Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
A friend tipped me off that Nels Johnson, in his Sanibel post, was accusing me of consorting with ponies or some such, on Sanibel. So I figured I had better weigh in, in case authorities were alerted. ;-)
It was a rough weekend, but as Nels points out, other shows had it far worse. Of course, if you were one of the four artists whose tents flipped on Sanibel, your viewpoint probably differs.
We spent Friday morning huddled in the solidly-built community center, drank coffee, paced, told war stories, paced again, and mostly peered out the windows at the storm. Weird, like an out-of-body experience, to see rain and wind pelting tents, raising flaps (if you were lucky!), roofs and tents (if you weren't). Promoter Richard Sullivan mentioned that it was a Godsend to have the building there, as few wanted to take their chances waiting out this monster storm in a high-profile vehicle, and "it is a lot easier to communicate when everybody's in the same room, instead of trying to track people down in their vehicles," he said.
I offered help to a couple of artists who were checking their tents outside, then left on Friday (day one) after the severe thunderstorm warning was extended to 5 PM and the show was called. Made a delivery to a customer about four miles from my home in S Fort Myers, and learned that an F0 tornado had touched down briefly earlier in the day, less than a mile away from my customer's home. I made my delivery, then went home for the night.
When I got back on Saturday, I began pulling 16x20 matted prints out of their travel bin and immediately knew I was in trouble: the bottoms of the mats had gotten soaked through their Clear-bags. I pulled everything out of the bin and flipped it over to find a hairline crack that I'd never noticed: when the ground flooded overnight, the water breached the crack and got in. A few were OK; most weren't. And when the customers began arriving, thankfully they bought several Gallery Wraps off the walls, which made it an OK day for me...but nothing like a usual Sanibel show in season. Load-out was muddier than usual, but went smoothly since I took my time, and because artists were helping each other out any way they could. I joined several others to assist Nels when, apparently, the Hovercraft option on his white van failed to engage and he wound up stuck in the mud behind our tents. (Key takeaway: Never stand behind the rear tire in the mud. And Nels, the dry cleaner bill is on its way to you! ;-) )
The next day, I got lucky: My source of custom-cut and (in this case) emergency mats, The Great Frame Up in S. Fort Myers, is right across the street from my home. And when I told the story of the weekend, the owner ordered up some matboard stock and cut me a couple of dozen on Wednesday at their cost. I'm very grateful for their generosity!
That day, I tossed out about a recycling bin's worth of soggy matboard and maybe 15 damaged photos, but was able to re-mat about 40 pieces, safe and dry, just in time for my scheduled setup day--Friday--at the Art Fest Naples show.
And you probably are learning already what has gone on at THAT show--rain nearly all day Friday, and (on Saturday) winds over 35 mph (gusts over 50) that were so strong that at least one artist, on the windward side, couldn't even set up his tent. As of this writing, on Saturday morning, the story of that show is still being written. But it won't be written by me: I cancelled at 7:30 am Friday.
In my eight years in the biz, I've never seen a prolonged stretch of weather like this, and folks with far longer memories than I say they haven't either. One of my best buds on the circuit--a jeweler--keeps a "Suck it Up Straw" in her booth, reminding her to stay resolved in the face of adversity. This season, I'm gonna need a boxful!