Art Fair Insiders

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

Vero Beach Under the Oaks—Very sad story

When I left New Smyrna early Thursday morning, I waved Ellen a goodbye kiss and took a big breath.

So far as I knew this was about the only show to go on for the weekend in Florida.

Vero is a biggie, So was Winter Park the following weekend.

I had ordered and bought lots of inventory, printing papers, mat boards, frames and glass in anticipation.

My past history told me I had the potential to make $10k-$18k between the two shows.

That could hold me over into late May.  I needed this bad.  Just like so many of my friends,

I was also looking at nearly $2k in booth fees due by the end of the month.

I headed down I-95 with crossed fingers.

I arrived early and found my booth space.  Challenging, but I could handle it.

You could feel the apprehension in the air.

Everybody was trading stories. Shows cancelled, what are we going to do.  What future shows were closing.

By 3pm, after a cool lunch with Chris and Linda at the Riverside Cafe I was finally setup.

Everybody was looking forward to making money on Friday.

We counted ourselves lucky.

The. At 4pm I heard the first rumor.

They were cancelling Winter Park.

I about threw up.  Way to spoil a perfect Mahi sandwich.

Minutes later, it was official.

Now, I was really sick.

Let me preface this—about sick.

When I did Gasparilla two weekends earlier, I caught an airborne virus from somebody.

First I got that tickle in the back of my throat.  Next day I was coughing up yellow mucus.

The next two days, I had no energy, stayed in bed.  Went to a clinic on Friday and was diagnosed with a viral respitory infection.  Not the Coronavirus.

Got an inhaler, took Musinex, and started a daily pill.

Laid low next five days and slowly recovered.  Ellen caught it.

By Wednesday, day before. Vero, I was still weak.

 BY Thursday I felt ok and was on my way.

So Friday morn first day of show, we were all ready.

I heard that more than a dozen artists had shown up early to see if there were any cancellations.

There were none.

People came early.

There was good social distancing.

Nobody was on top of another.

no coughing, no sneezing.

I signed for people on my Square on the IPad.

Alcohol wiped all cards and screens.

People were happy to see us.

 Not a lot of sales going on, but people were happy.

Friday is never a biggie here,  If you make $500 you are doing good.

Had lots of bites.

Usually the wife comes today and Spock’s out the show.

Then they drag their husbands off the golf course and buy on Saturday.

I had at least 12 situations like that.  Saturday looked real good.

Then, do not forget this was Friday the 13th!

The shitstorm hit us,

.We had heard rumblings around the show around 4pm.

Show was closing—permanently.

At five minutes before closing, the red golf cart with the show director started making the rounds.

We were told that the show was closed, by sheriffs order, and we had to get our white tents and asses out of Dodge.  Pronto.

I got a sick feeling again.  This really sucked.

I packed out in less than two hours.  My heart was not in it.

I started having feelings about artist oblivion.

This is what I found out later.

The Show wanted to go on.  Because of Trumps Excecutive Order police depts. had to close down all large public gatherings.  End of show, no refunds.  Tough, fucking shit.

So, it is Monday and I am at my fav NSB bar, the Ocean Breeze.  It is Monday Monday, so all food and drink is half price for guys.

We just got the news.  The bright orange Tuna said that any gatherings of people are verboten, unless you are at one of his rally’s. A little sarcasm.

I ordered another Patron and sushi.

I am living on the edge.

Jeez! We thought all that was important, was to get in the best shows and prosper.

Now! Who knows, where is my next future sale.  And online is not where it is at.

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Comment by Joel Lockridge on April 10, 2020 at 11:20pm

At least you had a day of show! I've had six in a row cancel. Just trying to pay booth fee "hope so" fees right now.

Comment by larry smith on March 20, 2020 at 4:31pm

Was my best ever 1/3 show. 0 sales.

Comment by Nels johnson on March 20, 2020 at 2:29pm

Well, on a positive note.

A woman saw me last Friday at Vero.

She called me yesterday, and today I drove 95 miles down I95 and delivered a $400 framed photo.  It will pay for at least one booth fee.

So far, still waiting on my first refund check from a show. I have over $2000 out there waiting on a refund.

I am getting to have a very, creative, variable relationship with canned tuna.

Tried it with Corn Chex. This morn, you gotta eat it fast, once it is soggy, it tastes like shit.

Just saying, you know me, I am always operating just outside the box.

Comment by Connie Mettler on March 19, 2020 at 10:25pm

Well, if E. Lansing does go on that will be very exciting. Btw, it is always on my birthday ... I'll attend (it will be exciting to go to an art fair!) and buy you both drinks. 

Comment by Robert Wallis on March 19, 2020 at 10:04pm

If the East Lansing show goes on, I'll buy you a drink there. I'm not confident it's going to go on.

Comment by Al Scovern on March 18, 2020 at 1:45pm

Artisphere, originally scheduled for May, has postponed to August 21-23. So you’re right, May is not looking good and not to be entirely pessimistic but I don’t think August is either. 

Comment by Nels johnson on March 18, 2020 at 1:10pm

Just heard that my Melbourne show, late April, is now cancelled.

I am out over $15000 in sales from cancelled shows.

My next show is East Lansing in mid May, waiting to hear the shoe drop on this one too.

Comment by Connie Mettler on March 18, 2020 at 11:39am

Thanks, Keith. That is another perspective. Although it sounds glamorous, a good friend was a yacht broker in San Francisco. Who buys boats when a luxury tax comes in? Okay, he was young enough then to find other work, like you did at that time. Then again in 2008 many people were buying boats with equity they took out of their homes. Bam! Who bought boats, art, any luxury in those days? He was one of those people who never found work again and retired early. As a self-employed person, like many of us no 401K's, no pension, small social security checks because we can write off a lot of income because of all the write offs. Let's hope that vaccine will be found and this will just be a brief interlude, instead of destruction of our economy with repercussions for many years.

Comment by Barry Bernstein on March 17, 2020 at 7:38pm

Who cares about semantics. Bottom Line: Every show in March and April are either canceled or postponed. I'd say May is 50-50.

Comment by Nels johnson on March 17, 2020 at 6:46pm

I did not say anything about “10 people.”

Trump issued an executive order and local police depts used that as a justification to close down large gatherings.

That is all I said

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