Art Fair Insiders

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

Uptown Art Fair, Minneapolis, Minnesota--Very Mini

Suggested music: Listen to Tom Petty "She Went Down Swinging" -- repeat 10 times

Ok. A novel beginning, why not, it fits, read on, there will be a good Tequila Report to follow, Art Fair Reviews, eat your heart out, nobody does a blog like me--and, delivers.
Uptown is in the heart of the district slightly south of downtown Minneapolis in a highly charged business district full of bars, retail, and restaurants that attracts thousands of people for three days, Friday to Sunday, last weekend.
I have blogged about this show at least four times in the past. If you research those blogs, you will find out all the info about layout and etc. if you do not, then tough shit, for being lazy and using info easily available.
I have blogged on this site more then five years.
I have blogged about every major show you could consider. Go there, do due diligence.
I am going to give you the now.
Nobody on the circuit does it. Listen closely, and hopefully prosper.
I sell my color photos. They are digital.
I sell dreams, I sell architecture, I sell humor. Mostly, I sell my lifestyle.Most people buy from me because they like what I see, and they like how I tell them about it.
I am approaching age 73 and love what I do. It shows in my work.
Years ago, in Hawaii, while in the Army, in the mid-seventies, I discovered this lifestyle.
I would drive home from the military base to my house on the North Shore. I lived on a house right on Banzai Pipeline.
I would see my friends selling their pottery and incense under a big banyan tree.
They were smoking joints, drinking wine, telling stories, and making money.
I thought, "Would that not be a great way to make a living."
I started at a local art show, by a waterfall, and 42 years later, and over 1500 outdoor shows later,making a living, doing it my way.
I am very blessed.
I am also very pragmatic.
I know what it takes to make a living in this biz.
I am not a starving artist.

That said, read on. I got some important info. It may save you some moola. Or make you some.

Jeez Nels! Please tell us about Uptown?
I though you would never ask.
First off. This show had unnaturally temps, on the cool side with lots of clouds and pesky rain.
Usually it is warm.
Hell, if you do not get heat in August, when are you going to get it, it is Minnesota, they do a lot of winter. Let's
talk about demographics.
You will notice on Art Fair Reviews this subject is rarely addressed.
Uptown attracts a huge crowd, probably, 200,00 plus.
Most of them could care a rats-ass about art.
Lots of young people with empty walls in their houses.
Trouble is, art is not important to them.
They would rather whip out their cellphone and grab a quick shot of your art and move on.
Years ago, the Good Shoes people came out, especially on Friday, and bought some serious art.
Now, you rarely see them.
The big crowds mean it is hard to find parking. The Good Shoes just skip it.
This show fails ninety per cent of the artists for the same reason as Ann Arbor.
Simply said--too many exhibitors for too few buyers.
It is mostly a Lowend show. This year I was off thirty per cent over last year. It is hard to average even $1500 a day here. And, to me, that is barely acceptable.
This year we had unusually cool weathe with rain showers two out of the three days.
Crowds were there, most of them walking their dogs, or carting the kids around in the baby carriage.
Most, did not look seriously at the art.
When it rains, the booths on the mall fare worse. The crowds run away, and do not return.
Up on Hennepin, when it rains the crowds go into the bars and the stores, then come out again to the show.
On Saturday it rained at 5:30, lasted about thirty minutes, the crowds on the mall fled and never returned. Up on Hennepin they were still buying after 8 pm.
So, if you have never done this show before, you have to gamble. Are you going to be in the lucky ten per cent, or the ninety per cent. Your expenses for this show will be a minemum of one grand.
Personally, I would not recommend this show anymore. It is too unreliable.
That is it, folks.
A Tequila Report is coming next.

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Comments are closed for this blog post

Comment by Connie Mettler on September 7, 2017 at 4:31pm

Yes ... a month later I'm still waiting for the Tequila report because in my memory Uptown is full of cool places and Minneapolis is a fine place.

We did the show on the Mall. My partner didn't like to gamble on Hennepin because for him it was more about the logistics than the moola. On the Mall you could have good space behind your booth. We backed up to the railroad tracks and because he was a train buff it was ideal and we'd watch the trains going by. Also, if you were sharp you could park in the neighborhood around the corner and not move your van all weekend. 

The last year we did the show was the year that they decided we didn't need that big corner we'd had for 5-6 years and they put a barbecue on the corner instead. Smoke all weekend. We set up our fans to blow the smoke back at them. It was a big feud. The next day driving down I-94 on our way back to Michigan we see the barbecue guy in the van beside us in Chicago and he was shaking his fist at us. Enough. Goodbye Uptown. But a cool town to visit ...

Comment by Melanie Rolfes on August 17, 2017 at 11:49pm
Another amazing review. Always love them. My favorite part is " if you don't tough shit for being lazy" Looking forward to tequila report.
Comment by Nels Johnson on August 10, 2017 at 5:43pm
Yeah Barry, three a month, year round, still play golf two to three times a week. I got it figured out.
Comment by Barry Bernstein on August 10, 2017 at 1:14pm

Wow, Uncle Nels, 1500 shows in 42 years. That's 35 shows a year. It's amazing that you have any time for golf.

I could have told you it was going to be a stinker. It was one of the few shows I got rejected from, this year. For some reason, when I get rejected from a show, something bad happens. Here's all you need to know about the Uptown show. I did it once on the mall, which is more like a park than a mall. The person next to me had awful paintings of famous people, on barn wood. He used his entire booth, the walls outside his booth, the area in front of his booth, 20 feet behind his booth and all the footage between his booth and mine to display his crap. He even started leaning his stuff against my chair, my tent walls, etc. I made him move his garbage many times. As soon as I looked away he would put it all back. I complained to the director a dozen times. They did nothing to help me. Since then I've been rejected the few times I have applied. After the show, many artists came up to me to express their condolences. It was the worst behavior I have witnessed from an exhibitor(can't call him and artist) at a show.

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