Art Fair Insiders

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

Southwest Art Festival, Indio, CA, 2017

Hi All. I did the Southwest Art Festival in 2016 (three days) and 2017 (four days) and this show has been a winner for me. I sell southwestern artwork (Shamans) and this is what they are looking for out there. I did the show in 2012 with my abstract sculptures and went home with zero sales. I tried it again in 2014 with abstract and again, zero. I fell in love with the southwest indigenous American artwork and decided to apply with my Shamans - bang, found the key for the lock.

The show is at the polo grounds in Indio, about 3 or 4 miles south highway 10, and about 2 miles east of La Quinta. The show is attended by residents throughout the area.

This year (the four day show) I had little expectations for a crowd on Thursday but I was wrong, very wrong. The place had (on a scale of 1 to 10) about an 8 every day for attendance. Most of the attendees are between 40 and 60 and they have just moved there or are established and looking for something interesting... not much to do in the desert if your retired, so going to the SWAF is a great adventure.

Three of my sales were to the same person on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, just could not get enough. My prices range from $95 to $1,800 and average out at $295.

I have some friends who also did the show and they were not as happy as me (financially). I don't know why they were not selling, but as I mentioned earlier, this (I think) is a southwest show (Southwest Art Festival) and I really do think that with that name on the show, this is what people are expecting to see there.

When you do the show you are given a receipt book when you check in that you have to fill out for each sale (If more than one sale to the person you put it all on one receipt). When the buyer leaves they have to give the gate person the yellow copy to get out with their goods, and they are tight on this.

Weather is always a back of the mind thought when doing desert shows. You never know what's going to happen. The 2016 show ended early on Sunday because of a wind storm. The 2017 show was perfect weather throughout the four days (thank goodness).

Load in is sometimes a bit tight as the aisles are only one car wide, but somehow we all seem to make it work. Load out goes a little easier if you take your time and knock down your booth then take your receipt book to the office, then get your car, wiggle your way in, and load up.

Booth spaces are reasonable for a California show. If you can, get a double. It gives you more room and makes it easier to breakdown in the end. The booth spaces are quads and larger than normal 10 x 12 wide, so a double gets you 10 x 24. You can even request an entire quad for not much more than a double. If you normally use a 10 x 10, a 10 x 20 space will allow you to show your work a lot better, it's just an investment in a second tent, but your "presence" will more than make up for the added expense.

The people organizing the show do a great job (it's never easy) and bring you water throughout the days (drink it!). Mornings there is some food and coffee for the artists. There is also a free lunch ticket for Friday (burger and chips).

If you do decide to apply and get into the show, I suggest bringing a cooler with some apples and power bars and lots of water to keep hydrated.

Good luck out there!

Below is a photo from the 2016 show. I didn't have time to take a photo of my booth for 2017, too busy selling!!!

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Comment by Melanie Rolfes on March 8, 2017 at 6:57pm
Thank you for all the southwest show reviews. Keep it up

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