Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
As some of you may remember, I won the full pass to the ZAPP Art Festival Conference from this year's pledge drive. Well, it's been a long time coming, but I'm finally able to sit down and write about my experience there.
I flew from Oakland to Portland on Thursday morning and got to the Benson Hotel about ten minutes into the first session and quickly jumped from one session to the next, hoping to find topics that would help me learn how to make my art festival experience great and professional.
To be perfectly honest, I was a little disappointed at first to find out that the main sessions were geared more toward art fair promoters. I think I had been expecting this conference to be more like a convention; where art fair promoters and advertisers had booths where would-be artists could learn all the ins and outs of art fairs, have some questions answered, and learn how to improve their business. But thankfully there were some afternoon break out sessions at the conference that focused on the artists and how we could improve our experiences.
One of the break out sessions that I found incredibly helpful was the Public Portfolio Critique. My husband and I submitted our art and mock booth photo in the hopes of getting some feedback on our stuff, and YAY, we were one of the artists they chose to judge! But I also learned a great deal from their comments on the other artists' images. It was very cool to be sitting in on a mock jury, to get an idea of where they're coming from, what they're looking for, and how to improve my chances to be selected for a show.
And then there were the lunches. I normally find a spot out of the way to sit and eat (whether from fear or a need for solitude, I'm not sure), but on both days people came to join me and I'm so glad they did! I met some wonderful people during those lunches, and have some good contacts now; some fellow artists and a couple promoters, one even in my local area!
I also got to meet Connie! While sitting in the back of the room at Eve Connell's session about effective interpersonal communication, I got introduced to Kelly Smith Cassidy who was also sitting in the back row. When Kelly heard my name, she said that Connie had been looking for me. That was a nice feeling, and I made sure to go meet her after the session. She's just as warm and friendly in person as she seems on her podcasts and in the comments and blogs she writes here on AFI.
I was unable to stay for the festival afterward--as I had to get home and spend the weekend with my husband and his daughter--but I know I'll be looking at the festivals I walk very differently now.
Thank you, again, Connie and AFI for this wonderful opportunity! And hopefully I'll see you all around at art fairs very soon.