Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Okay, so maybe I didn't rush to post this but the shows over anyway! I've done this show three previous times and you can see my last comprehensive report at: http://www.artfairinsiders.com/profiles/blogs/2011-tempe-fall-festi...
What was different this time around? After reading my own previous posting not much has changed!
Buying energy: Way below previous years. Friday was mostly lookers for me but not so for the guy next to me. Remember Shields and Yarnell? They had a TV show in the late 70's with many other appearances in popular TV at the time. Long story short, Robert Shields is an artist who does many Arizona shows and he was selling some on Friday. I was as close to zero as I could get without actually being there ($25 sale for the day).
Saturday is typically the best selling day of this show. As expected it turned out to be a decent (not great) selling day. Robert was busy most of the day while I had fits and starts.
Sunday, fah-ged-a-boud-it, no buying energy at all. I could have worn balloons on my head, done a really bad mime act and still done better! Robert is a really nice guy he might have given me a few pointers if I asked!
What else may have effected sales? Well, ASU made it to the PAC 12 championship against Stanford and the game ended up on that weekend! Although there were lots of people on the street on Saturday not many were looking for art to take with them to the bleachers. In addition to that, someone reported that the local news was actually discouraging people from going to downtown Tempe because of the game! That didn't seem to quell the crowd but who knows?...
Weather: I was hoping that we'd at least break into the 60's, not so. All weekend long it stayed in the mid 50's. Not bad if you had a sunny spot but anything on Mill Avenue (runs north/south) gets limited sun as it makes its way across the sky. The weather last year was the exception and in 2011 the weather was pretty much the same as this year.
Most of the artists I spoke with reported sales that were off about 50% for them from previous shows here. I did about the same as last year but well above 2011, which, by-the-way, the weather was just as bad.
Anyone considering this show with a long drive? I'd suggest passing unless you've done it before and it works well for you.
What else was different? Usually this show has had control of a parking lot to the west of the show for artists and they only charged $25 for the weekend. This year it was reported that the City of Tempe took control of the lot and were charging $10 per day which is a little less than the going rate at other lots around the venue. The lot closest to my location was $12 a day.
Quality/Range of art: Seemed to be a little below the level of last fall's show. The range was very wide with consequent quality on either end of that range represented. There seemed to be a lot of stuff in the middle of the range.
Load-In/Out: It has usually gone fairly smoothly and on time. This year there seemed to be some mysterious hold up and the 9 o'clock vehicles didn't start to load in till 9:30 which pushed all the other time slots back quite a bit. Good news was, again for some unexplained reason, there was none of the usual frenetic rush and throng of vehicles coming in to set up at the same time. Things seemed to be calm and well organized and there was a lot of street space during set-up.
Oh, I almost forgot. Saturday night they hosted a wine/beer and h'orderves reception for the artists after the show! Apparently they've done it before but this is the first time they had it when I attended the show. They handed out tickets for redemption for bebidos and you queued for the food which they were pretty restrictive with. The fact that they controlled the handing out of food didn't bother me as I got enough to eat its just that they ended up with a lot left over at the end of the shindig and they had restricted the number of artists that they let in through an email reservation sent out early on. Perhaps they could have let a few more artists in to finish off the treats!