Art Fair Insiders

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

Putting the "Distraction Factor" to Good Use in Belleville

Belleville, IL - May 16-19, 2014 - Art on the Square

Maybe you were at this show. It is one of the goodies. 

We all complain about the music, the food, the kids activities, the sponsor booths that are ubiquitous at the art fairs, so I just found the schedule of activities for last week's Art on the Square that to my mind turns that griping on its head.

Besides the kids activities and the stages look what else they are doing:


10:30-11 a.m. Framing and Matting: Enhancing Your Artwork with Colin Shaw of Arch Framing in St. Louis

11:30 a.m-noon I Loved It! I Bought It! Now What Do I Do with It? with Deb Bokemper of Ageless Design in St. Louis

12:30-1 p.m. -- The Art of Lighting Art -- Making It Come Alive, with Carol Hiatt or Carol Hiatt Design Associates of Belleville.

1:15-1:45 -- Inside/Outside Show on KTRS-AM 550, with John Shea and Jim McMillan

2-2:20 p.m. Green Design -- The Fingerprints of Art in Your Environment with Diane Rosen of Diane Rosen Interiors in St. Louis.

3-3:30 -- Traditional-Contemporary -- You Can Mix It Up! with Gigi Lombrano of Gigi Lombrano Interiors in St. Louis.

4-4:30 p.m. -- Coloring Your Home with Kara Osthoff of Kara Osthoff Designs in Belleville.


Noon-1 p.m. -- Tiffany Brooks, designer and host of HGTV's 2014 "Smart Home Giveaway."

1:15-2 p.m. -- Coloring Your Home with Kara Osthoff of Kara Osthoff Designs of Belleville.

2:30-3:15 p.m. Tiffany Brooks

3:30-4:15 p.m. Tiffany Brooks

There will be question-and-answer sessions following all seminars.

What a great way to educate your fair goers and support the artists. Kudos to Patty Gregory and her committee.
Were any of you there? Do you have any comments? Is this a standard at this show? 

P.s. You can listen to a podcast that I did with the show organizer, Patty Gregory, right here:

It is full of helpful information for show organizers.

Views: 687

Comment by Barry Bernstein on May 19, 2014 at 4:30pm

If I ran this show, I would have these seminars in the weeks leading up to the event to "educate" them BEFORE they went to the show. Some of these subjects would be better after the event which would accomplish the same thing and not distract from sales.

Comment by Connie Mettler on May 19, 2014 at 9:25pm

A great idea, Barry. How are you going to get them to attend? Do you think this show should direct its energy to preparing a series of seminars weeks in advance and market it? This is an all volunteer committee who spend the year preparing. I dunno know, doubt they would want to take on that task.

Comment by Barry Bernstein on May 20, 2014 at 9:16pm

I don't think it matters whether they are a paid staff or volunteers. It's still about artists risking money and incomes. I was just thinking about other shows when they educated the public before the show like Coconut Grove used to do. You were there. You know that was very successful in terms of sales for artists. If you notice, all the subjects were about how to match the work with the carpet and the drapes. I'll bet there isn't even minor lip service given to the ability to buy a great piece from a great artist. It's sad how the focus has switched.

Comment by Connie Mettler on May 20, 2014 at 10:32pm

I do remember at Milwaukee's Lakefront they would hold a seminar during the show called something like "Art Buying 101." 

Coconut Grove used to do ALL the cool things ... sigh ... who knows how all of that changed, and those changes occurred before the economic downturn. 

You may not have liked the timing of these sessions, but when, where, lately have you seen something like this going on during a show? 

Comment by Barry Bernstein on May 21, 2014 at 7:11am

I agree Connie. It's still a good thing. My problem is that I just did a show where the distractions were a major part of the show. I felt like I was just there to bring the people in and then the show did it's best to offer everything but the art.

As far as Coconut Grove goes, it never was, is, or will be about the economy. That is just an excuse. They just stopped trying to connect the buyers to the artists. Without rehashing it, I have written extensively about why this is so and anyone can read those reviews from years past. Too bad, because Kat and Lilia do a great job. This years Grove was the best it's ever been in terms of organization, setup, take down, that sort of thing.

Comment by Connie Mettler on May 21, 2014 at 7:19am

Right. Those are the things they can control and I'm glad to hear that info.

I hate always being the apologist, but so many things have changed in Miami that the art directors have no control over (and speaking from that experience I can attest to the heartbreak of that), the Art Basel that has such sparkle, the competing art gallery openings nearby on that same weekend that are indoors with easy parking. The Boat Show has always been there and they've done successful cross-promotion with that event. I believe this year the show area was even less accessible because of construction and parking constraints. 

Comment by Barry Bernstein on May 21, 2014 at 9:27am

There are solutions to these problems that let shows make the same amount of money, maybe more, and lower the entry fee or even eliminate it altogether, which would boost attendance and increase artists incomes. It may be my new crusade.

Comment by patty gregory on May 21, 2014 at 6:44pm

Barry, we actually promote the sale of art on the interior design stage. We start with an empty room with crown molding, carpeting etc.. and furniture that is very nuetral. The interior designers work with artists coming to the show before the festival. They use only art work from the show. Everyone is provided with artists information and booth #. We are all about sales and have found that many of the pieces used on the stage are sold.

Comment by Barry Bernstein on May 22, 2014 at 9:56am

Patty, the only thing wrong with Belleville is that you won't let me in. Come and see me in St Louis, this year. Get a good look at my work up close and live.


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