Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
First time I have done this show. I have been hesitant to do it because of all the challenges but decided this year I was ready to take it on. We went in with a great attitude. We were ready for the wind, heat, sun, rain, and everything else this crazy show had to throw at us. If you are not familiar with the show here is some info. It is set up on the boardwalk right along the beach. Behind the tent is a rail and the beautiful beach and ocean. Amazing setting for an art show. It is a four day show with set up on Wednesday. That means your booth is out in the elements for 5 days and you are looking at 6 nights in a hotel unless this is a local show for you. If you want to try this show find a vet who knows the ins and outs. There is a lot to learn and know. Brush up on your McGyver skills you will need them.
We arrived Tuesday afternoon. We received excellent intel and booked the hotel in front of our booth. Arriving early meant we could park in the hotel parking lot close to our booth. This was very important to help the show run smoothly for us. We had dinner with friends that night and had a strategy briefing over dinner for the next 5 days. There is a drive on option you can sign up for. Wednesday you stage and can drive right up to your booth. OR if you get close enough to dolly in you can start setting up anytime Wednesday. Our vehicle was parked and close to the booth so we dollied in. There was almost no wind and the weather was good for set up. You set your booth up right against the rails of the boardwalk. You tie the back of the booth up tight against the rails. Practice your sailor knots or find someone who knows what they are doing to help. Also figure out wheret to tie to. This was discussed in the strategy meeting the night before:) We put all our weights on the front of the booth. We were building a brick house. This show is notorious for high winds. I added a set of gravity weights to our arsenal this year. With the bad weather we have all been dealing with this year these things are perfect. They are black bags that fold up very small and flat. You can fill them with water or sand or kitty litter, whatever you want. They take up almost no room in the truck. This was the first time I have pulled them out. Perfect place to do it because there was lots of sand right behind the tent. Between the regular weights and the gravity tubes the tent had over 500 lbs on just the front. You can rent big water barrels for the front of your booth. This may be a good option but they are big and they only weight about 100lbs each. If both you and your neighbor rent the barrels you have a lot in the way in front of your booth. Our weights took up very little room at each leg and we had 170 lbs on each of the three legs in front . The plastic white weight in the pic is our neighbors. For storage, no room behind the tent if you set up tight but there is some room on one side of your tent if you and your neighbor work together. This is encouraged by the show. They also allow you to place stuff across the boardwalk in front of your booth as long as you keep it clean. I think they said 4x4 area.
On Tuesday night we sat on the boardwalk before the artist tents went in. The rental tents were up. We watched people duck under the tent walls and party in the booths. I decided I wanted to add stay bars in the front of the booth to place at night. Not only to make the brick house stronger at night but to make it harder for the party folks to get in from the front. Wednesday we set up just the booth with out the art. I was not concerned about the weather that night but more concerned about people going into my booth and playing artist with my supplies. The plan was to remove the tool boxes (which have paints and paint brushes inside) and anything else that we might care about at night, like our show bag, contact list and generator. The truck was close enough to make this an easy thing to do
Thursday started at noon-6. The other three days 10-6. It was humid but not bad. Wind was decent. It kept us cool enough. If you do this show bring an umbrella with a really good stand. We had an extra gravity weight and a big beach umbrella. We were able to screw the beach umbrella into some dirt, tie it to a director chair and attached the 60lb weight to the chair. Saturday and Sunday called for full sun. No sales on Thursday for us or anyone around us. We were all large two D. It was mainly tourists. The locals are known for coming Saturday and Sunday from what I was told.
Friday was the bad weather day. The show director was excellent at keeping us all updated with emails. Of course being right on the beach everyone was glued to their weather apps. Winds started up strong around 1pm. It went down hill from there. Most booths closed up around 3 and the show was called at 4. The brick house survived and so did the art. What did not survive was our generator. Friday was a stressful day and we screwed up and left the generator in the tent overnight. On Saturday morning we woke up and asked each other if the generator made it back to the truck. I hadn't done it and my partner hadn't. Sure enough when we showed up to the booth the sucker was gone. The thieves were good. The generator was in a wagon covered with a camo tarp. They crawled through the back of our neighbors tent(there was a ramp going to the beach in the back) and into ours. They even placed the tarp perfectly back into the wagon so it looked like the generator was still there. The show had lots of security. At night we saw a lot of police patrolling the beach but they can't watch everything in a venue like this. None got hurt, the art was fine and a generator is easy to replace as long as we can make some $$$$.
Saturday morning we had some be backs and a couple sales. Wind was between 15-20mph and full sun. Big crowds. It helped to have the truck and trailer close by so we could bring patrons to see more art. It was tricky with the wind but we made it work.
Sunday was the perfect day weather wise. The crowd was good but not as big as Saturday. The patrons are a big mix but plenty of qualified buyers with expensive purses and big diamond rings. We were hoping for a big day but didn't have it. Most people I spoke with were just breaking even or made a paycheck.
Breakdown was easy since we dollied out but you could pull up close to the boardwalk if you didn't have a dolly space and once enough tents cleared if you still were not out you could drive up to your booth.
This is a long show. 15 blocks long. Sponsors and food are mixed in with the artists. There is a lot going on at a beach venue. The MOCA museum puts on a good show with a lot of really good artists. Lots of volunteers who walk around with flags in case you need a booth sitter or something else (like the police to make at report). I was impressed with the judges. There were three. First a staff member from the show comes up to you and lets you know that the judge is coming so get ready. The judges pick one piece from you booth, if you get picked, to be considered. Each judge spent time in the booth to talk to the artist. On Saturday night there is an artist awards dinner/party. They do a great job in my opinion when it comes to awards and there is a lot of awards at this show. The show also has shipping containers every few blocks close to the booths for you to store things in if needed. We didn't need that since our truck was closer than the containers. After hours if security saw someone in your booth they would ask for ID to make sure you were suppose to be in that booth. Every day they had someone inspecting the booths to make sure the artists were showing what they juried in for. Love that. I wish more shows would. I was very impressed with how well the show was run.
The show is fun to do. The artists camaraderie is awesome. Spending 6 nights really gives you a chance to enjoy old friends and to make new ones. We stayed in the hotel on the board walk right in front of our booth. What a great view every morning and evening of the beach and the show. Spending 6 nights on the beach in a tourist area also comes with lots of expense. For a double booth, 6 nights hotel, travel to and from the show, eating (and I know you have to eat wherever you are but it is expensive to eat in a tourist town) our base cost was $2500 and that doesn't include loosing the generator. Many artists view this show as a combo vacation/work trip. Yes we had fun but it was not a vacation for me. If you consider the show do the math. In my opinion it is like doing two shows and you need to consider the wear and tear on your booth and supplies. The numbers didn't add up for us. If anyone would like to hire a roadie for next year I am your gal. That would be a perfect work/vaca in my book. I am really good at setting up trimlines:)