Seattle Best of the Northwest spring show

I did the Best of the NW spring show in Seattle last weekend. It's held in an old air base hangar on Lake Washington, which is a funky and very "Seattle" location. It's put on by the Northwest Arts Alliance, an artists' organization that's been promoting this show for quite a few years. They also put on a large holiday show in November. They are great folks, and they work hard to get the word out. There were plenty of TV and radio spots leading up to the show. Set up was on Friday afternoon/Saturday morning, and load in and out is quite easy, just a short dolly into the building.


The turnout was good - steady to crowded most of both days. I had a steady stream of shoppers both days, with only a few lulls. Seattle art-festival-goers are a wonderful bunch - very curious, relaxed and friendly.  The promoters book great music - everything from jazz to zydeco - which puts everyone in a festive mood. There were just three food vendors, all very good. Overall, this should be the formula for a good show. 8871868481?profile=original


However, there was definitely budget-consciousness in the air - I don't think I've ever had so many people pick up a piece and ask questions about it, then walk away without it. I did sell a couple bigger pieces, which helped make it a profitable show for me. A couple booth neighbors did really well, which was encouraging and a pleasure to watch. Some others in my aisle didn't do so great. I imagine my sales were in the middle somewhere. I'm hoping as the year (and my sales technique) warms up, the buyers will relax a bit and sales will be better.


It did feel great to kick off the first show of the year in the Northwest. Overall, the show is worth a try if you are local and need an early Northwest Show to get the juices flowing.

Votes: 0
E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of Art Fair Insiders to add comments!

Join Art Fair Insiders


  • We gave up on these shows after they kept moving to worse and worse locations and the management never got it together. Last year we tried it one more time at the Seattle Center and that was a fiasco so we decided "no more". It's too bad since we live here which normally would make this show ideal but they charge customers to park and to get in and they just can't find a decent location to call home. Last Fall we decided to go as customers to see some of our artist friends and had to wait 40 minutes in the rain for a shuttle bus to take us to the show so they really have to work that out! Many local artists just pass on this show. For us it is still too iffy to bother with and too many better shows to do.
  • Thanks Ruth, I really appreciate the info-gathering, that helps so much in making decisions about where to apply. I hope your Idaho trip goes well. It sounds like fun, I have to admit. Looking forward to your reports!
  • I'm with you on wanting more West Coast reviews!!  I didn't find this site until recently.


    I'll be glad to share my Idaho stories, did both of those shows last year and they were good enough that we're going back. Sand Point was actually a huge surprise, lowest booth fee and highest sales of our 3 week road trip!  I can see where wind would be a problem, wasn't last year, we have 50 lb weights on each leg so hopefully that will be enough.  The show is in a beautiful location, we kept watching all the sailboats, wishing we were out on the lake!  Sand Point is the same weekend as Coupeville this year, Coeur d'Alene is the same weekend as Anacortes and since we are waitlisted for Anacortes we decided to go to Idaho.  We got into Sweet Pea (same weekend as Anacortes and CDA) this year but declined it after deciding we didn't want to drive quite that far with the price of gas on the increase.

    Regarding Folk Life, there's a glass artist who has been next to us the last 2 years who does quite well.  He's does the smaller glass pieces.  If I get a chance to chat with any of the artists with the larger pieces this year, I'll be glad to pass along what I learn.

  • The guy next to me at Fresh Paint (an oil painter) said he also did really well at Sand Point. I hear it can get extra windy and extra canopy weights are a good idea. The metal sculptor across from me at BestNW lost his canopy/kite there one year and swore off outdoor shows. He said it was pretty traumatic, so it must have been a good blow. I almost applied for that one, and was also looking at Big Fork MT,  but decided to stay closer to home this year. I think they are the same weekend as Anacortes, right?


    I had a 10x6 booth at Phinney, they put me in the lower building. It's still a challenge for me after always having 10x10, but I managed it. Because of it being a holiday show I expected to sell cheaper items, but was surprised to find very little price resistance & sold quite a few things over $100.


    I haven't every done Folklife. I wasn't sure my stuff would do very well there. Jewelry seems to be more flexible that way, don't you think? I don't know anybody who hasn't bought jewelry at one time or another. I used to do fabricated stone/jewelry *#&$ years ago, but I don't think I could stand the competition now. It's tempting, though, after I've hauled the fifth heavy tub full of glass


    I'd love to hear how the Idaho shows go. Are you planning on writing a review? I thought I'd post reviews of all the shows as the season goes on. I'd like to get more West Coast info on this board. It's already been so much help to me.

  • Hi Steph, Yes we do Salmon Days and it's one of our best shows, also our last outdoor show of the year.  Like many shows, it's a Seattle area show and people seem to come out no matter what the weather does.


    We've done Fresh Paint twice and are taking this year off, last year it was quite chilly on the pier, rained overnight Saturday so we shivered through Sunday.  Instead we're trying a new show in Lake Chelan, we're actually doing a 4 week road trip to Tri-Cities and 2 shows in North ID, stopping at Lake Chelan on the way home from ID.  We decided we wanted some "real summer" weather this year!!  We also do really well in tourist areas so Lake Chelan in August seems like it makes sense.

    I think I've also seen you at Coupeville which we've done for a few years which we're also not doing this year.  Last year we did a show in Sand Point ID where we did better than we've ever done at Coupeville and since we're at Couer d'Alene Art on the Green the weekend before it makes sense to just stay there on the lake for the week in between.

    I've not done Phinney Winter Fest, will be applying this year.  We've done TideFest in Gig Harbor which is the same weekend, it's okay but I'm ready to try something new.  We did visit it one year when we didn't have a show that weekend, I was concerned about the very small booth size but will figure out how to make that work since I'm hearing from you and other artists about that one.


    Have you ever done Folk Life?  We're doing that this weekend for the 3rd time, it's been our second best show of the year for the last 2 years, agian, no matter what the weather does the people come out for the music and cultural events.

  • Hi Ruth,

    I think I cruised by and said hello at the Best of the NW spring show. It will be nice to meet you for real. You do Salmon Days, don't you? Do you do the Snohomish County Fresh Paint show? My jewelry neighbor did very well there last year, and it's a beautiful setting, looking out on the Everett Marina.


    Linda, the woman across from me at the Best of the NW show who makes that wonderful outdoor bas-relief work, told me that she does the Bothell show and does well. I contacted them when I got back from the show & they let me in late. I did well at Art by the Bay on Camano Island which is another of those smaller shows, so I thought I'd give Bothell a try. I'm in Carnation, so I'm really close.

       Have you tried the Phinney Winter Fest? The sales there were a complete surprise. Some folks there have done that one for fifteen years. I expected a funny little bazaar-type show, which it is a little bit, but the artists there are high quality and the sales were pretty great.

  • Chi & Steff - look forward to seeing you both in November.  I would be interested in finding out about good shows in Vancouver.

    Steph - I just looked at your website, beautiful work, noticed you were doing Bothell Live Arts, we pulled out of this one after another jeweler told it wasn't worth our time.  Have you done that show before?  We hadn't found many who had done it before, hoping we didn't make a mistake declining the show. 

  • Chi & Steff - look forward to seeing you both in November.  I would be interested in finding out about good shows in Vancouver.

    Steph - I just looked at your website, beautiful work, noticed you were doing Bothell Live Arts, we pulled out of this one after another jeweler told it wasn't worth our time.  Have you done that show before?  We hadn't found many who had done it before, hoping we didn't make a mistake declining the show. 

  • Thanks Chi,

    I know the booth fee for Vancouver is pretty high. It doesn't sound like it's worth the fee yet. Maybe it will build a following and will get better. I'm happy to talk about other good shows in Washington any time. I'll find you at the Best of the NW show in November & introduce myself. I hope you have a good show there.


  • No, never done the Vancouver OOAK but have done the Circle Craft Christmas Market for the past 5 years and it's a good show for me.  OOAK don't allow any of their artist to do similar shows within 30 Km within 30 days, I walk the show and find it "Trendy" with more emergining artist while Circle Craft is more for traditional Show goers and they get a good turn out - it's been around for over 20+ years and with any show it's always unknow till the end of the show.   But, still one of the most established show in Vancouver.  I Know friends who done the OOAK Vancouver and Toronto - Vancouver is not the same as the Toronto Show.  It's a new show and Vancouver is a small market.  Hope this help.
This reply was deleted.