Art Fair Insiders

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One more for the Gipper...Art and Book Fair, 57th Annual

I had heard about this show from one of the volunteers at another Wichita show and thought I'd try another new show as I've been wait listed by so many other shows in the last 18 months. This is actually a new iteration of an old show. Perhaps they should have renamed it and not gone with the ..."57th Annual" part. The show was held in the parking lot adjacent to the Wichita Art Museum at the same time as the annual book fair, not a bad idea, people that read like art don't they? What I heard from patrons was they were glad it was back at the Art Museum and that it was smaller with better quality art. To back up a little, apparently this show was previously held in the convention center or a shopping center and, because it was such a large space, they had to fill it. Some of the "filling" apparently was not of equal or greater quality as this show.

This was a small show, not more than 50 artists, with plans to not grow too big. One of the co-directors was Stephen Perry, a great printmaker, who was also exhibiting and available to the other artists for questions and support.

As it was a small show and there was lots of space in the parking lot some of the artists had more space then others for storage, etc. Some of the artists were back to back. All could drive right up to their booth space.

Just the facts:

Show Hours and Dates: Art & Book Fair. May 7-8. 10-5 Sat & Sun 11- 5


The show is set up outside in the parking lot of the Wichita Art Museum. I drove right up to the back of my space for load-in. Set-up was officially from 1-5:30 on Friday but I stayed longer as I already had checked in to get my packet.


Water and volunteer booth sitters from the art museum for the occasional break. Porta potties nearby, good food trucks nearby as well.

Storage, Booth Space, Load-In/Out:

If you had a space on the periphery you could leave things behind your booth, inside spaces were back to back with some exceptions

Demographics/Buying Trends:

This was also a slow show. The ceramic artist next to me was doing good but he said he had sent out a Facebook blast to his previous customers and that's who was showing up. (word to the wise, social media!) There was a favorable response to the quality of the show from the patrons but it didn't translate into sales for most of the artists present. Perhaps this is best done at a local level or nearby.

Quality/Range of Art:

This was a relatively tight show in terms of quality. Maybe one or two booths were not up to the same level as the rest but those were the exceptions.


Quality food trucks were available for patrons and artists alike.


This was a first time show for me and although it didn't go so well this year, based on the ease of doing the show, I think I might give it another go. Stephen said there was room for growth and if they keep it to a reasonable number and high quality it has room to grow. Do be aware, there is another show in the fall on the other side of town which has a reputation for quality and prestige so I don't know if Wichita can support two shows but then what do I know?

Okay, now for the Dave Piper star rating! I'd give this show ✩✩ out of 5 and that is because of the organization, volunteers, booth sitting, etc. As far as the buying goes, I'd give it  .

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Comment by Stacy Kleymann on June 10, 2016 at 3:01pm

I did this show as well and feel this is a good assessment. First time doing it for me. I am local so my out of pocket expenses were just the booth fee. I make jewelry and did pretty well. An artist next to me drove from Atlanta and she sold one small picture the whole weekend. I will also give this show another try.

Comment by Christina L. Towell on May 29, 2016 at 9:36am

I really enjoyed reading your review of this show, Brian...thanks for posting it!

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