Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Just a short review of the last show I did in Naperville, Illinois. It was the only show I had scheduled for this month and since I had done well at Old Town I thought that heading back to the Chicago area would be more of the same. That's the thing about this business.....it takes you high and then it BAM...slaps you right in the face. Ha!
Naperville Woman's Club Art Fair is located in Naperville Settlement, a re-enactment of a early mid-west village with all the "feels". Located in a very high end part of Chicago, it is a beautiful town with very expensive homes....and a great downtown with lots of unique restaurants and shops. It is truly a beautiful place to show. It is very well organized, having been around for 37 years and the booths have plenty of room with most having space on either side and lots of back space. You could drive up right behind your booth to unload and load up. It is laid out on the path you take to see the actual settlement, so you can't be missed by buyers. Plus, the weather was beautiful with both days in the 70's and a light breeze. There were about 140 of us showing that weekend.
So what happened? Both days had plenty of buyers walking through. "Walking through" is the optimal word here. Talking to other artist's... I kept noticing that there were a lot of us that were doing the show for the first time...I also noticed that none of us were doing much business. Was it the highest quality show I have ever done?...to be honest, not really, but it was nicely interspersed with those of us that were regulars and also some local artists. Judging was fine and it seemed like a lot of locals got awards...the big award however went to a fabulous photographer ( I am never good with remembering names) and it seemed to be as fair as could be expected. Judging is always somewhat subjective and I try to keep it off my radar. The dinner reception that accompanied it was so good we didn't have to go out to dinner that night.
I luckily sold one big piece that paid for expenses and left me with a little profit on Saturday. Sunday I did a whopping 175 dollars. Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one, jewelers, photographers and most everyone I talked to had a rough weekend. If I am wrong, please correct me in the comments because I would love to hear of someone having a great weekend there.
I have to say for two beautiful days sitting in a lovely location listening to a great band was really nice. The ambiance was great, the show was also very well organized with cold water being delivered every couple of hours. I loved doing it- but i have to say I doubt I'll be back. Sometimes I think these older shows just need a new demographic. I felt like the people that came were true supporters of this lovely show and probably had all the art they ever wanted to buy. But honestly, that is not my call to say since I really don't know the in's and out's of what goes into delivering a show. I just know that personally, with a 9 hour drive there and back, it just was not worth it for me.