Art Fair Insiders

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The Loring Park Art Festival tries a new weekend

The Loring Park Arts Festival had lived in the shadow of the Uptown Art Fair since it's inception 17 years ago.  Minneapolis had three major art fairs on the same weekend including the Powderhorn Park Art Festival.  This was A LOT of art for the public to take in all at once.  Only a few diehards made it to more than one.  Personally I started veering away from all three shows finding that the weekend was just oversaturated and spreading the buying "love" way too thin.  But when the Loring Park Festival organizers announced they were breaking away I decided to give it a shot again.

In the weeks and even months ahead of the event I saw them working very hard to get the word out that the date had changed.  I was especially glad to hear them on Minnesota Public Radio.  They also seemed to be working the social media scene pretty well.  I was hopeful that it would work.  Of course another big obstacle was terrible construction going on right on the main road leading to the park- this was not going to be easy to pull off.

Luckily they had weather going for them- two perfect days- temps in the 70's light breeze and cloud cover.  Hardly even humid.

Load in on Friday was super easy- they know how to work this park after all this time.  I had a sweet spot with plenty of room to park behind my booth and load out and set up without having to move my car.  Everyone was enjoying a relaxing set up in perfect weather.

Saturday started a bit slow but picked up about 11:00.  My sales were steady with two big purchases ($500+).  But I would say a majority of my sales came because of my presence in the local area.  Many of my purchases were from previous customers or ones that had seen me at the Wayzata show I did in June. I did feel like I talked to a lot of people that had not seen my work before which is good when you can start feeling like you have oversaturated a market but I would say most of those new people were not buying (yet!).  

Sunday was a lot slower in the area of sales.  It seemed the crowds were a bit down.  I only got to talk to a few artists in my area but they reported good sales.  I'd be interested to hear how other's did.  Hopefully next weekend when I get to GO to Uptown and Powderhorn I can chat with some that are doing both and get a broader view of results of the big switch.

Overall I really think it was a good move on Loring Park's.  They probably gained some more artists- especially those that travel from far away to Uptown and want to add another show to their schedule.  The patrons I talked to were also happy with it because that meant they could spread out their art shopping to two weekends.  

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Comment by Marti Johnson on August 3, 2016 at 9:27am
I have participated in Loring off and on over the years, off years doing Uptown or Powderhorn. The main organizer is an artist and knows how to run an art fair, very aware of the needs of artists and customers. Unfortunately the City of Minneapolis told them part of the construction that would ease access and parking options would be completed by the art fair date but failed, consequently made it extremely challenging for people to get in and find parking. Therefore, I was surprised as many people came as they did, more so on Sat than Sun. I queried all my customers, who said they knew the area well enough to figure outmthe work arounds and were delighted for the date change. Reasons stated, more relaxing not needing to rush to get to the other events and could spread out their spending. I felt this was more of an art patron crowd than in the past and I met several new customers as well. I think there was new work added in that helps to keep a show fresh and the categories were balanced. The show fees are reasonable, access was very good in and out, ( I was on the East end), Whole Foods donated a very nice breakfast, volunteers brought water around a couple of times each day. My sales were better than in years past. This show has much more potential, now unencumbered by the other events and I would presume better access/parking in years to come.
Comment by Christina L. Towell on August 2, 2016 at 8:43am

Enjoyable review, Layl, I hope some other artists that participated will weigh in with their thoughts as well...thanks for sharing yours with us.

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