Art Fair Insiders

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

My two cents worth on The Woodlands Waterway show

Okay y'all beat me to the review so I'll just add my two cents worth...kudos to the hard workers and those that are in charge, they absolutely put on a first rate show! More water and snacks then I could shake an artists name tag at. They made a big point of telling the artists how much they appreciated them being there, over and over again!

It never fails, not matter where you are located in a show you always think some other part of the show is getting more patrons then you...not so, same people they just amble around a lot. Overall, however, I wouldn't say this was an overwhelming show in turns of numbers attending but still a lot of people.

The crowd was art smart, asked good questions, knew their stuff and were very engaged, not the walking dead that I've seen recently at some shows. You know the ones, they walk by and don't even look at the art booths let alone talk to the artists, they grab the lemonade and popcorn and that's it! I didn't even see any lemonade or popcorn at this show, just beer!

Depending on where you were located you either had a lot of space behind your booth or seemingly very little. Booths were side to side so not much room there. I was next to a free standing sculptor so I had a free corner space with lots of room between us.
Sounds like y'all had good sales, not so much for us on the far western end of the waterway. The metal artist on the other side of me sold nothing even though people were very engaged with his work. I sold mostly smalls ($25) of my photography and some mid sized matted pieces. I made enough to drive home but it wasn't worth writing home about and because I didn't sell much I didn't drive back to Denver to fill in my inventory and instead did a Route 66 road trip on the way to the next show! I've learned to make lemonade!

Met and introduced myself to Jim Parker, how come your AFI picture makes you look so young? ;-P I gawked and admired his work before moving on to say hello to some other art show buddies. I read his remarks about him at DFW...I'm sooo confused! Now come to think of it, is there another James Parker, Photographer? Maybe you weren't the James Parker i thought you were, maybe you have a secret double life or is there a parallel universe?

The festival committee makes a big deal of their status on AFSB but based on my results, and those near me, I don't get it. Must be the same phenomenon that makes shows look good in Sunshine Magazine.

Nuff said, it's on to the Oklahoma Festival of the Arts, a new show for me so I'm ready to see what it's all about! Any other AFI'ers gonna be there?

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Comment by sean McDougal on April 21, 2014 at 11:51pm

Well I was Brian's neighbor who zeroed out. I am not looking for hundreds of buyers at a show. Just a few and sometimes one. After Sat I felt good about the show. Most times when I have that much interaction with people asking the right questions and taking measurements I get my buyers back. But not this time.I do get follow ups so I will see. But it is very well run.And I also meet Jim Parker. His wife is much younger than he is.

Comment by Greg Little on April 21, 2014 at 2:39pm

I totally agree about the professionalism of the show staff being first class all the way. This is a show that puts the artists needs at the top of the list.. Many other shows could and should learn from them. I am glad the weather held out. Saturday was a beautiful day, the crowds were there and our sales were good. Sunday was an overcast day with unpredictable weather. Someone from the show staff came around and said the rains were coming our way and to be prepared to put the tent sides down...well, it was fortunate that we never more than a short sprinkle that wouldn't even make anyone want to open up their umbrella. However, the crowds were sparse on Sunday...this might have been caused by people being uncertain about the rain and not wanting to pay a gate fee and get rained on..

I spoke to friends I know that were on both ends of the Waterway...from the 100's and down to the 400's and they all said the same about the sparse crowds on Sunday.

From any way I view this show I would most certainly do it again in a heartbeat.

Comment by Nels Johnson on April 21, 2014 at 2:38pm

Hey Brian, I will add my two cents.

My wife Ellen was in the show, I was in Ft. Worth.  We lost Sunday there, so I drove down to meet up with Ellen at Woodlands and give it a gander.

I did this show last year--and did well.

First, I sought out Parker and ruined his day by telling him about my FW.  Those are newer glasses he is wearing--I am not so sure about the shirt.

Anyways, the Sunday crowd looks thin--but wadda ya expect!  It looked like it could rain armadillos any minute, so who is going to fork over a $12 admission fee with that on the horizon.

Ellen had one person who made her show--in a big way.

I saw lots of photo booths with walls that looked like they went up into the sky with accompanying prices.

It is a great show for many.  Well run, nicely laid out and the Woodlands is a cool- Steffard-Wifes-like community.  Hey, they have bucks, you just gotta figure out how to seperate them from them.

Hope you survive Oklahoma intact--that is one scary show I will never do.

Comment by Kim Shirley on April 21, 2014 at 10:40am

This is exactly what I would've written!!!! I was in the park area and had pretty much the same experience. All the Volunteers and coordinators of the show really went above and beyond. They were all so nice. And even though the crowd appreciated my work, asked fantastic questions and seemed very engaged, very few pieces sold. The same happened with several other artists around me.... although the booth directly across from me was selling pieces & prints like hot cakes. Fun experience though. So Glad I was able to go!   

Good Luck in Oklahoma. I hope you do great!!!

Comment by Jim Parker on April 20, 2014 at 9:21am

Brian, t's an older picture, shot by my friend Cindy Malaney, around 2007. I've been through two pairs of glasses since then, and that shirt wore out. Good luck at OKC.

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