Archive for June, 2008

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June 30, 2008

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High Winds, Hail and Tornadoes Blow Art Fairs to Pieces

June 29, 2008

What a hard start to the outdoor art fair season it has been for artists this year. Here I am reporting on even more damage.

Storm damage at Stone Arch Festival of ArtThe first story comes from painter Linda Massey from the Stone Arch Festival of the Arts in Minneapolis on June 14 and 15. This was one of Linda’s first outdoor art fairs and it was definitely a baptism for her. Here is what she had to say:

I am also hoping the upcoming fairs are more successful than the Stone Arch Art Festival in Minneapolis… The weather was okay during the day but Saturday nite storm flattened many, many booths. Myself and a few other artists who went down to check our set ups put “all hands on deck” for the poor string of artists that were caught in a wind tunnel. It was one 20 second gust of wind that came in and stepped on a dozen or so booths in one section and another dozen down the way.We spent the wee hours in the morn picking up during another wave of storm clouds and torrential rain…

Talk about initiation by fire… I was shocked… but also very impressed with the way all the artist banded together to help out in a crisis… I just got a thank you note from a pewter artist who had loaded up all her inventory beforehand but lost all her pro panels and tent. She was still able to set up the next day using and extra EZ up from a nearby artist and walls from another…Nice group of folks there…

No surprise to me that the artists all worked together to help one another. There is hardly a group of nicer people out there than the traveling artists, always willing to give one another a hand.

Here is the news from Friday night (June 27) at the Omaha Summer Arts Festival from Don Crozier:Omaha Summer Arts Festival

Photo courtesy of Don Ament

The Summer Arts Festival is the latest victim of the severe and unpredictable weather which seems to come up out of nowhere. Most of the artists were okay, but according to the Omaha World-Herald, 10 to 20% of the artists suffered enough damage to have to leave the festival after the Friday storm. The festival continues on after the cleanup.

A close friend, Bari Precious of Marshfield Missouri, lost her entire booth and wares, save two teapots, when a triple food tent across from her came crashing into her booth. She is heading back home at this writing and hoping have enough stock and to be able to borrow a tent for her next show on July 5th in Sedalia, Missouri.

I’m sure she’d appreciate a visit to her website and a few words of encouragement….

Story here:

And here is a video:

Another storm hit the art fair in Evanston, IL, Saturday afternoon, bringing high winds and hail and injuring ten people. The weather man says it is now headed to Michigan. I’m thinking I won’t go to an art fair tomorrow!!

Thanks for Attending Teleseminar #2-Getting Started in the Art Fair Business

June 28, 2008

Yesterday evening we held our second in a series of free teleseminars about the business of doing art fairs, How to Get Started in the Art Fair Business.

Our many thanks to all of you who sent excellent questions and attended the event. All of our phone lines were full and I thoroughly enjoyed telling my art fair stories and sharing our years of experience at the nation’s art fairs with all of you.

Some of the questions that we answered were:

  • I just feel so overwhelmed I don’t know where to start, I can’t get enough money together to get materials I need nor to register for any art shows, don’t know where to start. Lost and confused. Help me please!
  • How can I judge the quality of a show when the 2 sources I know about (Sunshine Artist and Art Fair Source Book) do not agree or don’t even mention the show?
  • How can I tell when looking at applications the difference between the GREAT shows (the ones with buyers) and the OKAY shows (the ones with lookers)?
  • My question is how do you get accepted to the juried art shows? What are they looking for?
  • How can I improve my application to get fewer rejections?
  • Do purchasing preferences vary by region? What are they?
  • and many more

We are transcribing it now for download as an e-book. Stay tuned for publication!

Here are a few of the comments we received afterwards:

  1. Hi Connie, I missed the first teleseminar, but listened to the second one that was yesterday. Thanks to your website I am very busy this summer beginning tomorrow (Warren Co. Festival of the Arts) till August 23rd (Mason Heritage Festival). I had some concerns about booth display and yesterday’s teleseminar gave me confidence. –Konul Zwolinski
  2. Connie and Scott, I found your seminar helpful and informative. I look forward to future opportunities. i have just gotten started in this business, so I welcome all sources of experience and support. Please keep me on your e-mail list. I can anticipate using more of your services, in the future. –Enlightened Images
  3. Wanted to thank you for providing me the opportunity to join the call. Great information, and you organized the presentation of the topics very well, each flowed into the other.
    Can’t wait for the next seminar.
    You mentioned the possibility of focused calls – booth design would be most helpful. Would save a lot of trial and error. Thank you. –JR Lamartine

Artless in St. Louis: They Gave an Art Fair and Nobody Came

June 28, 2008

An artist’s worst nightmare, read this story from the Riverfront Times in St. Louis by Kristen Hinman:
At least on paper the Olive and Taylor Art & Craft Fair (OTLA) sounded promising: fourteen hours of acoustic music, twelve hours of performance art, beer by Schlafly and handmade pasta from Mangia Italiano. Then there was the funky array of arts…
Read the rest of the story here

What Are You Doing This Weekend? Head to Des Moines

June 28, 2008

Ceramic tiles by Laurie EisenhardtThe folks at the Des Moines Art Festival do everything right. In its 11th year it has become such a centerpiece for the community’s image that when companies are recruiting talent to work in the city’s financial services and publishing industries that they schedule the interviews around the festival weekend.

Afraid you can’t afford the art? Here is an article from the Des Moines Register “Juice” on buying art on a budget. Goes to show you, the staff at the DMAF leaves no stone unturned in attracting folks to the festival, talking points for the media are ever at the ready.

You might also enjoy this article from the Register that profiles Iowa artists, with a few tidbits thrown in about how the artists fared in the recent floods. Homegrown artists return to festival.

Bash on the Bayou? It’s the Summer Arts Festival in Omaha

June 28, 2008

How about a little New Orleans flavor in Nebraska? What an interesting concept. The Omaha Summer Arts Festival headed by veteran organizer Vic Gutman is ready to entertain you this weekend.

Omaha Summer Arts Festival

The Omaha Summer Arts Festival, featuring artwork, food, music and more, runs Friday through Sunday in downtown Omaha. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is free, although some activities have a charge. The event is between 10th and 15th Streets along Farnam Street, on the south side of the Gene Leahy Mall.

Read more about it in the Omaha World Herald.

Heading to Utah? Don’t Miss the Utah Arts Festival this Weekend

June 28, 2008

Are you serious about art? How serious? The Utah Arts Festival is so serious that they’re taking an entire four-day weekend to celebrate painting, sculpture, music, dance, food, film, theater, literature — you name it, and somebody at the UAF is ready to exhibit it, entertain with it, or educate about it.

This year’s festival features huge harps. Using 3,000 feet of brass musical wire and a glass and concrete wall, a California artist has created two giant stringed instruments at Salt Lake City’s Library Square.

These 16-string “Earth Harps,” along with other giant sculptured instruments, are a featured element of the 2008 Utah Arts Festival, which begins today and continues through Sunday.

This festival is much more than its fine group of visual artists, expect also interactive musical experiences with the huge harps, food, crafts and more music.

The Utah Arts Festival is today through Sunday from noon to 11 p.m. at Library Square, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City.

Read about the Earth Harps in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Join the ArtFairInsider email list!

June 25, 2008

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Free Call-in Teleseminar-June 26: How Do I Get Started in the Art Fair Business?

June 19, 2008

Do you have questions about how to get started in the art fair business?

  • how do I find about the good art fairs?
  • how can I find an art fair that works for me, and is worth my time and money?
  • how do I put together a winning application?
  • how can I get in the good shows?
  • why am I getting so many rejections?
  • what can I do about that?
  • We are pleased to present you with this exciting opportunity to get some sound answers to these questions,

    • Thursday, June 26, 7 pm EST
    • we are hosting a fr*e call-in seminar, #2 in a series
    • discussing the theme of getting started in the art fair business

    As publishers of this newsletter we receive a steady stream of inquiries about how to succeed at the art fairs, and here’s your chance to get those questions answered, for fr*e!

    How To Participate:

    1. What it is: a 45 minute fr*e seminar, a conference call
    2. Who can participate: only subscribers to this newsletter
    3. When: Thursday, June 26, 7 pm EST
    4. How: respond to this email: for call in instructions
    • Email us with your questions. What question would you really like discussed?
    • We will take the best questions and Connie will answer them LIVE on the phone with you
    • Email us to register and submit a question to, OR you aren’t required to submit a guestion
    • preference will be given to the first people who email a question
    • Respond to this email to register your interest and receive the call in number. Do it now so that you receive the call-in number in advance and don’t miss a minute of the discussion.

    The call is not totally free, you must still pay your regular long distance charges to reach the call number.

    What Artists Said About Teleseminar I

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

    Thanks for the opportunity to hear from a professional.
    E. ShanleyGreat 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.
    I make jewelry and I wanted to thank you for the teleseminar.

    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

    Teleseminar I: 17 Secrets for Success at Art Fairs is still available as an e-book. Visit and click on the link in the upper right hand corner.

    Who is Connie Mettler?

    In addition to publishing this newsletter and its partners the website and the blog, The Art Fair Insider, Connie has traveled the roads of the U.S. for twenty + years with her artist partner, photographer Norm Darwish, doing art fairs. Additionally, she has started art fairs, consulted with art fairs and been art director of others. Her expertise is sure to be helpful to you.

    I look forward to speaking with you on Thursday.

    Midwest Art Fairs and Flooding

    June 19, 2008

    Weatherwise it has been an unusually challenging Spring for artists. Extreme heat and heavy wind and unrelenting rain. What next?

    The excellent Des Moines Art Festival is next weekend June 27-29 and there was much talk among artists about whether or not it would be cancelled. The latest news is that their fair site is high and dry and expecting you to show up next week to celebrate their “cultural sweets” in visual arts (175 fine artists), music, food and family activities.

    Other riverfront communities have also been scrambling. On June 28-29 Quincy, IL’s, Midsummer Art Faire will be ready to roll. Here is a press release from that events coordinator, Maggie Strong:

    I have had some anxious artists emailing and calling about our situation, but the faire will continue as planned. We expect a crest this Friday and sandbagging efforts should diminish early next week as the waters recede. So far most of our roads are open so patrons will definitely be able to get to us. Some are concerned that people won’t be buying art because they will be focused on the flood and its aftermath, but I am cautiously optimistic that the faire will be an excuse for people to get back to some normalcy and relax. I am writing a letter to the editor to that effect that you might appreciate. See below.

    Kinds regards,

    Letter to the Quincy Herald-Whig

    As we look forward to the 5th annual Midsummer Arts Faire June 27-29 in Quincy’s Washington Park, I invite you to consider the role our event plays in the quality of life in our community.

    Quincy has a long history of supporting the arts. We are home to America’s first Arts Council, The Quincy Society of Fine Arts and numerous other arts-related organizations. As evidenced by their support, the citizens of Quincy and the tri-states understand the important role the arts play in a vibrant community.

    Thriving economies and thriving arts programs go hand-in-hand. The arts have a significant role to play in creating the environment and quality of life employers and knowledge-based workers are looking for. The kind of grass-roots support of the arts that Quincy is known for might some day convince a company to choose to relocate to our community, or a young entrepreneur to open up shop in our downtown. There are countless organizations, events and people that contribute to the quality of life in Quincy and I’m proud to count the Midsummer Arts Faire among them.

    In the wake of our area’s tremendous flood relief efforts, it’s time to celebrate the spirit that makes our community shine. Please join us for a weekend of art and creativity and find out for yourself why life is good in Quincy.

    Maggie Strong
    Midsummer Arts Faire Coordinator

    There is a strong photo essay on the Quincy, IL, website showing the community hard at work hauling sandbags to save their city.

    Having recently returned from China where we viewed many people filling and hauling sandbags by hand it was a contrast to view these images with people hauling sandbags but trucks and forklifts also nearby to help. There essentially was no machinery in China.