Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
The Lakefront Festival of the Arts in Milwaukee, WI, is one of those shows where participation is so highly coveted that artists tell me they always look two or three times at the acceptance to make sure it is true.
In all of our years doing shows there was never another one where we got rejected so many times but still kept trying. You know: times change, judges change, work changes, etc.
Perennial prizewinner, ceramicist William Kidd
Milwaukee is only a 5 hour drive from here in southern Michigan and I needed to see it again for myself. Arriving around 2 pm on Friday after having driven through very heavy rain and high winds which also had pelted the Milwaukee area, it was a pleasure to see the beautiful art museum and the big tents of the show still standing.
The show is held at the Milwaukee Art Museum on the western shore of Lake Michigan. It has often been the victim of bad weather with heavy rain, visitors slogging through straw and plywood flooring put down to get them through the show so that a committee got together awhile back and found massive tents that are erected across Museum Drive on the grounds. Artists booths are backed up to the sides leaving it wide open down the middle for easy load in and out and enabling prospective customers to navigate through the show in their dress up clothes regardless of weather.
Why the show is hard to get into:
I had missed the Friday morning rush but heard from several people "big stuff" was walking out of the tent. The storm may have chased those people home with their cargo and when I got there the crowd was pretty good but not huge.
The show went until 10 pm on Friday night with attendance bolstered by corporate parties (Morgan Stanley, Kohl's and PNC Bank) sponsored in the Milwaukee Magazine Wine Garden and the new Blue Moon Beer Garden (imagine a beer garden in Milwaukee!) encouraging people to spend the evening at the show.
There is a lot of competition for the high end buyer with huge sculpture, fabulous furniture, finewoven clothing, keepsake jewelry, wall-sized paintings, etc. You get the idea. However, this is one of those shows where the "regular" folks like to shop also (it is the coolest event that happens all year in Milwaukee, imho) so if you have work that isn't so high end you may do fine also.
You enter the grounds of the museum through a sculpture garden. These sculptures are by Richard Turner and Eric Carroll.
Then the huge tents that reminded me of being in an international airport terminal but which means the show will go on!
Most of the show is in the tent but part of it is in the Museum of Art itself. There were probably 20 exhibitors indoors. Indoor artists had made this choice and they were highly coveted. Many "wearables" were in this area.
The view from inside the museum:
There were lots of old and new friends to see, including Oscar Matos Linares who has made such good contributions to AFI, big beautifully printed and evocative photos, and potter/fiber artist Stephen Kostyshyn:
Poster artist was fiber artist Sandi Garris, here making a nice sale:
Here is her work on which the poster was based, a million pieces of hand dyed cottons comprising the modern equivalent of a quilt:
Nicario Jimenez with his retablos:
The most amazing work I saw was the weaving by
Susan Klebanoff who was participating in her first
But how were the sales? Look at this laden down purchaser, reminds me of the "good old days"
It is always great to see old friends making nice sales. Photographer Jill Bedford's newest work went home with this buyer:
While we were having breakfast on Sunday morning woodworker Barry Newstat got an email from a "be back" who was back with her car to carry off his fine woodworking:
Good crowd at the Artist Breakfast, including Don Ament, Susan Klebamoff, Scott Swezy, Larry and Donna Oliverson and George Raab.
Hats off to the great LFOA Committee and the
of volunteers that make this special event really special including the fabulous Artist Liaison Dionne Wachowiak and Festival Director, Krista Renfrew. I appreciated your tickets, kindnesses and feeding ;) Hope you get a day off soon.
Here is the person I was happiest to see. It was great to spend time with our old friend Ted Gall once again. I know you were trying to look scary, Ted, but you can't scare me.
There's more! Here's the video with more info and photos of people you know: