Art Fair Feedback – Part 2

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Artist report:

Dear Connie,

I attended the Sylvania Arts Festival this past weekend. To say is was a Arts and Crafts Festival is a total misnomer. It was more like a church bazaar with mostly loving hands work. Lot of beads on a string as jewelry. Buckeye nuts with a couple of red and gray beads for a necklace. Glass blocks with a painted logo with a short string of Christmas lights. I could go on and on.

Many university logos and commercial logos used without licensing agreements. Imports. One booth of purely manicuring nail files. Glass dinnerware with metal and beads glued on. It appeared that anyone applying got in. Even worse you had to apply in January with your booth fee. They cashed all checks upon receipt. When I called about this practice, they said “your fee would be refunded if not accepted”. I called several times during the summer since I hadn’t heard from them and their response was “we are still waiting for more applications so we can have ‘someone’ jury the event.

A booth two down from me, the one with the glass blocks, had a generator and a five gallon can of gas in the booth!!! Nobody from the festival seemed to care about it. I suggested to the people that it was a very unsafe practice, not only to themselves and their customers but also to all the booths around them. Not only that but they were smoking in the booth also!!!! They finally moved the gas can when I suggested the fire marshal would not take too kindly to the practice.

There was no show evaluation questionnaire and nobody from the festival came around to talk to any exhibitors.

Am sending this so you will know what the show really was and not what their application said it was. Hopefully you will take it off your list of shows to announce in your report.

I forwarded the above letter to the Sylvania Arts Festival and here is their response:

Connie,

Thank you for the information. Our show was juried for the first time by the Toledo Craftsman Guild and we trusted their decision as the final say as to who was in the show. The show was juried by submitted photos with an application and we have found since this is not an exact science we had two artist judges walking the show and they submitted a list of questionable crafts.

Some of the juried vendors brought in things that were not originally submitted on their application. Several will be eliminated from the show for 2008.

The Sylvania Area Chamber wants the event to grow as a first class event and as such is committed to making sure things of this nature do not happen. Our application clearly states that there is no electricity or generators at the event. If the exhibitor saw this she should have found someone from the Chamber who would have made sure that this was rectified immediately.

We spoke to many vendors about the show and received some good and some bad reports. We also had a packet with information and a time that vendors could sign up for next year or to speak to us in person.

Since this was a move to a new location there were some move-in glitches. The festival has been around for fifty years so the longevity speaks to our commitment to having one of the best. If the exhibitor would like to speak to me personally, I would welcome her comments. I can be reached by phone at 419-882-2135 or via email at pnowak@sylvaniachamber.org

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

This response was forwarded to the artist and here is his answer:

It’s a start. The statement about the generator is incorrect because a festival representative did say it was ok to have the generator as long as the noise didn’t bother any nearby booths. It was one of those ultra quiet Honda generators so there was little noise. I didn’t object to that other than the gas can stored in the booth which they did remove.

We found the location to be nice. A paved parking lot at Lourdes College. Booth space was a full car space about 10 X 20. Set up was easy. The aisles were a bit conjested during set-up and teardown but the artists were friendly and moved vehicles so others could get in.

Hopefully they will learn more about the jurying process in the future and not wait until the last minute to get a acceptable jury.

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2 Responses to “Art Fair Feedback – Part 2”

  1. Shawn Messenger Says:

    Hi Connie
    My response to the Sylvania Arts Festival has been the same since it started many years ago. It is a giant garage sale. I have NEVER participated in it and I have done fairs for over 20 year. Yes, they have moved it to a nicer location but that’s where it ends. Relying on the Toledo Craftsmen Guild for jurying is also not a great idea. The quality of their shows is not very high but it is better than this show. I have always steered people away from this show and now I will be sure to do that.

  2. Constance Mettler Says:

    Here is a little more info on this event:

    Hello Pat,

    How did the Sylvania Arts & Crafts Festival go this year for you and your organization? I always love to hear reports from the organizers who participate in these labors of love.
    Connie

    it was great…we moved to a new location. Had a little glitch with traffic for the first time but that is always the case. I am sure that we will be perfect in 2008..
    Pat

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