bayou city art festival (2)

Stellar! Artist Rocks PR in Houston

The best art fairs work very hard to attract publicity. They may ask you for a bio ahead of time, they may have talked to you ahead of time ... busy as we all are, taking time to work with the event is the best way we can repay the festivals working hard to be a success. This popped up on my Facebook feed the other day and I want to share it with you. The artist is painter Julia Gilmore being interviewed at the Bayou City Art Festival in Houston, March 19-20, 2022. 

Yes, we're always happy to have the media show up in our booth and we make them welcome, but Julia knocks it out of the park. She lets the interviewer know she is thrilled to be in Houston, thrilled with the event and loves the art fair life. Why am I sharing it with you? Because this is an excellent example of how you can partner with the festival you are participating in. You may not be totally happy, you might be exhausted, your sales might suck ... do you tell this to the press? 
You spent all that money and time to be at that particular art fair -- this is the time to knock it out of the park. Let the festival know you are so happy to be there ... be their partner at bringing people to the show. 

When was the last time you had a chance to be featured like this?

Read more…



Not too long ago I requested information about this show and received one response.  I was surprised as this is a large show.

That prompted me to share my experience in hopes of helping other artists make informed decisions.  

My Medium:  Ceramic Sculptures (Cats)

My Price Points:  $250 - $700

Weather:  Hot and humid Saturday, rain on and off Sunday

Patrons:  Saturday:  steady flow but not a crowd, Sunday:  Thin traffic due to the weather.  In general, the public seemed apathetic

In spite of the weather and lack luster traffic I had a terrific show, although there were many artists that had marginal to zero sales.  The mood of the artists was mostly grim, at least on my street.  So my success was an exception rather than the rule.  Sadly, the buying mood of the public and the weather cannot be predicted with any accuracy. 



Once accepted you are requested to select the location you want.  This really stumped me as I had never done the show or even been in the area.  Also, not all locations have electricity.  What I thought to be the prime location (around a pond) had an early load in with 75 spaces available.  By the time I got to this point of the process, all of those spaces were full.  So I just tossed a dart and selected Walker St.  This turned out to be a good choice as the parks (cement pond and heritage) did not get as much traffic as the streets, or so it seemed to me.


Oh my!

The cement pond and heritage park artists were able to load in around 4 pm, they are required to dolly in.

 My load in time was at 8 pm and they recommended we bring some sort of light in the event the street lights were obscured by trees as was the case in some locations.  We were OK, but I would bring "head lights" next time.  At 7 pm Friday they had us stage at some parking lot far away from the actual show (or so it seemed due to the horrible one way streets which were always going the wrong way).  Artists that donated to "Art Heist" lined up first for a 7:30 load in - then the 8 pm load in - and finally the 8:30 load in.

There was no staff present at 7 pm so most of us were milling around wondering what to do.  We were originally informed that we would have a police escort to our locations.  The staff showed around 7:30, got everyone sorted out and off we went - oops, where were we going . . .no escort, and we got stopped at a light a lost sight of the van in front of us.  But we were able to catch up, and were directed to the proper lane for our street.  With big color coded cards and color coded light sticks, this went smoothly.

We thought that there were not very many artists at the staging area and learned that "those in the know" skipped the staging and went directly to their street. Fortunately it did not present a problem for us and we had no problem locating our space and began setting up.

The booth spaces are located on both sides of the street, one side backs up on the cement pond, and the other side backs up on a steep berm, I think that is the east side.  But you cannot select which side of the street you are on.  Also the street slopes down to the curbs, so plan on leveling as needed.

Booth spaces are about 10.5' wide, no wiggle room at all.  Fortunately, not everyone tried to set up at 8 pm so there was a bit of room to maneuver, however you can imagine the congestion with a 10 ' space available for each artist to park their vehicle when many vehicles are twice that long. There is parking on both sides of the street, but it does get tight depending on your vehicle.  No one parks and unloads their display in the "allotted" hour or two. We all jockeyed around to accommodate the "big rigs" and it was not too bad.  We were there until 11 pm with many artists still setting up.  We were back at 7 am to complete our display.  So, it is an exhausting set up.


I encountered no problems during the show.  Staff came by frequently to provide water, snacks, and relief as needed.  If you make prior arrangements, lunch is delivered for a fee.  Portable pottys are located conveniently. Judges made their usual "fly by" and did not deign to talk to me.  But that was OK, I had a great show.


We were provided with the usual load out instructions - start tearing down at 6 pm, wait for the patrons to clear, and plan to start driving in around 7-7:30 (once we got our Street Captain's OK).

However, due to the weather (even though the rain had stopped) we got the OK to start breaking down around 5:30 and drove to our space once everything was dismantled and ready to load.  This went surprisingly smooth even though we had to pause to jockey our position to allow other vehicles room to pass or park.  Our tear down is usually slow because of packing up the product, but we were on the road by 8:30.

Oh yes, the early load in folks did not have such an easy load out due to limited parking.


Bring bug repellent.  Lots of mosquitoes and flys.

Great underground parking at the Theater District for $7 per day.  Exits to Walker and a short walk to our booth.  Artist parking is really removed from the show, and no shuttle was provided.

Crown Plaza was an acceptable hotel, although a bit pricey.  Even with "free valet parking" be prepared to tip the valet, frequently.  There is no other parking at the hotel.

Bring a fan.  It can be hot in October.

Of course, the staff may change any of the procedures that I have shared with you, but maybe there will be some information here that will be helpful.

It was a positive experience and I thought the staff did a pretty darn good job.

Read more…