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

St. Petersburg Fine Art Show--not bad if you were not in the sand

This was last weekend. A Paragon show in North Straub Park beside the Museum of Art.
This show had lots of visibility. Right on Beach Drive, across from all the happening restaurants. There is a steady vibe here of people enjoying themselves-- and enjoying the art.
It was my second time doing this show. Only 126 artists. Easy peaszy setup. On Sunday, tear it all down then get your van. Most people were out in an hour.
You can set up a day before, very leisurely. I got to sleep in my own Ybor bed, so did Ellen who was beside me.
Booth fee just under $400. Good advertising. Lots of good art and craft at the show, did not see much buy-sell. Plenty of regulars in all mediums who inhabit our circuit nationally.
That said, we all made some money, but not enough of it. Saturday was the day of overall sales being real good. Sunday, the high end sellers had a better day then the rest of us.
So far this year I get a sense that the general public is very rattled by the political atmosphere. You can see them rising to the surface, almost ready to go home with the work. Then they put it back and walk away. They just cannot pull the trigger.
I saw it happen over and over again. So far, my sales are off by about 40 per cent over last year.
I am not alone in this respect.
I am afraid we have not seen the last of this phenomenon.
John Leben you are one lucky man. Hope you can keep it up.
This is a sweet little show, I just hope Bill Kinney (Mr. Paragon) does not kill the golden goose.
Two weeks from now, he is putting on a seafood-craft festival in the same area. The locals will start thinking, "Oh it just those people in the white tents, ho hum, no reason to buy now, they will be around again." Bill, take a lesson from Naples. Can you smell, or spell, over-proliferation.
There was an event held in the week before. They used tons of sand(which Bill had no control over) which ended up covering almost one half of the pedestrian walkway on one of the aisles. People got stuck there, it was not pretty.
I would do the show again. It is a great venue for an Art Show.
This week I will be at Heathrow next to Lake Mary. Be staying with my good bud Steve Vaughn. Pray for us, sales could be kind of slim.

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Comment by Tammie T Everly on February 28, 2017 at 8:22am

I'll be at Heathrow this week too, my first time there. Fingers crossed for a good result!

Comment by Barry Bernstein on March 1, 2017 at 10:04am

I saw the pictures of all that sand. Not fun if you got stuck in it. Your description of "we all made money but not enough" is exactly what I experienced this year. The only way it works for someone like me is to do a show every weekend while in Florida. No more one killer show and go home. I don't think it is the political climate. Most of those people are Trumpies and they think things are just fine. Also, they have some free money because the stock market is doing so well. The last time that happened sales for artists were great. We all should be selling more. It's your other comment that was more accurate. There are more shows and more artists. It is a buyers market. If they skip buying something this week, they can buy something next week. It was better for us when there were less shows, meaning "I better buy from this artist today because I may not see something that I like until next year." Now it's "If I don't buy it this week, I can buy something I like just as well next week." Or, in the case of just a couple of weeks ago they could drive around to 5 different shows and find something as good or better.

Comment by Nels Johnson on March 1, 2017 at 6:55pm
I am afraid you nailed it on the head, Barry. We should be making money
Comment by B. David Kay on March 5, 2017 at 9:07pm

Barry Bernstein, I believe you hit the nail on the head with too many shows.   I have been saying that for over a year now.   Here in the Chicago area, this June there are 14 art shows in the month within a very reasonable drive.  

It is just diluting the market.  The only one making money are the promoters who are selling booth spaces.  In some cases not to artists but to "sponsors."

Oh well life is what it is.  


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