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

This was my first time doing this show, so it was definitely a learning experience. It's located right by ASU on Mill Ave, a popular college hangout. Load in was Thursday night between 9pm and 9am Friday. Load in wasn't too bad other than the trailer a few cars in front of me falling into a small ditch with the construction going on in the area. Once I got thru I was able to park right by my tent, so unloading was pretty easy and the horrible techno music that was blaring from one of the clubs made me move a little bit faster. My booth was near the beginning and was one of the lucky ones to be in the shade for most of the day. It was a beautiful weekend but may have been a little warm for some out in the sun all day. It was a clear and sunny day in the 90's with a breeze every once in a while.

Friday morning there was people there at 9, the show didn't start until 10. Most of them were there to buy from artists they have seen before. There was a good crowd the entire day but I did all of my sales within the first 2 hours but it wasn't much. Although there was a lot of people, they just didn't seem to be buying large items.  Luckily this area is lined with bars so it was time to go grab a cold beer at the end of the day!

Saturday started off a little slower but it was definitely more crowded. I saw many people with bags in their hand and a lot of large art being carried out. This was a good day for me as a couple of smaller originals were sold. I even had something that probably rarely happens. A person that took one of my cards on Friday called me and wanted to see a piece that I had on my website but was not hung at the show. They actually came to pick it up with cash in hand!

And the there was Sunday. Again the crowds were big but this time not as much art being carried. I had a lot of interest, probably more interest than Saturday, but no sales. Several people spent 15-20 minutes talking to me but when they asked were I am located, which is nearby, they said "oh so we can see you anytime, do you have a website and a card?". This happened over and over, I felt like lying to them. At the end of the day I had a small commission and some people to follow up with, but only $50 cash and carry. As badly as I needed a cold beer, it was time to tear down. Tear down was easy as we could again park our cars in from of our booth and load up.

Because I didn't have any travel expenses this show was good for me, bringing in a little over $2k. I know many would think that's not good, but I'm just getting started in this business and learning the ropes. I had talked to several of the painters at this show and they say many of their sales come from people coming back and buying at the next show. Two of the painters I talked to brought in over $10k but they have been doing this show for several years.

All the artists near were great and very helpful, even got to meet a couple AFI'ers. So over all I consider it a successful weekend and hope to get into the next one in the Fall and increase my sales!

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Comment by Brian Billings on April 11, 2013 at 5:33pm

S Brian Burkun- Congrats on the award! Was the Carefree show by Thunderbird Artist? I didn't notice any loud music near me, except for at night. Yes, they have added some spots on the side streets. I was talking to my booth neighbor and he said the director told him their getting a lot more applications, especially for the Fall show. Because of this they are trying to add more artists and take out the bad ones, although some still sneak in. If you have fine art you want to make sure you are on Mill, mostly jewelry, puppets and food on the side streets.

Comment by lulu moonwood murakami on April 10, 2013 at 5:26pm

Thanks for sharing - this is a show I have thought about applying to.

Comment by S Brian Berkun on April 9, 2013 at 11:39am
The show was "average" for me which, given the show I did two weeks ago in Carefree was a welcome event. People that had seen my work last spring came back and purchased which was encouraging given that I think people have to see your work several times before they will purchase these days. Lots of great compliments from visitors and I garnered the prize and ribbon for Photography! Most of my sales were in the mid range, matted pieces, although one patron had me frame up a piece he was giving as a B-Day gift to a friend after reviewing all the other artists at the show!
Walking (or driving through at the end of the day) I noticed some spots were right by the blaring music, i would have had to have a lobotomy after a day with that noise! I was across from Hooters which usually is very loud but this time around was not as loud. I noticed some new spots were added in side parking lots with very little traffic coming their way, is Tempe trying to ramp up their booth numbers again? I first did this show 31 years ago and was on 6th avenues side area. No one saw me there even though this was the most crowded show I had ever seen up to that time.
Comment by Daryl Cohen & Kevin Frosch on April 8, 2013 at 1:00pm

I think our price point just works for us at Tempe,  $30 to $300. All three days were excellent, we had one of our best shows ever. Booth was full most of the time and the sales were steady, even though they were mostly in the $100 range.

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