Art Fair Insiders

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

I appreciate Connie Mettler's post about art fairs in Naples. I totally understand the objections of Naples Art that the United Arts Council show would be competition and that eight art shows in Naples is plenty.

But there is another side to the story: the artists. If any of you participate/d in art fairs in and around Chicago, you are probably aware that the market is saturated, which makes for low sales. Lots of walkers and lots of dogs just enjoying a day out, talking with friends in the aisles and passing the booths because they've seen it all before. 

My point is that the more shows there are in a city, especially a small one, the less sales there are at any one of them. The events become commonplace and, therefore, not special or exciting. As an artist, I much prefer special and exciting venues, especially since this atmosphere promotes sales.

I see the city's decision to allow another show as very self-defeating and hope the county powers-that-be realize the artists are stakeholders, too, in this conversation.

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Comment by Connie Mettler on November 20, 2020 at 11:27am

Naples was caught right at the beginning of this emergency and at first did say no refunds as you said, Geri. That was quickly reversed when it became obvious that was not a good idea. They changed their policy. 

Comment by geri a. wegner on November 20, 2020 at 10:51am

Isn’t Naples Art the organization that was so nasty last March when the pandemic was causing all the shows to cancel?  Didn’t they say that if you asked for a refund, you would not be allowed to show there again?

Florida’s winter shows do have the advantage of a new influx of people during the winter season and if a show has quality artists, the people will come.

Comment by Connie Mettler on November 18, 2020 at 11:18am

You're so right. There are two sides to every story and in our free enterprise economic system we often step on each other's toes. It is hard to take sides here and it isn't black or white. I understand the event promoters (be they independent business people, arts councils, downtown development groups, Chambers of Commerce, etc. ) who see an economic opportunity for themselves especially in such an affluent area of the country. 

Then there are the artists whose sales may be "watered down" when there are so many events in the same area. Then there are the artists who maybe didn't jury into one of those existing events and see a chance to also reach this affluent audience by going with the new event. The only exception for this area of the country that I can see is that this is happening during tourist season and the audience for the events changes throughout the winter, bringing a different group of people to attend each week. 

That is how Naples and Chicago do differ. But, the very interesting thing that I seem to be seeing is with the COVID restrictions is that the dog walkers and tire kickers are not attending in great numbers. COVID has restricted how many people can attend and the dogs and their owners will go to the beach instead and the people attracted for the opportunity to view and purchase art choose the art festival.

What do you think?

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