but it’s off to the side and the volume is not an issue.  The food area is close to the stage and there’s plenty of seating near the food area so we did not have near as many people walking through with messy hands, trying to touch jewelry while eating their junk food.   The show is held the weekend of the hydroplane races on the Columbia River.  I learned this year that this used to be a 3 day show and years ago the organizers decided that holding the show on Sunday wasn’t worthwhile for the artists due to the races, so they shortened it to a 2 day show and eliminated Sunday.  Nice to see a show where the organizers are actually concerned about making it worthwhile for the artists. 


This is a show that most likely remain on our schedule and continues to be the start of our summer road trip. Next stop?  Couer d’Alene ID, Art on the Green.  Hoping to get a few things restocked between now and Thursday.

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I've been applying to the CPFA show for the past 5 years to no avail, but I have just recently been accepted.  I've heard wonderful things about this show, however I have heard being on the side street is not so advantageous.  I've been placed on Fraser street.  My work is very edgy and usually attracts a younger crowd and I seem to benefit from late hour shows that go into the evening.  I do VERY WELL at the Deep Ellum Arts Fest, 4th Avenue Street Fair, Utah Arts Fest and shows in Denver & Chicago.  I have average sales at Florida shows, mostly towards Miami area and I do average in Tampa area.  I don't do so well in older/conservative/fine art crowds.  I have lower priced originals for not-so rich young art buyers and I seem to do better in Fair-type party atmosphere shows than I do at Fine Art shows.  Though my work doesn't seem to be classified as fine art, I have won Best of Show awards at the 2011 Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair, the 2011 South Miami Arts Festival, and 2011 Highland Fest.  Anyway, I've also been accepted the Wyandotte Street Fair, which I've heard good/bad things.  I'm torn between which show to do.  My worry with the Penn State show is that I'll be on the side street and that my work won't be as appreciated as it will be in the center of the action at the Wyandotte Street Fair.  I can only choose one as they fall on the same date.  Can anyone please provide any insight on Fraser street of the Central Penn show?  Other factors include, I live in Utah and the Michigan drive is obviously much closer than the Penn drive.  The Wyandotte show goes until 11pm and the Penn goes til 8pm.  Can anyone please provide any pros/cons of either show?  Thank you so much for your help. 

- Tai

My work for reference to your help:


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Public Art Project on Tour in Basel, Manfred Kielnhofer

Shared by Austrian artist and designer Manfred Kielnhofer. The “Light Guards” project is further developed and become a ghost car touring in Basel art show during June 15 – 19 2011.

Eccentric art was also at Basel, if not as dominant a presence as the traditional buys. Ghost Car by Kielnhofer was a large white van with hooded figures driving outside the fair, and the Bleifrei (which translates to Lead Free in German) Art Collective told Art Info: “Art is like Jesus; it died and it’s coming again.”

Manfred Kielnhofer, Ghost Car (2011) Basel, via Kielnhofer.com8871897661?profile=original

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The grim seeker after truth
Anyone wondering why these grim reaper style figures were seated on this white van - look no further than the latest installation from artist Manfred Kielnhofer. He is from Haslach an der Mühl, in the district of Rohrbach in Upper Austria, Austria, and is an artist and designer whose work usually centres around the human anatomy. His recent piece of art is the Ghost Car, which is a product of the developing ‘Light Guards’ project. This project surfaced from the theory that humankind has always been able to boast having guardians in different ways, in potential danger from only themselves. This idea intrigued the artist Kielnhofer, who approached it with his artwork, intertwining the theme of longing for security harboured by all humans. The Ghost Car portrays a sizely white van driving, seating sheet-covered figures. Perhaps this reflects individuality, exploration and recognition of current events in society, as it seems to interpret the theme by suggesting the hooded figures are looking to the drapes and car for protection as they are possibly ghosts, who are afraid of the life after death, and long for safekeeping.
By Alessia De Silva

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Although I know the Art Show circuit can be fun and exciting, occasionally people have the need for a more stable job.   If that is the case for you, you just might be interested in this job opportunity. 

The Rapid City Arts Council is seeking an energetic, experienced and innovative Executive Director to further its mission and manage its operations which include the region’s premier art center. The Executive Director position offers an excellent opportunity to lead an established arts organization located in the beautiful Black Hills of western South Dakota. The Rapid City Arts Council is headquartered in the newly expanded and renovated Dahl Arts Center. The Dahl is a thriving art center dedicated to exhibiting local and regional art, and is home to 6 galleries, a 280-seat auditorium and 5 classrooms.

This is a full time job opportunity.    Applications are open till August 15, 2011.   Does that sound like anything you are interested in?   If so, you can find more information at

Good Luck


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First Huntley Artfest

Entries are beginning to come in, get yours in as soon as you can for the best booth location at the First Huntley Artfest, Huntley, IL  where there is FREE parking for Artist and their RVs, adjacent to the Artfest grounds. 

visit  information for artist, lodging suggestions, and event map

any questions can be sent to me at

fill in the online application and then hit 'Print'  we have made it easy for you to participate in:



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Over 30,000 people were present on the Inauguration Day of The Riverside Arts Market in Jacksonville on April 4th.. 30,000+ Art Lovers in Jacksonville. Who would have thought? I definitely missed the boat with that one being that I am an "emerging artist", and I was not present on inauguration day. It was not a good feeling to think that I had missed out on a great opportunity, but the possibility was inspiring.It took just about two weeks to get a booth and with much anticipation I was able to display this past Saturday..and all I want to know is what happened ?The minimized crowd was very welcoming, and thank you Jacksonville for all the love.. . but there weren't nearly as many buyers as there were spectators. Had a gotten 10% of my spectators to buy something I may have profited monetarily from this early rise work day. With items priced as low as $5.oo..Come on Jacksonville!!..Appreciate your local artists by showing support to your local artists by investing in the arts. Enjoy the opportunity that The Riverside Arts Market is sharing with our community and while remember the purpose, invest in your local artists. You never know how great of a return you may
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Held June 27th &28th, the annual “Arts on the Avenue” is a part of Cedarburg’s popular Strawberry Festival activities.This has everything most artists would stay away from. Food (it is about the strawberries), crafters (though - high end and juried in), and various “festival” activities (pancake breakfast, 5k run, contests, several music stages and commercial vendors – bike – car – windows etc.) However, with the location and its 100,000 attendances, it has always been a top selling weekend for me. More framed pieces sell at this show than at any others I do (16 this year). I sold a large amount of matted only but I had lowered my prices by $5 or $10.Cedarburg is an upscale artisan community – smack dab in the center of one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S. Not the quasi-wealthy – the real thing where the wealthiest wear t-shirts & cutoffs to avoid standing out in a crowd. I’ve always connected with wonderful commissioned work from them here – their own little decorator they call me.Arts on the Avenue is organized by a combination of (3) separate art groups - the Cedarburg Cultural Center’s Fine Art Fair, Cedar Creek Settlement’s Arts Fair and the Ozaukee Art Center’s Fine Art Fair. Applications are sent to one of the three and each has their own jury and acceptance process. No buy/sell allowed – and if discovered they are removed immediately. An arts highlight is the Annual Plein Air Painting Competition, featuring Adult & Youth Divisions, at the Cedarburg Cultural Center. On Saturday morning, registered artists can participate in a two hour Quick Paint Competition in the Historic District. Cedarburg’s entire nine block Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places with many unique restaurants and charming shops that are a signature of Cedarburg’s tourism appeal. It is juried (with no awards) and very difficult to get into. This is my 5th year participating (10 minutes from home).This year I’ve noticed more high end crafters than typical and I counted only 3 other photographers. Jewelry, as always, was abundant as was pottery, fantastic wood creations and metal sculpture. Saturday tends to be the “out of towners” looking for an alternative to Milwaukee’s huge Summerfest activities. Sunday was mostly the Ozaukee County locals – looking for their favorite artists and ready to spend. I would estimate 90% of the crowd attends annually.Set up goes well and begins at 7am Saturday morning. It is drive up except for those inside the Cultural Center and adjacent lawn. A few of the booths in the main street area have to tear down Saturday night (beginning at 6pm) and set up again Sunday morning (no earlier than 7 am). I always have that area and really don’t mind as the location is prime and I have nice shade most of the day. Parking is wherever you can find it – but once you’ve attended, you know the hidden areas that are very close. The art area opens at 10 am but my sales start at 9. The street is elbow to elbow by 9:30 and remains so for most of the two days. There are typically more people walking the sidewalks behind the tents, getting out of the middle crowd, than at several art shows I’ve done this year. There is a food court area, but also a few food booths (ice cream, strawberries, and drinks) located among the art booths. Cedarburg has terrific wine makers and a local brewer, so those booths are also located among the art booths. They do keep the kettle corn guy and any smoky food booths well away from the art.As I mentioned – most artists would avoid this type of event and had I not been part of this area for many years, I too would stay away from any food festival events. However, I’ve been extremely successful here each year and it is a prime example to artists needing to look outside of the box – beyond their typical annually attended top tier show schedule - to carry them through this tough economic year. Plus....they are fun to do once in awhile. I sometimes get tired of seeing only high end pieces. My booth was busy continually both days and I talked so much this weekend that I lost my voice today - making hubby quite happy. But, I'm a "local" artist and these folks are always good to me. I should also mention that every year I have sold to those from England, France, Italy, Austraila and Sweden who fly in every year for this event. My Monday is consumed with international shipping.My three videos show the smallest crowds of the show. Only the last half hour of each day had less. You can check them out at: listed as Cedarburg 001, 002, 003Have a great summer everyone!Linda AndersonAnderson Photo Works Great Lakes Nautical & Nature Photography
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