Came across this blog post and thought I'd pass it on!

What was the intent of art fairs in the first place? How many (promoters) have forgotten that?

Remembering that it is work and happy for the acknowledgement of that fact!

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  • Ah... if only the pedestrians strolling our lovely walk-ways knew the torment we artists go through to create work that expresses our inner selves. We're using all of our talents and passions; spending our waking hours creating what we believe to be our best work.

    Do we make what we believe in, or do we make what sells? to know what that is?

    We spend our hard-earned money to travel to that little spot on the walk-way: on tents, walls, pedestals, marketing materials, hotels, gas, food...and more. We deal with traffic, weather, personal problems...and more.

    Then, we open the flaps to our tents and try to make sales - which, by the way, is why we're at art festivals - it is a retail setting after all, not a museum. Each of our 10x10 spaces are our "galleries on the go." Let's not pretend otherwise - even the best fine art galleries are retailers!

    If we only want to show our work, share it with our friends and the community - we shouldn't put a price tag on it!

    I try to bring my best work to every show - just in case; and reproductions and prints - when appropriate - to recoup my investment in the show - and hopefully, get a commission, a sale or an introduction after the show. It is more of a marketing exercise - building relationships with potential buyers.

    My experience has shown that most people do not buy original work from me at the show, but will take my card, research my site and keep in touch with me afterwards. My web site is set up to showcase my work - and let visitors know how to buy it. I also send out emails to promote upcoming shows, every new piece, and "newsworthy" stuff. It does lead to sales.

    As a former event planner, I know the promoters have a difficult job - which is to create the venue for us artists - spending our money on renting a location, advertising, publicity, etc. Giving us instructions on how to load in and out. Praying for good weather. Providing [in the best cases] us with water, breakfast, lunch and volunteers to booth-sit.

    Are there too many shows? So many that the public has become immune to the word "art show" because it now means everything from cheap imported stuff to our finest work and everything in-between?

    Can the promoters deliver the most discerning art collectors? What do you suggest they do?

    Ban strollers? Ban cameras? Ban Kettlecorn?

    Well, I would say yes to banning kettlecorn. I would say yes to charging admission. Shows that charge admission mean business. Art business.

    It can't happen for most promoters - if they only sell booth space to artists that show original, hand-made work only - and market the show that way - charging admission - they might not sell enough booths - but the quality of the work would be better; and maybe we can re-train the public. No food court, no sponsors booths? Fat chance.

    There are a few - probably the top 10.

    How many of us artists have heard this line: "I don't have any more room for art" "I made that in high school" "I don't have any money" "I've seen all of this art before" "Are you going to be at _____ [the next stop on the circuit] - so perhaps the festival go-ers not taking these "art shows" seriously. Maybe they're not at the "art show" to buy art?!  Maybe they are there for the kettlecorn.

    But, not all. I know there are fabulous people who collect fine art who go and look closely; talk to the artists. There are some of us who - in spite of everything- make a great living.

    If we're smart, we respond to the marketplace. These events have become an entertainment destination to most people - they walk their dogs, they meet their friends, they eat kettlecorn, they stop and try on earrings. Most festival go-ers don't know the different between and original and a reproduction. They want something cute or pretty or beguiling or fascinating - that they can afford. The paradigm has shifted - and we must respond.

    And to respond to Karen's blog - Shlock is shlock no matter who makes it.

  • Wow, Karen has a great blog.  I am not an artist but I really enjoyed reading it and learned a lot.

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