covid (3)

Pandemic Rebound? at Art Fairs too?

9735653059?profile=RESIZE_180x180Just when we thought WeWork, Hertz, Airbnb and the XXX Festival of Art had been killed off by COVID, here's the news:

  • WeWork last week became a public company worth $9 billion — after spectacularly imploding in 2019
  • Remember Hertz, the #1 company in car rentals? Their stock tanked at $6.09 a share, yet today up over $100 a share.
  • Airbnb was on its knees as people stopped traveling. Right? When is the last time you booked an Airbnb on the way to an art fair? Their stock hit a low in early August ... but wait! Here it comes back again. 

9735638500?profile=RESIZE_400xNow I can't say for sure about the XXX? Festival, but this we do know, this pandemic nearly killed off the art fair business, the art festival treasuries and the floating income of artists who must float with the economy, let alone the art buyers.

I am hearing of fairs and festivals with empty coffers laying off staff. I am hearing of artists who are hanging it up. I'm hearing of artists at least semi-successfully doing many fewer shows because they have been able to transition online at etsy, virtual events, etc. I also heard them saying, "wow, look how much less money I have to make when I just stay home!"

Are you hearing glimmerings though of really decent sales at the real events that have occurred in the last six months? Are we all emerging stronger afrer the quarantines made us reevaluate? Where do you stand on this? Inquiring minds want to know. 

Death? Resurgence? Hanging on by your teeth? Getting a "real job"? Selling your tent on What about you? (Me, hanging in with all my might).

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Hello! Anybody out there?

Is everybody just folding up tent?

I recently posted two items that were meant to start a discussion and gather information on substantive issues we are all facing in the art fair business.  But I have not received a single comment on either post.  Perhaps you missed them as they were buried in a sea of “Tent for sale” posts that now dominate this board.

We used to have excellent discussions and reports on this board.  Why, at this moment in time when we are faced with more existential questions than ever, is there no interest in sharing information and discussing important changes and challenges?  Is it because everyone on this board is folding up tent and quitting the business? 

Or are some of us still trying to make it work?  If so, let’s talk.

Here are some existential topics begging for reports and discussion:

  • Covid restrictions: Some fairs are restricting traffic, requiring face masks, requiring vaccination, spacing booths apart, not allowing more than two people to be in a booth at the same time, etc.  Are these rules keeping your customers away?  Did you know about them before you set up?  Were they enforced?  Can you make money under these rules?
  • Is the art fair business copying the cruise industry in asking for up-front cash payments for events that may not take place or may be rescheduled, and for which you may or may not get your money back or get “future cruise credits” for instead? Are some art fairs in 2021 pretending to jury in new applicant while rolling over all 2020 invitees?  Which promoters are most likely to go under with our booth fees in their pockets?  How can we prevent that?  Escrow accounts?  Are promoters collecting booth fees for events that they do not yet have all of the permissions for?  Should they be required to tell us when that is the case?
  • Are suburbanites still willing to go downtown for an art fair in this era of social strife and exploding urban murder rates? Any sign that art fairs could be targeted?  Is art fair security being compromised when there is a demonstration in another part of the same city?

You probably have more topics like this.  What would be most useful would be reports from people who have experiences with these topics that they can report on, rather than just opinions.

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Are any art fairs still being held?

Rather than trying to follow the ever-growing list of cancellations, I was wondering if any art fairs anywhere in the country are still actually being held.

According to Zapplication's calendar, there are still uncanceled art fairs scheduled for this weekend.  Is that for real?

Anybody gearing up to participate in an art fair this weekend?  Next weekend?

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