Art Fair Insiders

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

Last week I traveled to
Royal Oak, MI, to meet with Jon Witz, producer of
Arts, Beats & Eats, and the operations people for the event. I do believe we have here the "second coming".
1998 Witz produced the first Arts, Beats & Eats with the support of the Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, perhaps the most important politician in Michigan. Patterson found Witz great partners like Chrysler and K Mart and Jon was off and running with his characteristic moxie, vision, energy and ability to put people together to make things happen. The first event was a Wow! My husband and I got pulled in from the very beginning. I was on the advisory board. We have participated in a fair number of first time events over the years, including: 1st Arti Gras, 1st Fine Art in Birmingham, 1st Greektown, 1st Laumeier,
1st Cherry Creek! All of these started slowly but with decent sales. But in 1998 in Pontiac at a first time show we
sold into the five figures! Cherry Creek didn't even do that for us. The people came in the
tens of thousands, they loved the event, they bought art, enjoyed the music, the galleries
and the atypical art fair food from the area's finest restaurants. Witz put together a
coalition of media sponsors including radio, television and all the local print media to inundate the area with news about the event. Yes, you've heard a lot about this event. As hard times in Michigan have mounted the event has not kept its perfect audience. But, I am here to tell you today that Arts, Beats & Eats is back! The City of Royal Oak is welcoming it with open arms! Everyone there is working together to make the event an exciting and successful time for all. Royal Oak is a section of metro Detroit seemingly
untouched by the economic problems found elsewhere. When I was there last week I saw street after street of very nice single family neighborhoods, with cool shopping streets full of one of a kind goods and restaurants that cater to all kinds of eating. It is a jewel of a place! It is like the neighborhoods around the Plaza in Kansas City and Cherry Creek in Denver or Uptown in Minneapolis. So...while you are thinking about your 2010 schedule, put this one back on your list for
Labor Day weekend, September 3-6. Arts, Beats & Eats is back with a vengeance! It will be cool, it will be in the right neighborhood, it will be full of excited Detroiters ready for a celebration -- and you remember that Michigan audience that loves art fairs? They'll be there too.

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Comment by Sandi Cottrell on January 19, 2010 at 10:23pm
Connie, our former Event Manager works for the Royal Oak Downtown Association (not sure if that is the right name.) She "gets it" and she may be a valuable resource for you. Her name is Stephanie McIntyre and she is wonderful.

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