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Queeny Park Art Fair, St. Louis; April 1,2,3; 2016

This was my first show of the year and the first since having rotator cuff surgery four months ago. I learned some things on this go around, among which was the need to organize the way I hang pieces better and to next time take a decent step stool so I can reach the top of the panels to hang stuff instead of standing tippy-toe on the top of a two-step stool.

Load-in is on Friday morning starting at 9:00 AM and it is strongly suggested to be there early if your set up takes some time. Last year the community center building where the show is held had good size skids available, but I didn't see them this year. I did bring a dolly and it was a good thing as it is a few steps from the load out area to where my booth was inside the building. The problem is that if you unload everything into your space, which is only 8 feet deep, you have to move everything around while you set up display panels.

There is no storage space available in the booth unless you sacrifice some space at the rear. The show does have locked storage available, but it's the set up clutter that's the problem, not storage after the set-up is done. Several artists took the tactic of bringing in panels first and quickly setting those up before bringing in the rest of their material. Unfortunately that tended to bog down the spaces available to park your vans or trailers while unloading.

I opted for a 15 foot wide space, which were determined by request and how fast you sent in your payments. I sent mine in immediately after acceptance. I left a little space on the left side of the booth behind the panels, so the left side of the booth was only two 38" panels deep which left about 16 inches space behind me. That was just enough space to slide in Rough Totes sideways with zero clearance behind them and the artist behind me. But it worked though :-)

Aisles were narrow, zero clearance behind and beside your space, so you sit inside the booth or stand around. I put up an L set of panels in the middle and sat behind there where I could still see people when they came in on that side.

Sales were all over the place with some folks doing well, some fair-to-middlin', and others struggled. In other words, just like any other show, although I heard from several that they were down this year compared to last. I was down almost 50% from last year and wound up taking a loss. I'll apply again next year to see what happens and decide at that time what to do.

Some complained about the Friday portion of the show, which started at 5:00 and ran to 9:00. A mixed media artist got off to a good start with a couple of nice sales and was already breaking even by that point. Saturday was 10-6, and Sunday was 11-4.

Volunteers came around frequently with water and checking on us. Another nice touch was being able to order food in advance from the concession folks, with the volunteers delivering it to your booth. Sandwiches were great tasting and healthy, with the chicken salad sandwich as good as anything I've had elsewhere. I might mention that this is a volunteer driven organization and they have the show logistics well in hand. 

Tear down went fairly smooth with most out of the building in about 2-3 hours, and I wasn't the last out although close to it at 4 hours. I can lift heavy tubs to waist level but can't lift to shoulder high if it weighs more than 25-30 pounds, so it takes some finagling to stack tubs in the van on top of each other.

The show is organized in "streets" with names and a center "boulevard" that keeps it from clogging up with heavy traffic. There are about 130 artists in the show with all but about 12-15 in the rink area of the building. The others are in another room where the food concession and restrooms are. You need to bring your own lights as the building lighting is very high and some sections are dimly lit. Power is supplied with a limit of about 300 watts per booth. 

Here are a couple of shots taken from up in the bleacher stands to give an idea of the layout of the show. the shots aren't the greatest as all I had with me was my cellphone.

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Comment by FaithAnn Givings on June 25, 2018 at 5:01pm


Comment by Robert Wallis on June 25, 2018 at 3:14pm

I've applied for the Labor Day show this year, haven't heard back yet. Will post if I get in.

Comment by FaithAnn Givings on June 25, 2018 at 2:15pm

I think your photos of the layout are great, Robert!

Love to know if you tried the Labor Day show last year and how it went in comparison.

Comment by Sandra J. Atkins-Moran on April 15, 2016 at 8:12pm

Yeah, I don't think they have therapy for that, unless it's with a shrink!

Comment by Robert Wallis on April 15, 2016 at 4:14pm

Thank you :-) I was finally released from PT the week after this show. It was funny how in the weeks previous to the show, some of the PT exercises included taking some rings off of wall pegs that were just at the end of an upraised arm. Turns out I was doing virtually the same thing putting the Velcro straps on the top of the panels and standing tippy-toe on the step ladder to put lights in the panels. I get to start swimming. again and that will help with range of motion and strength. Now if I can just get my sales to be stronger.

Comment by Kathleen J. Clausen on April 15, 2016 at 2:25pm

Thanks, Robert.  Good review, as usual.  I'm sorry about our surgery and glad that you're recovering.

Comment by Sandra J. Atkins-Moran on April 15, 2016 at 11:24am

My sympathies on your rotator cuff surgery.  I had that done 3 years ago ad was re-habbed well enough to do a show in 3 1/2 months, but boy was it ever work getting myself healed!  It's lasted, though, and I was so glad I had it done.  Take care of yourself and try to be careful on the lifting for a while, doing 2 lighter loads in place of one heavy one.  Good luck!

Comment by Robert Wallis on April 15, 2016 at 11:03am
I've not done the fall show as there are shows I do on Labor Day weekend. I didn't get into them last year so that may be an option this year.

The show is ran by artists, so there is considerable effort put into keeping it balanced with a good mix of media. It's easy for a show to get overloaded with photographers and jewelers, and the numbers on these are kept proportional with the other media. You can google their website and see one jury shot from each artist to get an idea of what's making it into the show.
Comment by Alisa Butts on April 15, 2016 at 10:08am
Thanks for the review. I've wondered about this show. It's only about a 5 hour drive for us and we have family in St. Louis to stay with. Have you done the fall Queeny Park show? If so, how is it compared to spring? I'm a jeweler and wonder if there are a lot of jewelrrs already.

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