Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
This is a very labor intensive show to do for setup and tear down. It is held on the grounds of a scenic park on a bayou in downtown Tarpon Springs. It is fenced off and they charge a $5 admission.
There are only three entrances to the show where vans can park and offload. Otherwise you are carting work from the van parked on the side streets, sometimes as far as two blocks away. It is one giant clusterfuck for the 200 artists there.
It might be worth it if you were selling $3-5K there. Most artists are lucky if they do $1.5K-$2K. You are selling to a mostly older crowd who buys mostly Florida beach dreck art and they want it cheap. My neighbor a water colorist had it down pat. She did not have a lot of originals there. Instead, she had giclees by the thousands and a printer wired up and running behind the booth. She popped prints into white frames that she sold at $22 and $39 each. She did this all show long. Her scenic spots were Florida basic beach 101 and that is just what the crowd wanted.
I showed up for setup on Friday afternoon. My spot was way out on the point, a long cartloads away.the winds were howling, 20-30 mph at times. I pleaded with the committee for a spot closer. They relented. They gave me the first booth spot on the sidewalk as the crowd would come into thru this gate. The kiss of death but it was the best I could get unless I wanted to stay not on the point. Not! I chose the closer spot.
The winds were so bad that it took me two hours just to get the Lightdome up. The winds tore my Velcro fasteners off my panel covers. I had to put v-clamps on all of them to hold in place. I triple staked each corner and the booth barely stayed still. Hung framed photos kept ricocheting in and out off the panels. Four hours later, I was finally setup.
I got there early Saturday morn to get a decent parking spot and found a great breakfest at the nearby Tarpon Diner. Naturally, I ordered the Greek omelet.
The show opened at 9 am and it was very quiet at my gate entrance. I figured I was dead meat. I was already considering tearing down that night and getting the hell out of dodge licking my seriously serrated artist wounds. By noon I was up to $300, my neighbor was already over $2K. By 1pm there were a suitable number of people coming by the booth. I sold to several longtime customers and actually ended the day doing about $1K. No tear down that night.
I got there extra early Sunday morn and got Position "A" for the van. Someday, when I am about to retire, I will explain Position "A". I had bought my standard Sunday NY Times. I can kill three great hours reading it while sipping on coffee, or over breakfests, or while just sitting in my booth chair waiting for an early bird customer.
Things finally started heating up around noon. I equaled the previous day's sales. I asked around the show early Sunday morn. Talked to about 20 artists in different media and asked how their Saturday went. Surprisingly, I did better than the majority of them. Not a lot of happy faces. During tear down I queried friends about the show sales. Most were ok, happy to have done $1500-$2000. But face it, if you are staying in hotels and burning gas, plus meals and a high booth fee then $2000 is not that great.
This has been a tough spring in Florida. The shows have been off for more people than "on".
I made it to a local bar after tear down and got to see the end of the Masters. Overall, I thanked God, I got to live and fight as an artist for another day.
Next up for both Ellen and me is Main Street Fort Worth. We both make some very serious moola there. This is my sixth one with them and they just keep getting better and better. I got in off the waitlist and gave up Mainsail.
Adios, amigos. I will do a tequila report off this show as well.