I just finished my third art / craft show of the 2014 season. This latest show fell into the category of “all show, no go”. I obviously need to spend more time doing my homework on the type of shows I book, because it is painfully obvious that organizers of events will market them one way with the reality of what the market will bear not always in alignment to the story.
The applicable phrase here is “caveat emptor”, or let the buyer beware. In this case the buyer is your’s truly and what I am buying is a 10 ft. x 10 ft. square of hope. If you have the right mix of people and you are showing product at the right price, you should presumably have a formula that makes it worth your time to be sitting at an event for 6 hours. If that formula is out of balance though, running an art tent can be discouraging, if not an outright time-wasting expense.
Last week I posted an article (here) on the types of “art fair” people types you see come by your tent. It was clear that week’s show was chiefly populated with “skipping stones”. Given this weekend’s exhibit debacle, I figured I would do a bit of channeling on Jeff Foxworthy and create a new list called “You know you are in a bad art show when…”
- You arrive at your designated exhibit spot and have to pick up beer cans, cigarette butts and litter because there was a street party the night prior.
- Your tent gets run down by a speeding Bar-B-Que truck during set up.
- As the crowd walks by you begin to suspect you set your tent up inside the People of Walmart website.
- A jewelry crafter next to you suddenly leaves after only 2 hours.
- A person selling “bacon flavor” soy candles tells you “your stuff is too rich for this crowd…”
- Another photographer comes through and browses your prints, because his booth is idle too.
- People ask “Are these real paintings?” when the sign on the wall says “Photography” in really big letters.
- A person carrying $40 of home-made fudge tells their friend that “asking $28.00 for something printed on paper is ridiculous!”. Really?
- You hear an “impatient partner” say “Hon, we can come back after the carnival rides if there’s any money left…”
- The only person making money on photography is a guy taking and printing HDR snapshots of vendor booths and offering them back to the vendors at $10 a piece. Yea, I bought one…