Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rethinking art fairs

I'm just home from the Longs Park Art and Craft Festival and feeling great. Shows have been so tough lately but this show reminded me of why I love doing shows and it has nothing to do with money. In fact my sales weren't what I hoped for at the show but I had a great time!

Set-up was miserably hot and humid as most shows have been this summer, followed by a hot opening day. Which was then followed by three of the most perfect art show days ever. Cool, sunny and good crowds.

It costs $10 to get into this show but it's what they do with the money they make that's so great. It funds free Sunday night concerts for 13 weeks during the summer. And they
get some big names there! What a wonderful thing for the Lancaster community! I sat with a Board member at the Saturday night dinner and learned all about it and the pride they have in bringing this to their community. Who wouldn't be happy with how they're using the money they make from the show!

My sister Karen came up to the show to help me for a couple of days which really upped the fun factor. In my very early days of art fairs, she did a bunch of shows with me and we had great sister time. Now she lives too far away and I just don't see her enough so it's great that she was able to join me. She walks in the booth and it's like she never left... Good times!

On Saturday while she was there we had this fun flurry that was just like the old days. Both of us were busy, we were laughing and just having fun while trying to make sure that everything got to the right person! Boy did that feel great!

The chairperson for the show this year was Diane Moore and she was GREAT! It was her first year but you'd never know she hadn't been running art fairs forever since she was on top of everything and always smiling. She was always around, very visible and very approachable. Just the type of person you would want in charge. Plus her husband Dave helped me roll up my sides one morning!

Have to say that I had great neighbors at this show as well. We were at the end of a "leg" so we didn't get quite everyone walking to the end but we still had a great time. Good neighbors make all the difference, espe
cially at a long show since there will always be slow times and sharing a good laugh makes the time go faster! Michael Schwegmann was there helping in Patty Lindbloom's booth (wonderful jewelry), and he hunkered down my booth for me in preparation for big winds. Felt nice and safe after that! Carolyn Shattuck was my immediate next door neighbor with her wonderful husband Ted. We were meant to meet and be neighbors last weekend.

So why title this post "rethinking art fairs"? Because just when it seemed like shows were just too much work and too darn hard to not enough return, I had a warm, fuzzy show which reminded me of why I do this. We all need to be reminded of this once in a while!


quinncreative said...

Ahhhh, show life. Did it for 15 years. You don't write a book to get famous; you don't do art shows to get rich; you don't get married to have someone else make you happy. But the perks are wonderful! I've seen Carolyn at shows--she's a book artist. Glad you had a very good time. You deserve it just for set-up alone.

Connie Mettler said...

It is all about that "intermittent reinforcement" thingy that keeps us going :)

Valerie A. Heck said...

I do love the longs park show, it is by far the nicest outdoor show I've ever been to. I'm glad you had fun! Valerie

steph said...

Bonnie: Just read several of your blogs and really enjoyed them. I think the last time we were neighbors was at Penrod a couple of years ago. It becomes a family of artist friends when it is right. I'm doing fewer shows but always try to get into Long's Park - haven't made the cut lately, now that I've moved so I'm only 2 hours away. The move to Annapolis resulted in searching for some shows on the East Coast and it hasn't been easy. Still occasionally go back to my Midwest haunts. Those shows were much better for contemporary art than I have found on the East Coast in the Mid-Atlantic area. Stephanie Nadolski