Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
This was the 49th edition of this show, named after a Booth Tarkington character, Penrod Schofield, a sort of Tom Sawyer type character set around 1900. I've done this show since 1988 and watched it become smoother and smoother each year. It has about 300 artists arranged around the grounds of the old Eli Lilly estate, now home to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which is a beautiful setting. There are several groups of artists in different sections, each with their own entertainment, such as the Blue section with the Indianapolis Symphony and several choral groups. The Green section where I was has jazz groups playing. None of the groups overwhelm and are just the right volume. Attendance is $20 at the gate and $15 in advance, so there are no or few dog walkers, and little idle curious. Attendance is about 30,000 so the gate fee doesn't keep out too many.
Set up starts on Friday morning at 9:30 AM and you are expected to clear out by 3:30 or 4:00. We arrived at 10:00, and were finished hanging everything by 2:00. Shuttle service is provided to ferry the artists to a parking lot about 3/4 mile away. Set up was plagued by drizzling rain about 10:30, but I had decided to put the tent up and hang the side tarps before unloading anything else, and that was a good call. By 2:00 about half the artists had their booths up, and virtually all were complete on Saturday morning. This show starts early, at 9 and goes to 5.
Tear down is a little different, as there are only a limited number of spots for vehicles to pull in. No one is allowed in before 5:45, and the volunteers keep tabs on available spaces so only enough vehicles are let in that the space will accommodate. Unfortunately, some artists take exception to this and the volunteers have been yelled and screamed at for doing a difficult to manage job. The best way to load out at this show is to send a helper to the parking lot and get in line while you finish tearing down. if you're the only one present, this can add 45 minutes to an hour to your drive out time.
I wasn't able to compare notes with others on how well they did, but I did see a lot of large packages being carried. In a summer for me, marked by low sales except for a few spots, I was worried about infrequent sales at the beginning of the show but things started picking up and I wound up having the second highest show of the year. I'm revising my attitude about what size of photos sell, and it looks like smaller pieces (lower cost) is what is moving, but my luck says next year will be a different ballgame. I have two shows to go, a month away and then the two are back to back weekends with one being a brand new one day show here in town and the final one is in Bluffton, SC.
Here's a photo of the Green section which is in front of the Eli Lilly Mansion. I think it was around noon time or an hour later as the phone records the time in GMT time. This was during a lull in the crowd. I like the way people are pointing in the booths ;-)