Art Fair Insiders

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

Ocala (FL) Arts Festival on October 23 & 24

I came across Susie Blackmon's blog "Ocalalicious" today with a report on the Ocala Arts Festival. I'm including the link here because the photos really tell the story about the ambiance at a Florida art festival. You can really tell you are not in Denver or Ann Arbor! If you've not traveled to a Florida show be sure to click on this link:

Were any of you participants at this show? Can you share some background on the event?

Views: 613

Comment by Kathryn Riechert on October 27, 2010 at 10:10am
I did this show. I think it was the 44'th year. It gives away $20K in prizes, which attracts a lot of high quality work. The buying crowd is pretty conservative though, so many apply just hoping for a chance at the price money.
It's my hometown, so I stay with family and it's easy for me to do. I'm not sure I would apply otherwise, as the buying is pretty hit or miss.
The people who run the show are very nice and they put on a catered breakfast for the artists each morning, with water available throughout the day. Setup and breakdown are pretty easy as well. The show is on grass you can stake into it. Plenty of parking, and good advertising.
Comment by Bert Herrera on October 27, 2010 at 2:22pm
I was there as well. I didn't speak with any artist who was happy with their sales for the wkd. Highest total I heard was from a mixed media artist who was in the $800 range. I have done this show on and off for years, and results are usually the same, you make a little money, if you're lucky. This year, supposedly they made the show slightly smaller, somewhere in the 230 artists range. I counted 30 photographers, not to mention the ones who got in under mixed media. As a photographer, not the kind of percentages you want to see.

Great weather, nice awards, which really does bring out the quality, and the committee is very nice. BUT...sales just weren't there for most of us. One thing to keep in mind, is that Marion County (Ocala) has been hit fairly hard with the economic downturn, and has one of the highest unemployment numbers in the area.
Comment by Nels Johnson on October 27, 2010 at 10:17pm
Good report, Burt. Also, the big horse auction is usually this same weekend, and guess where all the money people in Ocala go? This is one of the few shows where I tore down my booth and left after the first day (in 1986) because sales sucked so bad. I have never been back since and would never, ever consider doing this show.
Comment by Alison Thomas on October 28, 2010 at 6:54am
I applied for a few years before I got into this show and what a dissapointment. The first year it poured rain both days and I netted about $100. Friday night at the hotel there was a drunken brawl with one person threatening another with "I'm going to get my gun and shoot you". The whole weekend was one of the more miserable experiences of my art show life. The following year it was beautiful weather and I opted to spend more money on a better hotel. I did not make expenses and something in the hotel sheets gave me hives.

The food is fabulous. The layout is confusing. I went in early one morning to do some stuff in my booth and I had trouble finding my own booth. Thank goodness for my bright orange tie downs or I would still be wandering that field.

It is good news that they have reduced the number of artists because this show was too big for the area. The first year (before the recession) the person next to me did well. The second year no one around me sold much of anything.

I'm sitting this one out until the economy recovers and since I will be moving away from Florida and can't see driving 600 miles to do this show I will probably sit it out forever.


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