Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

I was really excited to get into this show. I had high hopes.  I even bought a double booth space and put up the 15' for the first time.

First of all the show is a joy to do from almost every aspect.  Unfortunately that missing aspect was sales.  Setup is easy and leisurely.  Staff support is wonderful.  When I first go to my space there was supposed to be someone next to me but a bush in the area made it impossible for both of us to set up in the space and the staff immediately found a different space for the other booth with no argument or hassle.  The staff person assigned to my area even hunted down a place where I could buy a shofly pie for me.  A lovely breakfast was supplied Sat. and Sun. and there was a dinner but I didn't get to it.  With a few exceptions the art work was exceptional.  I felt honored to be among them.  We were allowed to drive in and park behind or in front of the booth for breakdown which also went very smoothly.

But sales were awful.  I zeroed on both Friday and Sunday with some minimal sales on Saturday.  The weather was not great, hot and humid, but not the worst I have seen this season.  Others around me had similar results.  The only person near me that I saw making sales was a local painter.  I saw very few packages.  Usually I can at least engage people even if the sales are slim but even that was difficult.  The only people who really talked with me were photographers who either wanted to give me advice or pick my brain for my techniques.  I gave out a lot of cards and my website traffic spiked on Monday but so far none of the promised orders.  It ended up being my only losing show so far this season.

If I were local and didn't have to get one of the expensive hotels in the area I might go back but I'm not local and I'll have to give this one a pass in the future.

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Comment by Bernard Zalon on September 6, 2013 at 11:36am

Yeah, it's a windy show.

Comment by Linda Schwartz on September 6, 2013 at 11:33am

I agree about Reston. The year I was there they put me on a side street. WAY less traffic for the same high booth fee. And terrible crosswinds.

Comment by Bernard Zalon on September 6, 2013 at 11:26am

Reston wants $50 for an application fee.  On that basis alone I won't apply.

Comment by Alison Thomas on September 6, 2013 at 11:13am

Considering that my two best shows this year have been small community shows I am rethinking my approach for next year.  Reston, which accepted me once, and has rejected me for the past three years will get no application from me this year.  I'm passing on an application for Winter Park and instead doing my trip to Florida to coincide with may daughter and family's trip to Disney World.  I'm really beginning to doubt the viability of these big name expensive shows.

Comment by Paul willsea on September 6, 2013 at 10:36am
I was there in 2010 and this year. 2010 was excellent. This year not.
Comment by Bernard Zalon on September 6, 2013 at 9:55am

After many years of trying, I finally got in to Long's Park two years ago.  I had the same disappointing experience.  No sales.  I'm done applying to that show.

Comment by Connie Mettler on September 6, 2013 at 9:38am

Alison, this is so hard to believe. Back in the day people were crazed to be in this show -- one of the best in the country, and I know they have continued to hold their high standards, but this paucity of sales is disturbing. So sorry to hear about this. I'm sure it makes you reconsider the whole business of art fairs and obviously there are no "givens." You know your next show will be better.

Comment by Robert Wallis on September 5, 2013 at 9:31pm
Don't you just love it when all those wannabe photographers out there try to pump you for information? They're convinced that the expensive camera they bought last year is going to pay for itself, and they're going to make a fortune going on the circuit. Maybe I should take on a bunch of them as apprentices and get them to do the heavy lifting ;-)
Comment by Stephanie Nadolski on September 5, 2013 at 7:29pm

Wow - so sorry to hear about your show at Long's Park. The first year I did it I did well and then it went slowly downhill for fine art sales in my mind. Haven't even applied for a few years now.

Comment by Linda Schwartz on September 5, 2013 at 7:24pm

I am only doing shows within daily driving distance. I can not justify spending money on hotels, when it's getting hard to even make the booth fee. 

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