Art Fair Insiders

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

A little late in posting this show's review I wont go into a lot of detail as that can be seen in my previous posting last year about this show. See:!

What was different about this years show? Maybe I should start with the weather as it had a direct effect on the rest of the show. Friday one couldn't ask for a more perfect day. Sunny, not too hot or humid and not too windy (as it had been all last year). Saturday, it rained on and off and although the brave came out with their dumbrellas it slowed significantly towards the end of the day. Sunday, well, depending on which weather APP you looked at it either wasn't going to rain or it did, all day till 4:00 and then the sun came out and the show was over at 5:00. Nuf said?

View from the inside looking out...not much else to do!

Now for the attendees. Last year it seemed like the wrong crowd for the show (did I say Walmartians?) This year however, it seemed more like a fine art crowd. The streets were packed on Friday as it seemed like the office crowd snuck past security and got out to enjoy the weather and the show. I don't remember seeing that many of them last year, probably opted to stay in the AC as it was so incredibly humid. It felt like a real art show to me as I watched the booth fill up with the curious time and time again. But that was mostly it, curiosity and not much buying. Saturday...not so much, the weather effected the crowd but I did see some bigger pieces take legs and move through the show. Sunday, the brave came out and some even came out multiple times. One prospective buyer showed up on Friday ("Would you discount that?", "No"), Sat. (I'm not sure) and Sunday with the whole family (bought something smaller from someone down the street!). Again, there was some buying but not at a fever pitch. Some seemed to do well and others not so much.

The show changed coordinators this year and Emily Peklo came around and introduced herself, points for that! I can't fault the staff any, they still did a great job logistically and the amenities with the show are among the best that I have experienced it's just that this show didn't deliver for me.

In terms of what they juried in there was quite a mix in terms of what I might want to see at an art show, some things seemed more befitting a crafts venue. Nothing wrong with the quality, I just don't want to compete with it when I'm trying to sell my work.

Would I do this show again? I'm thinking not, I gave it two tries and did worse this year than last and last year was nothing to write home about! It has nothing to do with the show promoters so much as the patrons. As recent discussions on this blog have pointed out...if a show doesn't deliver why support it, there are plenty more out there to choose from. In fact, this promoter does a show later in the year ARTsarben (Nebraska sorta spelled backwards). Given the results of this show I haven't given it much thought as to whether to try it or not.

Now for a small diatribe...About those dumbrellas, most people read Miss Manners and realized that they needed to hold them outside the booth or stay outside with the damn things or at least collapse them when inside a booth...then there was the guy who continued to hold his above his head inside the booth dripping onto the print bins and prints within. Even when he saw that he was dripping volumes and I was wiping them off he didn't get it! Okay, I feel better now.

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Comment by Bill Coleman Entertainment on June 28, 2013 at 11:05am

Re: ARTsarben, I was there last year, and am scheduled again for this year. (kids zone)  Neighborhood is an upscale urban infill.  Most expensive piece I saw was a $45K eagle, but I wasn't able to get around much to see very many booths.  photos and video here

Comment by Lori Biwer-Stewart on June 27, 2013 at 12:13pm

Too bad. I was there last year and had a bad show so I decided to drop that one this year. I think a lot of show do try to add too many things to bring people in. I've done the Marion, IA art festival for 2 years now. Very small show. They are very selective. They advertise "No Beer, No music, All Art". The people that come know what they are buying and they buy.

Comment by S Brian Berkun on June 27, 2013 at 10:57am

Oh Yeah, that was there! Forgot to mention the WAY TOO LOUD HEADBANGER MUSIC that was playing on Sat on the west stage. Couldn't hear yourself think, let alone talk to any prospectives. Many artists made that message clear to the powers that be.

Comment by karen cooper on June 26, 2013 at 7:11pm

So what about the Nebraska Lottery spinner wheel?  Was it still there?  Nothing like turning an art show into a carnival!  

I did not jury for Omaha after being there several in a row, and that was one of the reasons.  Too much entertainment - not enough art sales promotion.

Comment by S Brian Berkun on June 26, 2013 at 6:38pm

Things were pretty well dry by 5, at least not drippy wet! Still had to drag it all out when I got home to make sure it didn't mildew. Next stop NICfest, Casper, WY. Put on by the Nicolaysen Art Museum. It's been around a few years so I thought I'd try it.

Comment by Connie Mettler on June 26, 2013 at 6:11pm

Cool shot, Brian.

So, did everything get dried out before you had to pack up? Packing up wet stuff, not fun.

This show is so well run and the amenities are so nice that you really want it to work. I've heard sales across the board at it and you've got to know this is a solid town with good middle class jobs and big businesses that require educations to hold those jobs. Hope your next show is better.

I did hear some really good things about ARTsarben. It is a different area and quite a different type of event, not a festival but an art fair in an upscale "life style" kind of mall area.

Comment by Elle Heiligenstein on June 26, 2013 at 2:42pm
Hi S Brian. I am sorry you had a bad show. I have had two myself lately. You are very generous to have given Omaha two chances and I would advise you to write it off at this point. I can relate to what you are saying about the crowds. I have also seen the Wal Martians in masse at shows lately. I do not know why they are there. They won't pay hardly anything for our work and I sure as hell won't lower my prices. Where are the buyers? I have been asking myself that question a lot lately. Hopefully we will find them or they will find us soon! Happy travels!!

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