Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
I know, I have been quiet for quite a while.
Something about when you have over $3400 in booth fees due by December 15 and you have less than $1000 in your biz checking account, that scrambling for money becomes all-consuming, not a lot of time for blogging.
Well, that's over, I have scrambled,dodged, diced and called in favors everywhere. It was not easy, but I am surviving--barely.
The latter part of 2013 has been one of the worst years for me in eons.
Aside from Saint Louis in Clayton, there have not been a lot of highlights.
So, on with the show
Only did two, one was Louisville and the other a little seafood fest in the Carolinas.
Louisville was a flop, poor sales and lots of rain. I find it hard to justify paying $550 booth fee for a show that is a pain in the ass to setup for, and teardown, runs one day too long and only brings in lowend sales. There are too many booths competing for too few sales at that venue.
The seafood fest is just plain fun to do, and you get to eat lots of good hushpuppys and shrimp.
It is a closed little show, which does not take jewelers, so there is not a lot to discuss about it.
It pays the rent, or at least part of it.
Now on to Florida for November.
DUNEDIN ART HARVEST, Dunedin,Florida--first weekend of the month.
This show has been going on for a lot of time. Easy Friday setup, show is the weekend.
Trouble is, they don't advertise it adequately enough, and it is too big--way too big.
But you know, they call it a fund-raiser. Yada,Yada,Yada. We all have been there, done that, and usually not liked the results.
Didn't help that it rained early, then looked miserable the rest of the day, and a slim crowd came.
It has way too many old people in attendance and not enough youth. Sales are few and far in between. Sunday, weather was gorgeous, crowds came, and sales were meager. Some people zeroed for the show.
If you live within a day's ride it might be worth taking a chance on.
BTW. Here is some meat. Generous booth spaces with plenty of room behind and on the sides.
It is all on grass and you can stake down. Nice prize money if you are one of the lucky few. Most awards go to the tried and true.
Personally, if I didn't live in Ybor and be able to sleep in my own bed, I would never do the show.
NEXT, THE DISNEY SHOW IN ORLANDO--THE MOUSE-MISERS--OH NO, I MEAN THE "MASTERS."
I already blogged this show, just look back in the November blogs. The show sucks royal canal-water for most of us. Sorry folks, they come to see and buy from the Mouse, not decorate the house.
NEXT, GAINESVILLE FALL ART FESTIVAL
Very well run show, longtime pro director with a good support cast of helpers.
It is all on pavement with little room between booths but ample storage behind.
People come out in good numbers, too many with dogs, and usually sales are steady and good. This year it was not so good. The show is still worth doing.
It seemed to me that 3-D did better than 2-D here. Some people did very well, others only so-so.
I would do it again.
NOVEMBER'S END-SANIBEL ISLAND, THANKSGIVING WEEKEND.
This is a Richard Sullivan show. You setup on Thanksgiving day and the show is Friday and Saturday til 4 pm. Smart idea, no reason to stay til 5 pm--it gets fricking dark by then.
Richard has run this show here about four years. It is small, only about 80 exhibitors.
There is ample room for storage behind all booths. Setup is a piece of cake. Teardown can be a little hairier since all 80 are trying to get out of a tight space at once.
The show is held on the grounds of the Sanibel Community Center, so it is right in the heart of the island on the main drag, Periwinkle Boulevard.
He does a good job of advertising and the crowds come early, by noon, it is slow-city for sales til closing. It was that way both days for most of us.
Many exhibitors had a great show, both 2-D and 3-D. Local painter next to me cleaned up both days selling low and high end. Well-known and loved glass artist kicked serious but. Naples jeweler friends had their usual strong show. My little Mississippi fireball and now a Fort Myers resident was a solid seller with her new work. She is on a roll.
The only drawback to this show is that is still early in the season and not all the money is down here. Granted, the island was packed with guests and residents, but that did not necessarily translate into big crowds.
Be prepared to ship, you sell to a lot of vacationers. It is still a good show to do on that weekend, as opposed to dying in the fields of Saint Augustine or Cocoa Beach (same weekend shows).
THE LAST ONE-DECEMBER--ENGLEWOOD,FLORIDA
This one is always a sentimental favorite for me.
It is art show committee members run (by people who actually sell their work at outdoor shows).
It is laid back and is a distant reminder of why I started doing shows 38 years ago.
It is in a mellow little gulf coast town just past Venice.
Great little bars and restaurants to visit, world class beaches and easy-going populace.
Easy Friday night setup, then Saturday and Sunday til 4 pm. Mostly lowend sales, people actually buying Christmas presents. Artists with good loyal following always do well here.
I never make a lot of money at this one, but I would never give it up--it is one of my favorites every year--and I do 36 shows a year consistently.
Well, there is how I spent my fall in art shows. Hope you enjoyed it, maybe gleaned a few pearls of wisdom from it, and maybe some of you newbies and lurkers will be motivated to do a blog once in a while.
In a while, I will do a year wrap-up and assessment of our industry for 2013, and my forecasts with hope and aspiration for 2014.
I am having breakfest with Elvis at Nickos Diner later in the week, here in Tampa. I will get his insights too.
It ought be an interesting finale.