Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Just did the OOAK Show in Chicago, this is a very well run event. For those who are not familiar with it I will run through the basics. Included in your booth fee is a 10 x 10 approx space with walls, carpet, lights (6) electricity and trash can. The walls come in white and you can request and pay for colors. The way I have found is to bring rolls of colored paper and staple or tack it up yourself to save the painting fees. Any way, you show up at the loading dock and the union labor carts all your work and display up to the show floor to your booth. After setup you tag your emtpy containers and they fetch and store them until end of show. You get the services of an electrician to aim your lights for you. Over stock can be stored with access on the floor below the show to replenish your booth. You can bring your own wall panels if you desire. Hanging your work involves driving nails or screws into walls which by the way you must remove at breakdown ( they patch and repaint) Almost anything to do with displays can be had for a fee if you don't want to cart in your own stuff. They do also have a central cashier system which you can use. Artists are given access to materials for promotion throughout the year including passes for admittance to give to your clients. At shows end your empty containers appear at your booth, you break down and they cart it all back down to the loading docks for you. Crowds are large and enthusiastic. Smaller gift items sell well although high end work does too! Now for this years news.....
We were asked to attend an artist breakfast on Friday morning prior to opening. A big announcement was to be made. Well, the announcement was that they were going to re merchandise the show by placing all the jewelry booths on one side of the show with the fashion booths. In addition, jewelers would have to re jury with a jury fee, and returning artists would not be guarranteed booth placement requests with early sign up, one of the past perks for re signing. Needless to say these items were not well received by those in attandance. When the meeting opened up for Q & A I was the secong hand up to comment and after a good twenty minutes of not getting selected to speak I needed to find a way to get noticed. Hence the "man on the chair was born" I ended up gaining some height and was chosen to say my piece. Basically I commented that in my opinion most of us benefitted from a mix of booths via impulse sales from those patrons seeking for example their favorite jeweler and passing a booth with great pottery, bingo pottery sale! Or conversly heading for that painter they love and passing a great pair of earings at a jewelry booth and presto jewelry sale! This would cease to happen as often with grouping of the fashion and jewelry. Many of the patrons would not walk the show as they do now, simply heading to the one section they had in mind and beaming on out afterwards. It is a very large show and takes time and dedication to pass through all the ailes. Human nature is such that when asked, patrons would of course say they like the grouping idea to make certain shopping easier but why the do grocery stores put things like the milk all tha way in the back? So you will pass many other items on the way and bring a few out with you of course. After much comment, almost all of which seemed against the idea of change, the meeting was ended with promise of new thought to the whole idea. Loh and behold the plan was scrapped, booth placement was put back in for early sign up with the exception of jewelers who must re jury for next year. Returning jewelers no jury fee and new applicants have a jury fee. I felt that the people (artists) had spoken and the powers that be listened. I would like to add that the staff as a whole is excellent to work with and does a wonderful job of getting us all in and out for this show. My claim to fame now lies in being the "man on the chair" as I got visits the rest of the show to shake my hand etc for "standing up".