Archive for April, 2008

17 Secrets to Success at Art Fairs – Volume I

April 30, 2008

telephoneDid you miss the recent’s teleseminar? This is your opportunity to own a transcript of the conversation, 23 pages on 17 topics submitted by artists. Read the helpful insights addressed by industry leader by’s publisher, Connie Mettler.

In late March we held our first teleseminar where I answered questions from my subscribers about art fairs. We recorded the session and it is now available as an e-book on the web site for purchase –only $8.95.

Click here right now to purchase the brand new e-book “Teleseminar I – Secrets to Success in the Art Fair Business.” Look for the “Buy Now” button on the right sidebar.

Some of the topics addressed:

* getting started at art fairs
* finding and entering shows
* choosing a media
* jurying tips
* what sells and where
* pricing your art
* inventory
* choosing an art fair to apply to
* selling at the fair
* marketing

Here is what some of the participants had to say:

Just wanted to let you know I attended and found it to be time well spent. Please do it again soon. Mary

Good Morning, This is great!! Thanks for the opportunity to hear from a professional. E. Shanley

Hi Connie,
Good informative call for the beginning Art Fair exhibitor, and you used my question about pricing. Your networking point for obtaining information is very true, Artists are more than willing to share show information and offer suggestions as to what shows would be good for your work.

Hey Connie,

Great job! I enjoyed the teleseminar very much… Both of you did well, gave good information, and were interesting to listen to throughout the program. If you’re considering doing other programs, I’d love to hear one dedicated to photography.

Thanks for including me! Carole

Hi Connie,

I make jewelry and I wanted to thank you for the teleseminar.

The best resource information that you gave me was for the PMA craft show. I went to their website and looked at the slide images and that helped me to see where the bar is set for jewelry slides in an art show submittals.

I have been in business for 2 years and have found that getting into the shows is very competitive. From what I understand, jewelry and photography are the 2 most competitive fields for these shows.

I would love to hear more category specific teleseminars. For me, one on jewelry would be great!
Angie Dresie

Thanks – it was a very helpful seminar.
I’d prefer seminars with a general selection of questions. I’m at a place where I feel I still need to know something about everything, rather than dig too deep into one subject.
Paul Messink

Buy it now at


Way Off Topic: Baskin-Robbins $.31 Ice Cream on April 30th

April 28, 2008

Hi Everyone,

Baskin-Robbins is honoring America’s Firefighters by selling ice cream for $.31 cents per scoop on Wednesday, April 30th between 5 and 10 pm.

Grab your friends, and/or the kids and have a cool one! This fundraiser for the firefighters is an important one for them, so let’s go out and have ice cream and support a great cause.

My thanks to subscriber Mary Mieke for passing this on to me!

Using Your Computer to Work Smarter, Not Harder

April 28, 2008

Making ends meet is a continuous struggle so it is refreshing to see artists finding a wayBuy Handmade to reach out to new markets. Have any of you visited, “your place to buy and sell all things handmade”? is an online site where artists and craftspeople can set up their own virtual shops to sell their work to buyers. It was founded in 2005 by photographer and painter Rob Karlin with the help of Chris Maguire and Haim Scoppik. Unlike eBay, where art and craftwork can be difficult to locate amid so much else, etsy limits its sales to artists and craftspeople. It also charges a much more modest fee (20 cents per listing; 3.5 percent commission) on sales.

I assume most of you are aware of this marketplace, but just in case you aren’t, did you know that there are 250,000 shop owners on this site who make and sell:

bags & purses
ceramics and pottery
paper goods
everything else!

And sales are being made! Here is a link to a story in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune:

booth at art fairAdditionally, here is a whimsical blog entry, The Big Show, by an Etsy artist, Menagerie Studio, about participating in an art fair that took place this weekend in Texas.

What I Hope You Did Not Miss in Chicago Last Weekend

April 28, 2008

Adams-Steffey glass tileIt would have been a great weekend to be in Chicago as the mega event as Artropolis exploded at the Merchandise Mart.

“This annual Chicago-wide celebration of arts, antiques, and culture consists of five formal shows and innumerable exhibitions, performances, screenings, and panel discussions. Work on display is culled from both major museums and small, appointment-only apartment galleries sandwiched between the kitchen and the bathroom. The diverse array of paintings, sculpture, video, and installations on display aims to attract both hoity-toity art connoisseurs and hipsters-in-the-know.”

Part of Artropolis was a newly expanded event: the Artist Project, ” a satellite show featuring work by artists undiscovered by the gallery community. These unrepresented artists will exhibit and sell their work directly—and relatively cheaply. Their works are exciting and might even be within a college student’s price range.” At this event you may have encountered artists from the art fair world, dressed up and doing the gallery thing. Sure hope it worked for them.

Read the whole story at the Chicago Maroon.

Report from the Texas Art Fairs

April 28, 2008

I’ve been away in Los Angeles visiting family and my Internet guru, my son, Scott. Staying on top of the art fair business, developing a web site, keeping it growing, working on SEO requires a periodic tuneup on what is going right and what needs to be done next. Those of you who maintain web sites surely know what I mean as this is a never ending job, as is any small business. So, my apologies to faithful readers for my silence.

Herewith my attempt to bring you all the art fair news:

Mixed Media by Michael Madzo
The News from Austin, TX – Art Alliance Austin announced that their Art City Austin ’08 event – April 12th and 13th – drew 23,000 to 25,000 people. The outdoor art festival benefits the Austin Museum of Art and The Blanton Museum of Art. This year, the organization presented for the first time commissioned outdoor installations, an international “Temporary Outdoor Gallery Space” ideas competition, and the first iteration of Art Week Austin – seven days of visual art events culminating in Art City Austin.

The award winners:

Best in Show 3-D – Joseph DeCamillis, a self-taught artist from Birmingham, Alabama. DeCamillis has exhibited internationally, including ART BASEL (Miami), Bridge Art Fair, FRIEZE Art Fair, ART CHICAGO and many more.

Best in Show 2-D ($1,000 cash award) was awarded to Daryl Howard, an Austin-based artist who works with a Japanese-style wood-block print technique. Her work has been exhibited across the nation and the state at the Austin Museum of Art, and Danforth Museum of Art, and Maryland Federation of Art, among others.

Best in Media ($100 Cash Prize Each)
2D Mixed Media Michael Madzo
Painting Harold Pickern
Drawing/Pastels Helen Gotlib
Photography Lisa Kristine
Graphics/Printmaking Daryl Howard
3D Mixed Media Joe DeCamillis
Jewelry Adam Neely
Woodwork Steve Smith
Sculpture Kevin Box
Watercolor Larry Stephenson
Metalwork Jimmie Dodson
Ceramics Ernest Miller
Glass Alex Brand
Fiber Hetty Metzger

The News from the Main Street Arts Festival, Fort Worth, TX – April 17-20
This is the best news that has been filtering through the artist networks. Sales were made!! Many reports of five-figure sales throughout the media had many artists smiling all the way home. The Texas economy seems to be strong and the Main Street Arts Festival seems to be the top art fair in Texas. Congratulations to the artists. I hope these good sales follow you through the year.
Here is a nice article about Main Street Arts Festival participant, Lisa Burge of Taos, NM. Burge, 53, is an abstract painter who has been doing art shows for about 15 years. She paints in the winter and travels the country from spring to fall; she does 10-12 shows a year.
If you are in Michigan you can see her at the Birmingham (MI) Fine Art Fair in Shain Park on May 10 & 11.
If you are already thinking about your 2009 schedule this pair of events look very attractive, plus the weather in Texas in April is fabulous. Do the events back to back and enjoy yourself in Texas between them.

Blue Heron Studio Show & More Cool Recycled Art

April 17, 2008

The snow has finally melted!! YEA! Come on out and see our pots…the gallery is full!
Pots, Wine & Snacks!

11:00 – 4:00


Call for directions if needed!

Another press release received:

Schimmel artLast night Fox 10 [Phoenix] ran a segment on “green” artist Sandra Schimmel Gold while she transforms junk mail into this stunning, museum quality mixed-media portrait, “Haughty or Naughty.”

The Phoenix, AZ artist is best known for “upcycling” materials such as junk mail, postcards and packaging into fabulous portraits and abstract images on canvas.

The artist has been a portrait painter and mosaic artist for many years and found a way to marry the two arts while reusing materials that would otherwise go to waste. She has recently been featured in Trend Hunter Magazine and on Conscious Lifestyle, Eco-Firms.Org, and

A solo show of Schimmel Gold’s work will be held at Tryst Gallery at Inspirador in Chandler, AZ starting tomorrow, April 10th. The Gallery is open Wednesday – Saturdays from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. For additional times, appointments or personal tours, please email

Visit her website at: Schimmel Art

Question from a Reader: Can I Make Money in Michigan?

April 16, 2008

Jewelry at the State Street Art FairDear Connie:

I am looking for some more recent information on the Flint Art Fair: since you are right in Michigan and not far away from there maybe you would know more. I am hoping you will be able to tell me something personally (you have all sorts of inside information, right??) without having to put it in your newsletter. If the newsletter is the best option I would appreciate it if you did not use my name…

I am from northern Illinois so it’s a 6 hour drive for me. I did the show several times (last in 2001 and 2002) and did fairly well, not spectacularly. This was before the Michigan economy went downhill. With current gas prices (hotels are up by ~ 20% too) I need to be better informed before doing this show, or opting for a very small local one.

I researched recent shows in my usual way (using Sunshine Artist and AFSB). The show was held off-site for a few years while the art center was being renovated, but I believe it’s back on site now. I could not come up with any real current information (reviews were mostly about the issues of being off-site), and posted a question on the AFSB forum with no luck there either. I ran out of research time and sent in my application. I have been accepted but have a while before the booth fee is due and now I really need to know about how sales have been there.

It’s a given that sales at all shows are down, across the board, not just in Michigan. I had 6 shows in Michigan last year and the repeats (3) were down from 10% to 34%. Weather was good both years, actually better the second year, so that was not a factor. The new ones obviously I have no personal record to use for predictions. So it’s not a question so much of WILL sales be down, just how MUCH down. The 34 % percent drop in _____ _____, for example (on top of a 20% decine from the year before), means it is no longer worth the 6+ hour drive (please do not publicize that – keep it private: as I don’t want to hurt what is really a very nice show, run by very kind people. If I were local I would certainly do it again. )….

I appreciate your help.

Name withheld

I have held off on answering this question for some time trying to come up with a good answer for you. Michigan has been hard hit. That is hardly news. You are wise to seek more information. My take on it: the people who are succeeding financially at the shows are those who have something so wonderful, or so fabulously priced that people cannot resist it. This marketplace is more competitive than ever. Cutting costs, in order to bolster your profit, is smart.

Traveling six hours to a show that has been marginal for you would not be a good idea, better to put that time and money into something that is not so much a gamble. I know your work. There are many marketplaces where I think you would do well, or at least increase the odds of doing better than making this trip.

I do not have personal information on this show. Maybe some of my readers do. Can anyone address the questions entered here? Please comment below.

Call for Artists: Art on the River in Detroit

April 16, 2008

GM River DaysGM River Days 2008
Presented by the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy,
the Parade Company and General Motors
June 20-22
25 exhibitors
Deadline: April 30

In 2007, with the opening of the beautiful revamped riverfront in downtown Detroit, a coalition came together to host a celebration aimed at inviting metro Detroiters downtown to enjoy the new space. And did they ever love it! Almost 500,000 people attended to enjoy the festivities and enjoy what Michigan has to offer in the summer time.

In its second year GM River Days will host a new section of the festival, highlighting the visual arts, Art on the River. It will be composed of the artwork of artists from the GM automotive design team, plus twenty-five emerging and professional artists. This will be your opportunity to showcase your art in a lovely riverfront setting, supported by a professional staff and a seasoned promotional team sure to bring many new faces to your booth.

Please note: there are only 25 spaces available, apply today!

The staff for Art on the River includes Connie Mettler and Lisa Konikow, along with the rest of the staff from Pontiac’s popular Arts, Beats & Eats.

To learn more email Lisa Konikow or Connie Mettler.

Applications are online for download at:, click on GM River Days.

Three Painting Workshops in Virginia

April 16, 2008



JANICE GAY MAKER is leading a 2-Day Oil Painting
Landscape Workshop on April 19th and 20th.
9am – 4pm

This session is designed for beginners and intermediate level students.
However, anyone interested in joining the group and getting helpful
input and critique from Janice is very welcome to sign-up for this class.
Workshop fee is $200 – includes lunch.

Download a registration form and supply list from the Blackwater Website.

JANICE will also be holding another Oil Pastel Workshop
May 3rd – 9am – 4pm

If you missed the first Oil Pastel session in March . . .
here’s a chance to jump in now! Oil Pastel is a rich medium
with lots of color and beauty – and little investment.
There’s lots of lovely spring hues in the landscape at Blackwater.
Enjoy learning the medium of oil pastel with fabulous colorist,
Janice Gay Maker. Workshop fee is $100 and includes lunch.

ANNE McNALLY will be leading a Still Life & Floral
Oil Painting Workshop
May 17th and 18th.
9am – 4pm

This workshop is aimed at beginners and intermediate painters, as well.
Anne is known for her “loose, painterly, impressionistic-yet-realistic” style.
Her work is very popular and she is a dedicated teacher. We are looking forward
to having Anne lead this studio workshop out at Blackwater!
Workshop fee is $200 and includes lunch.

Karen Kinser
757 286 6210

Featured Artist: Debra Groat – Eco-Friendly, Organic Heirloom Jewelry

April 15, 2008

It is a pleasure to introduce to you an artist who is relatively new to the art fair business,Jewelry from Rare Heirloom Seeds Debra Groat. She is an example of what is not so uncommon at art fairs, mature people whose lives have taken them to the point where they can begin to explore and polish talents that have lain dormant or that develop out of their life experiences. You will like this story.

What makes art fairs so interesting to people is the diversity. It is the last unusual shopping arena in the U.S. Usually our featured artist is one of the “art stars” in this business, but when we found Debra we knew we had a new one-of-a-kind to present to you.

You will be impressed by the authenticity of the work, Debra’s family story, the eco-friendliness of the end product, that reflects back to earlier times and forward to a preservation of the earth and its resources. Owning and wearing this jewelry, both keeps one in touch with the natural world but also supports the way of life on which this country was built.

The jewelry pictured here is Red Calypso beads with Fire-Polished Czech Beads. Hand made when ordered, from organically grown heirloom seeds.

In our ecologically-challenged times it is very exciting to feature the work of Debra Groat, who not only creates art but grows it!  Debra’s jewelry is handcrafted from certified, organic, hand-harvested and heirloom seeds grown on her family’s Centennial farm in rural Michigan. “I let the seeds speak to me. Working with them can be a spiritual experience.”

Hopefully you will be able to find Debra at an art fair near you soon, but in the meantime visit to learn more.