Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
This is no hoax, exaggeration, fit of hysterics, or roll of doldrums.
"Dan and I are thinking of quitting the Art Fair Biz."
No, some might exclaim!
But is this the same woman who was so creatively and emotionaly transcendent after Amdur's Promenade of Arts?
"Yup", I answer.
(I can ask and answer my own questions. Pretty advanced for my age, hey?)
Well, what happened this past month, you wonder?
"It all hit."
What? Tornadoes, tsunamis, bankruptcy, the plague, creative block, depression, menopause.......well, tell us?
"Every single thing that this blog has warned me about.............and MORE."
Come on. You're just feeling sorry for yourserlf. What actually happened?
"I foresaw the death of Art."
Linda, you are so melodramatic....who can take you seriously anymore.
"Seriously. I started a blog once before about Art Fairs being Dinosaurs and no one listened. Now I have more proof. And I don't want proof.....I WANT Art Fairs to be the Big Daddies that they used to be. "
Is this the start of a whine?
"Nope. Just what I saw and heard. Honest!"
"Here are some sad but true things that happened this month:
1) I paid out $1,200 in fees, travel and food and made (drum roll) $979. We were rained out of two of the four days of Shows. At one Fair the directors ran around hysterically shouting "There are 75 mph winds headed this way folks. You're on your own. I advise everyone to leave." We scrabbled to load the custom uphostered jewelry cases, the jewelry, curtains, rug, etc. home. (Oh, BTW, the carts that they said would be available to help us load/unload MAGICALLY disappeared right before the storm. A fellow artist who drove down with two tents and a lot of creativity lost everything. And ONE hour later the sun came out!!!
2) Both Art Fairs were jury entry only and had had excellent reputations. Last year we met wonderful artists who became our friends and we sold well there. This year both fairs were BUY/ SELL. Two booths down from me a man opened boxes from India with whatever DOG you wanted to wear on your T-shirt and rawhide bones to match.
Across fom him, was an Hispanic couple selling a store of cheap earrings, bracelets and clothes along with purses, purses, purses. The couple to our right were busy all day selling combs that we watched him take out of shipping boxes when she ran low after fixing girls hair in tricky ways all day.
The couple on the left were already selling Haloween decorations which he admitted they buy at a local store and go all over the state to sell...every day of the week.
As I walked up and down the path of both these country Art Fairs I knew I would never be back.
Art was gone from Watertown's Riverfest and Lake Geneva's Venetian Festival. I do not see it returning in this economy. RIP
3) I was talking to a wealthy friend of mine about getting out of this business. He said he remembers that five years ago everyone went to buy some art at The Lakefront Festival of the Arts in Milwaukee. Now he can't remember the last time he heard any of his friends talking about their latest aquistion. "Funny." he said.
4) I'm exhausted trying to sell to people who want value for the least they can pay. I am not a flea market. I am not the local ATM machine.
There were so many empty booth spaces at both events.
I don't think I'm alone in contemplating quitting. I think many artists already have quit.