Naples National, a fond farewell to steamy florida

Naples National was the second of my first two ever art fairs in florida.  I have commented on Artigras on Nel's post.

My first impression as a first-timer is that Naples National is a very well organized show.   It takes place in and along the edge of a park a block away from the business district.  All artists were given check in times dependent on booth location. ranging from 7:30am to 5:30 pm or later.  I set up in the morning, but when my husband and I strolled back after dinner big lights had been erected and people were still setting up.  Artist booths were in the park- some shady on mulch, and some sunnier spots on grass, and also on the street that runs along the west side of the park.  A visitor could start at one end and wind all thru the park and not miss anything.  I thought the setups on the street were a little disconnected from the rest of the show and quite hot, though not as dirty.  (There was a constant deposition of brown dust on everything, I assume stirred up from the mulch)

There was a very efficient artist shuttle to and from the parking lot for artists, (though it was a pleasantly walkable distance) that ran all through setup, the fair, and take-down.  I thought the quality of the art was superb.  Lots more wall art than I am accustomed to see, and less ceramics and jewelry.  Naples is a place of great wealth (We saw more Bentleys and Jaguars there in two days than I have seen in my entire life), and I would speculate that a higher percentage of people are looking for paintings/prints for the empty walls of their condos than at most art fairs.  I would be interested in hearing from a 2-d artist on their take.  My next door neighbor, a potter with lovely wares, said he was disappointed because he brought the wrong price points - he brought the cheaper stuff, and he sold out on his more expensive pieces.  My other neighbor, Zacki, was a character with aggressively modern paintings and did not sell anything. 

For my part, my booth was always busy, and I made more money in two days than in three at Artigras.  The sales were mostly in the $40-120 range with enough larger sales to make me happy. 

I found that customers were interested and not jaded, and in the mood to be pleased.  There was extremely little ethnic and racial diversity.  I don't know what the average age was, but there were no strollers here.  I got the feeling that price was not as much as an object as finding exactly what they wanted.  I was delighted to get into this show, and would be delighted to do it again.

For all the organization at setup, takedown was something of a free-for-all, but seemed to work ok nonetheless.  Organizers seemed to concentrate on coordinating vehicles the on-street portion of the fair, but the big lights did make their appearance which helped a lot in making sure everything got back in the van. 

On the fun side, the beach at Naples is great, and the food is wonderful, if pricey.  The best meals we had were are Bha!Bha! a persian bistro on 5th.  Wow.  We stayed a short (walkable) distance away, at LaQuinta.

If any of you drive north (or South) thru Florida from Jacksonville to Ocala/Tampa on 301, you should stop at a great local restaurant in Starke called Grannie's Country Cooking.  I liked all the fruit stands, too, and am still eating the oranges!

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  • I am a flameworker, most of my work is jewelry.  The trends I ws mostly aware of, Susan, were color, brighter and clearer, as you might expect.  we are still wearing grey and black in Pittsburgh - not in Florida!

  • Thanks for your critique of the Naples show, Leslie, it was informative and thorough.  I'm glad you did well and yes, what is your medium?  I love hearing about people strolling through parks and art fairs at this time of year, as I fear that's still a long way off here in Michigan...

    Thanks again.

  • What a thorough review. Thank you, Leslie.

    I am definitely impressed that the show folks had lights to help with the set up and take down. That is really nice. Loading up down trails in a dark park can be a challenge.

    Solid analysis of the buyers too. Mostly if they live in the area they can buy what they want. Price is not an obstacle. Lots of big walls for large 2D pieces also. What other Florida show did you do?

    Thanks for the restaurant tips!

  • Thank you for the thoughtful review. I may have over looked it, but what is your medium?

    Do you see a trend as to what Florida patrons like to purchase?

  • This is an excellent, to the point, and perceptive review! Thanks for submitting it.  I think your comment that buyers had money, but were willing to buy only if you had exactly what they wanted, is spot on.  It was the "pickiest" crowd I can remember at a show. I had very few buyers, well under my threshold for returning, but my average sale was about $150, which is respectable. 

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