reviews (14)

    Once again I have spent some time evaluating the website.   Take a look.  I think you will find some very interesting facts.  We know many of our artists use our Art Show Reviews website.  We know because you have also told us many times that you do use it when you are making up your schedules. 

    However, we need your help.  This website will not be as useful to you or any other artist if we don't get new show reviews.  We are averaging 1 review for every 4,000 times someone uses our website.  Artists are using us but not giving back.

    I have often asked artists to write a review for certain shows.  Many are hesitant and I have gotten the impression they think I am looking for a bad review.  I am not asking for bad reviews.  I am hoping the reviews are good ones because I hope all the shows are good shows.  However, mainly I am just looking for honest reviews that are helpful to others.

    If you want to review a show that isn't on our website, go ahead and write your review.  If I find we don't have it listed I will add it.  No problem, I am just happy you wrote a review for us.  

    Every year I get a comment that is left on our website like this one:

How come so many of the posted show reviews are from 2-5 years old?  Can't you supply some more updated review information from artists that have done the shows.  After all, many shows go through changes from year to year.

    This comment is very true.  If we don't get new reviews all we have is old reviews.  Shows do change.  Shows try to improve.  We want artists to know the show has changed for the better if it has.  Please help us.  Please consider writing a review for us.  We are just asking for about 5 minutes of your time.

Please give back to keep our website as useful as possible.

#1:  We now have 650 art shows on our website.  Last year we had 643, so we had a slight gain in the past year.

#2.  We still have 7 states that do not have any art and craft shows listed at all.  The states of Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia have never had a show review submitted for them, thus those states have not been added.  If you submit a review for those states I will add the show and get that state on our website.  Surely, someone here has done a show in one of those states.  Please write a review for us.

#3.  The state with the largest amount of shows listed on our website is Florida.  That probably isn't a big surprise.  We have 86 shows listed on our site in Florida, that is two more than the year before.  Coming in second place is Illinois with 43 shows.  Michigan has 37 shows and is in 3rd place. 

#4.   We have 24 states with 10 or less art and craft shows listed.   

#5.   We have three states with only one art or craft show listed for them.  Those states are Arkansas, Rhode Island, and South Dakota.  Anybody have a show they can submit for these states? 

#6.   We still have only one show listed for Canada.  We know they have shows up there.  Does anyone have a show and a review that they could add to that page to make it more valuable?

#7.   We actually have a European page with one show listed.  Has anyone done an European shows yet? We would love to add a couple shows to that page.

#8.   Since our website went live we have had 1,285,929 page views.  That is amazing!  We know artists are using our website.  We need new reviews so that our site remains useful and needed.

#9.   In 2019, we had roughly 130,655 page views.  

#10. In the last 30 days, 1/11/19 - 2/11/20, we have had 10,182 page views.  Of course, this is a time when many artists are using our site to put the finishing touches on their show schedules. 

#11. We usually average about 375 page views per day.  In fact, we had had 257 page views by 8 am today.  Artists were up early and working today. 

#12. We had a total of 30 reviews that were written for us during 2019.  Of course, many people use our website without ever leaving a comment or writing a review.  We also had 17 comments left. 

#13. In the last year, we had 130,655 page views.  Of those over 130 thousand visitors only 30 times did artists leave a review.  Certainly we can give back to the art community better than that.  We want artists to use our website, but we would also need you to give back.  

#14. The average show review probably takes less than 7 minutes to write.  There is a simple form is right there on our website and you just fill it in.  Easy peasy!  Simple as pie!

To submit a show review click on this link:

To submit a show that is not on our website click this link:

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Can you spare 7 minutes of your life to help the art fair community?  Let me convince you.

Below you will find some very interesting facts about   I have spent some time evaluating the information from the website from 2018 that I would like to share with you.   Take a look.  I think you will find some very interesting facts.   Please consider giving back to the Art Fair Community with a review or two ( about 7 minutes per review).


Fact #1:  We now have 643 Art and Craft Shows listed on our site.  We have shows throughout the entire country.  

Fact #2:  We have 7 states that do not have any art and craft shows listed at all.  The states of Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia have never had a show review submitted for them, thus those states have not been added.  We sure would appreciate having some reviews for those states.  

Fact #3:  The state with the largest amount of shows listed on our website is Florida.  That probably isn't a big surprise.  We have 84 shows listed on our site in Florida.  Coming in send place is Illinois with 49 shows.

Fact #4:  We have 25 states with 10 or less art and craft shows listed. 

Fact #5:  We have three states with only one art or craft show listed for them.  Those states are Arkansas, Rhode Island, and South Dakota.  Anybody have a show they can submit for these states? 

Fact #6:  We have one show listed for Canada.  We know they have shows up there.  Does anyone have a show and a review that they could add to that page to make it more valuable?

Fact #7:  We actually have a European page with one show listed.  Has anyone done an European shows yet?  We would love to add a couple shows to that page.

Fact #8:  Since our website went live we have had 1,155,274 page views.  That is amazing!  We know artists are using our website.  We need new reviews so that our site remains useful and needed.

Fact #9:  In the last 30 days, 12/12/18 - 1/12/19, we have had 11,964 page views.  Of course, this is a time when many artists are using our site to put the finishing touches on their show schedules. 

Fact #10:  We usually average about 381 page views per day.  In fact, we had had 111 page views by 11am today.  Artists were up early and working today. 

Fact #11:  Ninety two reviews or comments were left on ASR during 2018.  Of course, many people use our website without ever leaving a comment or writing a review.  Of the 92 comments left, 58 of those were actual show reviews using our list of questions to answer for the shows.  Those 58 reviews are more useful to artists.

Fact #12:  In the last year we had 143,568 page views.  Of those over 143 thousand visitors only 58 times did artists leave a review.  Certainly we can give back to the art community better than that.  

Fact #13:  The average show review probably takes about 7 minutes to write.  The form is right there on our website and you just fill it in.  Easy peasy!

Fact #14:  To submit a show review click on this link:

Fact #:  To submit a show that is not on our website click this link:

One person who visited our website left this comment:

How come so many of the posted show reviews are from 2-5 years old? Can't you supply some more updated review information from artists that have done the shows. After all, many shows go through changes from year to year.

My answer back to this person was sure, we would love to add more current and up to date reviews for each show.  However, if the artists don't submit the reviews I can't add them.  Our website will be as useful to artists if everyone does their part.  It is only 7 minutes!

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Art Show Reviews written by You

I just want to thank Jeff Gracz for submitting several show reviews this month.  He wrote reviews for several west coast shows.  We are always looking for some west coast shows to help out artists on the west coast. 

You all know how important it is to have an idea of what to expect before applying to an art show.  Nobody likes to be blindsided once you get to a show and find out it is nothing like you hoped it would be.  That is why art show reviews are so important.  You can find art show reviews at

Here are a few west coast shows that we really could use a few more reviews for.  So, if you have done any of the shows listed here we would love you to review one or a few of them.

Bigfork Festival of the Arts - Montana

Proctor Arts Fest - Washington

Sequim Lavender Festival Street Fair - Washington

RAGS Wearable Art Show - Washington

Urban Craft Uprising - Seattle

Lake Chelan Fine Arts Festival - Washington

Bellevue Festival of the Arts - Washington

Woodland Hills Art & Craft Faire - California

America's Clay Fest III - California

We would also be happy for anyone to review any other show that you would like to.  If you want to review a show not on our site, that is fine.  Just submit it and I will get it added for you.  Then, you can add your review once I get it posted to the site.

To write a review or to submit a show just go to

And once again, thanks so much Jeff Gracz for all of your help.  It was so appreciated.

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HAE Sarasota, A Pleasant Surprise

Over the years, I have been as critical as anyone regarding the Howard Alan Shows. I think he has too many shows and has diluted the market, at least here in Florida. This is exacerbated by the fact that many other promoters saw HAE's success and have copied his business model leading to a further dilution of the market. No show is special now because there are so many of them.

To compound the problem, all the big shows in Florida have expanded their events to create circus like atmosphere's charging entry fees and adding more food, more sponsor booths, more music, and as many other things that distract from the thing that made those shows great, which is the art work.

Increasingly every year, I felt that we, the artists, were just the draw to get people to come and then the show tried everything they could to take their money with items that would make them money. Increasingly, I felt used as my gross sales declined and the attendance grew. Many of us have stopped coming down to Florida because it wasn't a viable market anymore. This could be difficult for some because we need the cash flow to pay for all the spring, summer, and fall shows that are due now and in the next couple of months. Enter the Howard Allan Shows.

The first thing you notice about the HA shows is that they haven't changed much over the years. He has a formula that works. Thirty years ago, we only did HA shows if we couldn't get into the blockbuster events. To their credit, they were and are loyal to their artists. If you supported them, they supported you by letting you have a space. That worked for a lot of people and artists preferred to do HA events because they could count on having a space in their shows.

Another word for not changing much is "consistency." That is a good thing. As shows got bigger and bigger adding more and more annoying distractions, HA stuck to the formula that the art is, not only the most important thing, it's the only thing. There are no food vendors, no music, no begging artists for donations for silent auctions, no t-shirt booths, no poster booths, no beer, etc., etc,. There is only the art. Ironically, as I was whining incessantly about all the crap at shows, I avoided Howard Allan events. I should have been paying closer attention.

I have done the Coconut Grove Arts Festival for over 30 years. I have won my share of awards there and numerous purchase prizes, when they made an effort to cultivate buyers. They used to have a pre-show event, starting at 8 AM on Saturday. The patrons would commit to supporting the artists by buying show bucks weeks before the show. They would get to see the images at pre-show events during the week and they would make notes as to who they wanted to buy from before the show started. This was fantastic.

For me, a few years in a row, I would have my best show ever before the show even opened at 10 AM on Saturday. CGAF has the record for my biggest single art fair day and it has been my best show ever. Sadly they cut this out a number of years ago, added a gate fee, brought the food vendors closer to the artists, added beer hawkers, replaced the appropriate live jazz with raucous music, appealing to a younger crowd that had no interest in buying art. Last year was the tipping point as they added a t-shirt/poster booth kitty corner to my space and parked a golf cart across from me and left it there all day. So, I didn't even bother to apply this year.

I had a choice to make to replace the Grove show. There was St Stephens. If I did that, I might as well go ahead and do CGAF because they are in the same area. I could have done Arti Gras, which I have never done. Arti Gras like CGAF, charges a ridiculous gate fee. Someone said it was $12. Someone else said it was $16. Either way, that was unacceptable. I wasn't about to support that. I could have done the rotary Sanibel Island show. I did that show once and I didn't like the fact that the show is run by ex-military types that were control freaks. I felt that I had to ask permission to go to the bathroom. So, that was out. That left the Howard Allan Sarasota Show. I'm glad I did it.

Set up is the morning of the show. This starts at 3:30 AM. You get to drive to your booth, unload your display and work, and then go park. If you arrive after 5:30, you have to dolly in. You are not supposed to start setting up your tent until 5:30. It takes me over an hour to unload, so, by the time I parked and got back to my booth, I could start setting up. Set up is really easy. There is plenty of space to drive in and unload.

There is more than enough free parking for artists. Since there are no vendors, there are no huge beer trucks, food trucks, etc. that you have to fight and work around. Take down is even easier, as there again is a lot of space and load out is staggered because everyone packs up at their own rate. One real pet peeve at a lot of shows is that the show tries to control load in and load out. I've often said that if you leave it up to the artists, it would only take a couple of hours to get in and out. If the show controls this, it will take 8 hours or more. HA allows the artists to control the set up and take down, so, of course, it is a quick pleasant experience.

The show opens at 10 AM. People start arriving at 9:30. There are only artists booths. As I said before there are no food booths, beer hawkers, etc. Consequently, there are no twenty somethings drinking and checking out the girls. There are only people who are serious about the art. I had many great conversations and a lot of compliments because, lo and behold, people were there to look at and buy the art work.

The one thing that everyone says about Howard Alan Events is that he brings in the crowds. I found this to be true. The streets are wide. Where I was, the booths faced each other. there is a section where booths are back to back. You get 11-12 feet, so, you aren't packed in like sardines. I'm guessing there are only 200 booths. Certainly, there aren't 400 booths. I saw everyone twice.

As a patron, it is an easy show to do. If you want eat something there are some really nice small restaurants around the show. The street is clean and wide so if the show had a lot of customers, there were no bottlenecks. A block away on a side street there is a farmers market with some great things to buy. You wouldn't know it was there unless you walked down the street. The area is upscale but not glitzy. Just my kind of place.

I never post numbers, but, everyone I talked to had a solid show. Some had a great show. My price points are $80-$800. I only sold only a few pieces under $200. I love making sculptural non-functional teapots. I used to sell 6-8 per show. The past few years I maybe sell 1 or 2 if I am lucky. Here I sold 6 teapots and all 3 sizes. Saturday, was kind of slow for me. On Sunday, I had a 3 hour period where I couldn't write fast enough. I will definitely do this show again next year.

In conclusion, this is a hassle free show, with plenty of patrons, free parking for artists and most importantly sales. Howard and Debbie have a strong presence at the show. They stop and talk to everyone numerous times. Debbie found it necessary to help fix up my booth with foliage, which I appreciated and enjoyed. When I think about how annoyed I was the past few years with the shows I did on this weekend, with how good I felt after this one, I had a good laugh. There were no negatives in Sarasota only positives. I liked it so well, I am going to do HA's Coconut Pointe show next weekend in Bonita Springs.

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Estes Park is the gateway to the east side of Rocky Mountain Park and this year was its 100th anniversary.  There are many summer homes in the area and it is a destination for a broad spectrum of nationalities, income levels, and interests.  I started doing this show in 2010, and I have done it every year since then.  I also do the Memorial Day show in Estes Park.  Gross sales at the September Labor Day show since 2010 have been in the $3-$5K range, and I have considered it a good solid show.  The show is produced by the Estes Valley Sunrise Rotary, Inc. and they do an all-around EXCELLENT job!!!!  The town is packed for the weekend, and leading up to the show there was a lot of promotion on Facebook.  The show is setup with 103 booths set up around the perimeter of Bond Park and in the parking lot for the town hall.  Clean, indoor, accessible restrooms are in the town hall.

SETUP AND TAKE DOWN.  Set up officially begins at 9:00am on Friday but Rotarians are present to check you in as early as 7:30am.  If you are early you can park at your site to unload.  Street parking is available within a block of the show, but oversize vehicle and trailers have to park at the fairgrounds.  Free shuttle service is available from there, and in town.  Volunteers are available to assist with unloading and set up.

     Takedown begins at 3:00pm on Monday and volunteers were there to help.  Like set up, traffic was controlled and vehicles were not allowed in until you were ready to load.  After paying your sales tax, you get a yellow ticket.  When your booth is knocked down and you are ready to load you get a blue pass to bring your vehicle in.  We loaded around 7:30pm.

WEATHER.  Temperatures were in the 70’s.  There were brief showers Sunday.  An unweighted booth went over in a gust of wind Friday night and another had breakage knocked off a wall. 

 THE SHOW.  The town was packed with people and thousands went through the art show.  There was seldom a time when people were not in my booth, and I had several repeat clients.  Belts were my top seller, with holsters, suspenders, spur straps, and several custom orders thrown in.  My sales were in the $4-5K range, and my largest sale was $475 for a silver mounted headstall and two breast collars (horse gear).  There was a good balance of all art/craft mediums including edibles like jellies and salsas.  There is no buy/sell at this show.  Nuts and bolts for the show are in  The Rotarians have coffee and goodies in the morning, and booth sitters. All taxes are paid to the Rotary at the end of the show.

ANALYSIS.  I have come close to hitting the “home run” of $5K gross sales at this show a couple times.  My inventory of flasks and checkbooks was pretty lean by this, the last shown of the season.  Most of the belts sold were plain, and only a few were the more expensive carved with or without silver buckles.  I sold out of some sizes and some styles of buckles but didn’t loose and sales because of that.  The Estes crowd is definitely middle class and families visiting the park.  It is also a destination for Denver motorcycle clubs making the run up Big Thompson Canyon and over Trail Ridge Road.

THE OTHER FUN STUFF.  There were lots of different dog breeds and babies at the show.  Interacting with both was fun.  We were able to rent our favorite cabin that is just up the hill from Bond Park.  It was built in 1898 but it is modern and cozy. The hot tub is great after a day on the street.  Our son and his family came up for a cook out Saturday and we got to visit with our college and high school age grandsons.  Tuesday after the show we headed to the park and drove up Fall River Road (one lane dirt one way) up to Trail Ridge Road.  We saw elk and mountain sheep.

I cannot emphasize enough the need to be in top physical condition for doing shows.  I will be 72 in a couple weeks and Jean is 68.  Set up takes us 7 1/2 hours of steady work and take down is 4 1/2 hours.  We don’t diddle around, but we have lots of inventory.  At the end of the days we are still energized and not exhausted.  We do yoga 1-2 times a week and work out with a personal trainer once a week.




8869164700?profile=original8869165055?profile=original8869165263?profile=original8869165097?profile=original8869165456?profile=originalPhotos:  1. Setup Friday morning, Longs Peak. 14,259’

             2. Saturday crowd

             3. A pampered dog with green paws, pink and purple tail and ears.

             4. Fall River Road

             5. Longs Peak from Trail Ridge Road

             6. Bull elk 

             7. Bear Bottom Cabin  

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We like breaking records here at AFI

If you missed the Daily Tip a few days ago you may not know that we broke a record here at AFI.  We broke our record for the number of art show reviews submitted during a one month period.  In April we had 56 reviews submitted!  That was simply amazing. 

Everyone realizes that it is a real help to have a place where you can check a show out before you apply.  Nobody likes to go into a show blind.  Artists also hate to waste the jury fee if you find out later that the show just isn't a good fit with your art work or that there is something just not right about a certain show.  It is always good to be able to do some research before you apply to a show. 

We also try very hard (and it is quite an undertaking) to keep up to date and ready to use.  Not only do I add the reviews people write to our site but I also try very hard to make sure all the other show vitals are current.  It is nice to find jury fees, booth fees, application dates and show venues all right there to help you with making your decisions. 

We have over 200 shows on our site now.  Plus, we keep adding new shows every week.  We also try to make sure that we have a good variety of shows on our website from all parts of the country.  There are so many art shows up and down the eastern half of the country that our website would be full even if we only included shows from that side of the country.  But, we don't want that.  We want our website to have a great variety of shows from one side of the country to the other to help artists everywhere.  However, to be able to provide that service to artists that requires your help.  That is why Connie put out a post asking for reviews.  Artists make our site what it is today.  That is why we often times will ask people to review a show they were just in. 

So, getting back to our record, you might like to know just how big this record break was.  Our previous record was set about 2 years earlier.  Our high point had been 40 reviews in a month.  That, in it self, is a lot of reviews, too.  I am the person that gets the reviews added into the site and I was so busy this  past April that I decided I needed to check out how many reviews I had been working on.  I counted up over forty reviews.  That was around April 20th.  So, I set out asking a few more people to submit  a couple more reviews.  Many people responded and the reviews kept coming in.  I didn't tell Connie I was working hard to get a few more reviews.  I wanted it to be a surprise when she saw our new record posted as the tip of the day. 

We all know that records are made to be broken.  We can break that record again with your help.  Quite often we hear artists say how thankful they are that they can have the use of a site like Art Show  If you use our website and you like it, please take a few minutes to write up a review.  It really only takes a few minutes and the information is so useful and helpful to so many people.  How about this, if our website was useful to you could you add one show review as a way to say thank you.  This plea is for those who have never written a show review before.  Of course, we also won't turn down any reviews that are submitted by those who help us out regularly.

We really appreciate the many artists who have helped us over the last few years to make Art Show Reviews such a helpful site.  We could not have done it without you.

Let's go for another record!

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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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Been to any art fairs lately?

We all know this art fair business is full of frustration, fun, financial challenge, friends, and fascinating questions about what will happen next. 

I'm sure you remember when you started in the business the helpfulness of other artists and the great tips you picked up "behind the booth." This was invaluable information that has built your business. Any chance you can "pay it forward?"

Wll you post a 2013 show review or two on The reviews are coming in steadily but yours would be so appreciated. 

It's easy and fast:

  1. Click this link 
  2. Answer the questions - about 10 of them
  3. Sit back and receive the good karma. You've done your good deed for the day and your reward is on its way.

Here are some of the reasons artists have told us they post reviews:

I saw that there were no comments or reviews posted and I felt that this was a good show that deserved a review.
I always review the big shows. More people should.
I think it helps to know about shows. and hope others will post what shows they do as well.
To help other artists.
I've learned a lot from reading at this site and wanted to reciprocate. gets 500-600 "hits" a day. Someone is reading it. Could it be you? How about an early holiday gift to the community that supports you? Click here to add a review of that show you can't get off your mind.
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Second art fair review, here we go...

This was my second juried art fair.  Two years ago, when I was in the beginning phases of learning everything I could from the Art Fair Insiders forums, my family & I were in Flagstaff and checked out the Flagstaff Art in the Park 4th of July event.  At the time, I was taking lots of mental notes and thought to myself, maybe next year?  Maybe by then I'll have a display put together and enough art and get into this art fair.

So, two years and a couple of months later, it was pretty cool to be juried into their Labor Day event.  


I'm still new at the art fair review thing, so I'll try to do my best here. 

Application process: they are not on Zapp, so you mail in your application along with three photos of individual art pieces and a photo of your booth.  Two checks go with the application, one for the jury fee and one for the booth fee, which is cashed when you are juried in or returned if you are not.

Communication: the organizer, Stu, returned emails quickly and was good to deal with.  At the art fair, I saw him pretty often, although I actually wasn't introduced to him... I just knew who he was from having seen the Facebook page.  He was personable and easy to talk to.

Location: the art fair is in Wheeler Park, a block off Route 66 and visible from it.  The park is right on the road heading up to the ski hill, which is a well-used thoroughfare, so the location is highly visible.  Pretty hard to miss if you're doing more than just driving by on the freeway.  Flagstaff is a very popular location for people to escape the heat of the Phoenix area, being only about 2 1/2 hours away.  All weekend, it was fun to ask people where they were from.  Quite a variety of answers.

Load in: it was busy, but I guess that's pretty expected when everybody is trying to set up all at the same time.  We arrived about an hour and a half after the time when you could start setting up, so things were well under way when we got there.  They allow you to park in the parking lot by the park during load in, and lots of people had their vehicles on the side road by the park.  We were even double-parked on that side road for a time, but it was pretty quick and nobody seemed to mind while the set up was going on.

Parking: it's about a block away at the Catholic school, although I actually never saw it, because my husband dropped me off at the curb by my booth each day and went to park the van.

The fair itself: the art fair is advertised as a fine arts & crafts fair, which is what it is.  I wasn't sure going in how I'd do, being more on the "fine art" end of things.  It seemed that the lower-priced items were more popular with the patrons of this event.  We had a major downpour on Saturday, which definitely hampered things.  It was amazing to see how many people came out after the heaviest rains were over, carrying umbrellas and wearing raincoats.  These people didn't seem fazed by rain.

On Sunday & Monday, we had beautiful weather and lots of crowds.  On Sunday, there was a farmers market nearby, so a lot of the folks going there came through the art fair on their way to and from the farmers market. 

As for how I did?  Well... I sold some smaller prints but didn't come anywhere near to making my booth fee, let alone meeting my total expenses.  But it was still a lovely weekend, fun to visit with the other artists and talk with a lot of really interesting people who came by, a nice getaway for my family from the heat.  And, it was pretty cool being a part of the event that I had hoped to get into, back at the beginning before I had a display or even enough paintings to really contemplate getting into a juried event.

I'm still trying to find my niche for my art, whether the art fair market is even the right place to try to sell my work.  So, if I were another artist, I wouldn't necessarily decide whether or not to try this event based on my results.  But my gut feeling is that if you are more on the "fine art" side of things, it might not be the best venue.  It seemed that most of what was being bought were the smaller, less pricey items.

I'm not giving up on this art fair thing yet.  I've got a juried art festival coming up in a couple of months, and we'll see how I do there.  I just have to pace myself on applying for more art fairs, because paying booth fees without selling enough to cover the fees adds up pretty quickly. 

I have learned pretty much everything I know about art fairs from AFI, and I have to say it really helped a lot at my first out-of-town, first major downpour, art fair.  Thanks, Art Fair Insiders! :)


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I know this is a little late, but the information within is designed to be bipartisan; understanding of the investment from the artist and understanding of the logistics from the promoter.

I live in Philadelphia, so it's hard not to love Pittsburgh...we're distant, competing cousins of one another.  Last year was my first year at Shadyside and most artists would have considered my booth "stuck towards the end" (towards Bruegger's Bagels), and I still had a decent show: expenses plus some and some more for the bank.

Logistically I would say that the show is a) lucky to be there and b) a set-up/break-down headache; and I would follow that by saying that a set-up/break-down experience is only remembered through the lens of how much money you make.  Has anyone done Three Rivers?  I had to dolly two blocks and the entire length of the park to get to my booth, but the money I made quieted my critical claims.  The parking situation is cumbersome, but only if you don't read your information packet.  My husband was a marketing grunt in a law firm in Philly, so all emails are treated with immediate responses: I haven't received one email from a promoter that was not worth opening--information packets are worth the time to glance over...DVR your show, and read on.

So I'm done setting up, and I'm parked at the "school" parking lot and before 10am rolls around I have people poking around my booth asking how much things are and if I'm going to be around tomorrow; sure sign of a veteran art fair walker.  I made my first sale around 10:15 (thank you square) and it was enough to almost cover my booth, not a bad start.  The energy of the neighborhood is young, and it rewards people who are not afraid to take chances with their medium.  I met allot of doctors, engineers, and young professionals (teachers, nurses, business folks, and masters students) who were not only interested in my work, but the whole picture of who I am as an artist--and that's rare.  My sales for Saturday were stronger than Sunday, but after Saturday I could have easily gone home happy.  The thing I like most about Shadyside is the people; of course I won't lie and say I don't like their money, but I am just as excited to bring them new ideas and designs, as they are to receive them.

If I could offer criticism to the show it would file under the "knit-picking" range: flower pots that block the sidewalk, sewer ranges that smell, trash cans that overflow, cars passing by three out of seven main avenues...but again, living in Philly makes me offer this caveat: if you're concerned for you and your clients well-being in a city environment to the point where an abundance of patrons is a negative factor...then don't do city shows.  Having done Rittenhouse and Manayunk in Philly I can tell you that the abundance of stress for set-up/break-down are well worth it for the sheer number of people that descend on the location.  The same can be said for Shadyside, and many other Howard Alan shows.  Who among you wouldn't go through the same trouble for Alexandria or Delray?  I can't wait to wipe the sweat from my brow this coming Saturday--and I know it's going to be a humid mess--to parade my work to those people who will spend their day off and hard earned dollars, on my work...and I know I'm throwing my hat in for Shadyside next year.

Anyone been to the Chinese place on Walnut?  Their $2 won-ton soup is OUT OF CONTROL!!  All my best to the community of artists who don't believe in the word "recession".

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Alexandria 2011


  I didn’t hear any complaints from the just over 200 artists about setup, not a peep.  The farmers market crew resembled longshoreman versus the artists setting up our dainty ornaments, and they surely set the economic tone early with people bustling about with bags full of produce and baked goods.  The beginning of Saturday was like any other first day, cold at first with allot of walk-aholics, but within my first hour I had a hard bite on a big piece--who returned early Sunday with the family and left with a modest purchase.  The security at the show was tight, and a welcomed sight during last weekend--the upgrade in security, thanks to the township and  Howard Allen Events. Alexandria seemed politely detached from the media-blown depression of our saddest 10 year anniversary--not disrespectful, simply unapologetic for enjoying their day.  Sunday may have seen fewer numbers than in the past, but the people who were there were all (mostly all) walking with one or more different vendor’s bags--which is AMAZING.  It’s one thing to report a great day for yourself, but when you see multiple patrons walking around with three different colored bags, with three different mediums, it makes you feel like you’re in the right place.  

Set up is always my least favorite thing, but the farmers market crew helped me through with their show of country strength and hearty laughter.  Howard, Debbie, H.A. crew, and the local authorities were a delight, neighbors of D.C. and surrounding boroughs came out to meet and peruse, and in closing, I suggest you splurge on the Hotel Monaco or the Westin (where my husband and I stayed) because they’re within walking distance, and a 5min drive respectively.  I heard people got $60-$70 rooms very close as well, for the economically inclined.  Also, with a standard sized van, you can park in a garage between King and Pitt streets for $2 a day!  Sweet :)

Good luck for the final days of the Summer Season.


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Art Show Reviews

Hello everyone,


We could use some artists to write a few show reviews for  If you are not familiar with this website, take a few minutes to look it over.  We have no reviews for Hawaii, Alaska, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Oregon.  We also have several states that have only one art show review.  Montana, Nevada, Alabama, and Canada just have one show review.  I want to ask anyone out there if they could help us out by adding a few reviews so that we can get some more shows added.  You are also welcome to add any show reviews you want to the other states.  It will all be welcome.

Thanks for your help,

Jacki B

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Ann Arbor Revisited

I needed to wait a week to write my comments about Ann Arbor.  A friend of mine called me last Thursday and she said she still hadn't recovered from the grueling 4 day show. I was feeling the same, except that I had another setup on Friday and then 2 more days of direct sunlight. So, it's taken me another week to get it together. 


I think I am uniquely qualified to talk about Ann Arbor because I have watched this show for 45 years from different perspectives.  When I was 15 years old, I thought I was an intellectual.  I joined a summer group that introduced me to a lot of very cool things.  We listened to Coltrane and Charley Parker.  We read Ginsberg poetry and James Joyce novels. We went to the old Hillsberry theater to see Shakespeare and to the movie theater to see "Raisin in the Sun," Lastly, we took a trip to Ann Arbor to see the art fair.  In those days the show was on just South University and East U. Artists leaned there paintings against ladders and potters displayed their pots on old crates. That was 1964.  After I got out of college, in 1972, I ended up working as a store manager and buyer in the shoe business.  We had 6 stores in Michigan and I ended up at the Ann Arbor store on South U., where I ran our store for 2 years. During the Art Fair we brought all our sales merchandise from the other stores and set up racks on the street.  We did 1/3 of our yearly business during those 4 days.  In those days, the Ann Arbor Art Fair was the premier show in the country and many of the artists were museum quality. Realizing that retail was not for me, I went back to school and took clay classes at a college.  I started doing art fairs in 1981 and got into the State Street show in 1982 and I have done it off and on for the past 30 years.


By the time I got into the Ann Arbor shows, they had morphed into 3 shows, the Original, State Street, and the Guild.  The reason for this was that the whole business community wanted to get into the act of selling their old merchandise during an otherwise slow time.  This worked throughout the '80s and the '90's because the artists did well and the merchants did well.  But, make no mistake, this was always about the merchants selling their wares.  We were just there to get the people to come to Ann Arbor.  The show committees never did much for the artists but it didn't matter because we did really well.  And expenses were low. You could get a room at the Michigan League or the Bell Tower for less than $80.  You could park in a lot for less than $5, but, if you got there early and left after 10PM you didn't have to pay anything. Show fees were less than a third of what they are today.


In those days, the Original show was considered the best show, State Street next, and then the Guild.  But it worked because once you got into your show and got a space, you stayed in your space for years so that your customers could find you. The shows had grown to over 1200 exhibitors. Consequently, the quality of the 3 shows remained high and there wasn't much difference in the shows.  Everyone had their preferred space.  I know plenty of great artists, like John Long, who had a spot on Main Street(the Guild Show), for years. The State Street show liked to put its best artists on North University to compete with the Original show.  I was on North University in those days and I loved my space.  North U. did not have any vendors on the street except for Moe's Sport Shop.  The rest of the street was dedicated to the artists. I regularly did between $6000 and $10000, which in todays dollars would be $10K-$18K. The Ann Arbor shows were considered in the top 2 shows along with Coconut Grove.


In the late '90' things were starting to change.  Sales were still good, but, we would hear grumbling from the merchants wishing we weren't there.  And, you'd hear about the locals saying they go out of town during the event.  And, it seemed like everyone with a parking lot or an empty building were renting out spaces to anyone willing to pay for it. And, the 3 legit shows kept adding booths, opening new streets. Starting around 2001 things started to change.  Attendance started to go down very slightly.  The buyers starting staying home because the shows had gotten too big.  None of the serious art buyers wanted to wade through all the junk to get to the good stuff.  Even though sales were off all little, they were still good, so, nobody really complained.  


Things really started to nose dive in the mid 2000's(2005? I'm guessing) when the Original Show had a problem with the South University Area Association.  I can't speak to the problem because I don't know any of the details, but, the Original Show was moved to the campus on North University abutting the State Street Show. The SUAA started their own show in the same location of the old Original and now there were 4 legit shows.  Show fees started to skyrocket, there was absolutely no free parking anywhere, and if you wanted to stay at the Bell Tower it would cost you $350 for a room.  It is my opinion that the attitude of the merchants and Ann Arbor, in general, crossed a line.  They never welcomed us warmly except to thank us for bringing all that business to the local community. But then around 2005 it seemed that they started taking us for granted.  Many, many really great artists stopped doing the show and over the years are being replaced with average or really poor exhibitors. And, more and more commercial vendors showed up on the streets and in spaces where artists used to be.  And still, none of us really complained, except a few of us, because sales were still decent and since the majority of exhibitors hadn't done these events during the golden age, they accepted the status quo.


Then came this year, and because of the heat, which kept people away and kept people from buying, you are all whining and saying all the things that I have been saying for the past 10 years.  I agree with everything that was said in Nels review and everything that was said in the comments.  I've always been accused of whining too much.  I really glad some other people stepped up to the plate and said what needed to be said.  This was the worst year ever in the history of the show.  I would have been embarrassed to show some of the things that I saw being sold in the booths.  With the reputation that Ann Arbor has, you would think they could attract better art.  Oh yeah, ridiculously high booth fees, high parking fees, inflated hotel rooms, and commercial vendors encroaching on the artists spaces.  Maybe the smart ones are doing something else.  On any weekend there are now 5 shows to chose from.


Some of you talked about reducing the hours and making the show 3 days.  That will never happen.  Nothing will ever change because the Ann Arbor events are about and have always been about the merchants selling their sales merchandise.  I heard some grumbling about boycotting the shows.  None of you have the balls or the commitment to do that and that would be the only way to change things. As I've said many, many times we create business for any community that has a show.  That, in turn, creates taxable income, so that the city and the state benefit from our being there.  Ironically, no other community benefits more from a show than Ann Arbor and no community takes us for granted more than Ann Arbor.  So, unless you are willing to make a real commitment, nothing will ever change.


Now about the economy and the show in general:  I talked to a lot of people.  The thing that makes the Ann Arbor shows great is that it attracts people from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.  No other show does that and because of that fact, there is always the possibility of making great sales no matter what the conditions are.  What was missing this year were the buyers from the North suburbs of Detroit, who make up the majority of the buyers at this show.  It was way too hot.  The radio stations were telling people to stay inside and not go anywhere, which meant not coming to the show.  And in talking to everyone, it seemed that everyone I talked to were from other states.  I talked to nobody from West Bloomfield, Birmingham, etc. Those people stayed home and that was the real reason why people did poorly.  In fact, there was some indication that things are turning around for those of us that make one of a kind objects.  I base that on the fact that I hadn't seen any gallery owners for 2 years.  I could always count on at least 1 gallery order at any show that I would do.  In the past 2 weeks, including Ann Arbor, I had 4 galleries come into my booth and express wanting to do business again. One gallery had sold all my work this summer and needed more. Two of the galleries were galleries that that I had sold to regularly in the '90's but hadn't bought in the past 10 years.  They are now eager for new work.  Because of this, I feel that things are turning around for us. 


I will probably do the show next year because I've always accepted the situation and am willing to live with it.

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