Archive for July, 2008

Call for Artists: Westport, CT

July 30, 2008

November 21 & 22
33rd Annual Creative Arts Festival

Staples High School
170 Exhibitors
Eligibility: juried, handcrafted objects, no fine art,
except works on paper and photography
Deadline: August 15

Fine fiber at the Craft Show

Fine fiber at the Craft Show

Through the years we have heard intriguing reports about this festival and we are pleased to introduce this event to you.

Where is Westport, CT? Click here. Westport is a unique blend of cosmopolitan sophistication and small town New England seashore charm. Conveniently located one hour from Manhattan on Long Island Sound, the town is home to many young families as well as those who have lived here for years. The public school system is one of the nation’s best and serves as a magnet for those seeking the best education for their children, always a good indicator for artists.

Presented by the Westport Young Women’s League, a dynamic non-profit group that contributes their talents to a variety of community service, fundraising and social activities. The Westport Creative Arts Festival is the premier craft show in the northeast. All proceeds from the show are donated to charity.

Application Fee: $40 online application fee; additional cost for mail in application
Booth fee: $400 + 15% Commission (on sales minus booth fee)
Expected Attendance: 6000
Hours of Show: 10-5 (Saturday) and 10-4 (Sunday) Weekend pass: $9

What we like about this event:

  • the date! a wonderful opportunity to add an event to your schedule
  • the location! a chance to exhibit your work in a prime market during the pre-holiday season
  • consistently ranked in the top 10% of craft shows by Sunshine Artists magazine
  • organization! plus excellent publicity
  • proximity to the New York metropolitan area
  • a community sponsored event that brings you loyal patrons

Online applications for the 2008
Create a ZAPPLICATION User Profile at no charge by clicking “New User.” Then look for Westport Young Women’s League under Participating Shows! 2008 information on Show, Eligibility, Application, and Selection procedure available on the WYWL/CAF home page. Paper Mail in Applications also available.

To learn more and receive an application:
Call: 203-222-1388
or visit their web site:


Letter from a Reader: Credit Card Processing Problems

July 23, 2008

Here is a letter I received last week:


I like your newsletter and enjoy reading it . I have been doing art fairs for 16 years and have recently decided to go with 1st National, the credit card company that you have on your site. It has been a very bad experience with them. I have had problems with the equipment and /or the service at every show that I have done. I just want you to know that you are promoting a very bad service and I went on your recommendation. Not that I think it is your fault…I know that they bought ad. But their service is terrible….just thought you should know. D.L.

I immediately contacted Michael DiGiovanni at 1st National Processing. I knew he would want to know about this. Here is his reply:

Wow. I find this very hard to believe. We always go above and beyond to provide superior service and support. In our industry we depend on a lot of 3rd parties to provide certain things. She may have gotten lost in customer service world. To avoid this i provide my cell phone number and email address as well as that of my vice president so if people ever feel like they hit a brick wall they have somewhere to turn.

Believe me we work very hard and spend a lot of money to get these clients if they are unhappy i want to know. These numbers are provided on a separate bold page in the front of my welcome kit. I have over 10000 clients and they all have my number and my partners. Please tell this lady to call me at 9173276012. I will look into this and try to call her tomorrow as well. Thanks for the info. Sorry.

Here is the conclusion that was reached that same day:


My office manager just got off the phone with this merchant. Turns out in the beginning she was frustrated with some basic operations of the machine. She was having trouble run cards, uploading them, and batching out the terminal. She actually inadvertently cleared out a batch from her machine which had to be keyed in.

Please keep in mind, the terminal was not malfunctioning, she was just new and this was a learning curve. FYI if it was a terminal malfunction we would have replaced it immediately. We do not play games and stand behind our equipment 100%. She became frustrated with the operations of the machine and despite multiple calls to our extremely thorough and patient tech department, and detailed verbal and written instructions she still felt uncomfortable unbeknownst to us.

She then started having battery issues because she had the false impression that her portable terminal would last the whole weekend on one charge of the battery. No terminal in the industry has that kind of battery life.

She also did not familiarize herself with the battery saver feature in the unit and the proper way to charge and discharge the battery prior to and after an event. This prolongs the life of the battery and ensures proper function. But because of her previous problems with learning how to use the unit, she did not call to address the battery problems she was experiencing. Instead she wrote to you about our horrible product and service.

Now that she has spoken to my office manager she seems to be comfortable. We, once again walked her through all of the functions of the machine while she had the instructions in front of her. She said she thoroughly understands. We also explained to her, in detail, the battery, its capabilities and proper usage. And we reiterated to her that we are absolutely her to help.

We stressed to her to call us on the weekends and/or after hours if need be until she feels comfortable. She knows that she has my cell phone number, my VP’s, my office manager and 2 of my in house tech guys. She said she understands and will call us if she needs help.

Just wanted to give you an update. Thanks for forwarding me that info so we could address it and help this merchant in distress.


Michael Di Giovanni
1st National Processing
40 Underhill Blvd Ste. 2G | Syosset, NY 11791
Tel: 516-921-9445 x11 | Fax: 516-921-9488
E: | Website:

Another Use for Craig’s List in Art Fair World

July 23, 2008

Hi Connie,

Krasl Art Fair in St. Joseph, MI

Krasl Art Fair in St. Joseph, MI

i want to share a recent adventure i had at the art in the square in madison and at ann arbor – i places a rather provocative ad on craigs list in the art section and got close to 50 responses in ann arbor and 10 in madison – anyway most of the responses were from art students or recent graduates – for both shows i had bright fresh young people around me – offering levity and fresh air in stark contrast to the normal doom and gloom view these days – in ann arbor i hired 2 girls one from 11 am to 2 the other from 5 to 8 – it was the best $60 i have ever spent – if you like i can email you some of there responses and even the thank you letters i received after woods – i just posted it again for gold coast and have gotten close to 20 responses in 24 hours –

Michael Solomon,

Ad in Artist Assistant / sales 8/2 and 8/3
Date: 2008-07-20, 6:39AM

Hi – I am an artist who makes beautiful mosaics and oxidized finishes, exhibiting at Art at the Glen.

i am looking for personable attractive person that lives near by to bring some levity to my booth during the art fair.

thanks michael –

Location: Glenview, IL
Compensation: $10 cash per hour

Here is another message from Michael, including one of the responses he received:

what i have gotten out of this an opportunity to have some refreshing affordable help and feel better about the future in art – best michael

Hi Michael,

My name is J—- L– and I am a student at the University of Michigan. Why I am a good sell:
I am an artist myself, I like art, I am rather entertaining and personable.

I have worked at the Whitney Museum of American Art leading tours and

dialogues with artists. So I am comfortable talking about art and have been trained to create conversations based on open ended questions. I have sales experience, working for companies like The Knot and The Gap.

I am punctual and reliable.
Pick me. – J.L.

Thanks, Michael, for sending me this innovative idea. We all know what it is to do an art fair when we are tired and are in the midst of a string of shows. How wonderful to have bright and shiny salespeople in your booth. Hopefully it added to your income and also it brightened your own participation. Smart thinking!

Police Presence Cancels Nude Photo Shoot at Art Fair

July 19, 2008

Here are five interesting articles I found about the Ann Arbor Art Fair:

1. Police Presence Cancels Nude Photo Shoot
WDIV – Detroit, MI, USA
A warning from police deterred people to take part in a scheduled nude photo shoot at the Ann Arbor Art Fair on Friday. Harvey Drouillard has taken nude …

Here is a series of interviews with artists that is informational if you’ve ever wondered how

Colette Fortin at Neptune Hot Glass
Colette Fortin at Neptune Hot Glass

the artists feel about the art fair:

2. Is it worth it? Artists weigh in on the Ann Arbor Art Fairs
The Ann Arbor News – – Ann Arbor, MI, USA
The Guild Summer Art Fair, Booth D268. 1. It was $700 for the booth; $150 for gas and parking. We stay at home and bring our own food, so that helps. 2. …

Here is an essay around a single topic:

Dolls by Sharon Snoeyink

Dolls by Sharon Snoeyink

3. Art Fair Dolls
By Mae Travels (Mae Travels)
Many artists at the Ann Arbor Art Fair make dolls for collectors. Some dolls are more like statues, but many of them are soft dolls with clothing made of cloth. I think that lots of grown ups and also children really love dolls of all ….

I agree with Mae, especially the dolls of Sharon Snoeyink, they have a fairy tale quality with no detail unembellished.

4. What we bought at the Art Fair
By Mae Travels(Mae Travels)
Our Art Fair purchases included two ceramic items. We were very impressed by this booth of potter Adam Spector: We selected this plate: For several years, we’ve been very fond of the pottery made by Marvin Blackmore, who works in a …

I know the work of Marvin, absolutely gallery quality, every piece unusual and fine.

Here is a nice blog with good images, including chatter about my friend Kathleen Eaton and her paintings. It is a pleasure to report she told me all her large paintings had been sold before she even arrived at Ann Arbor.

5.  Ann Arbor Art Fair
By Minick & Simpson (Minick & Simpson)
Not the Art Fair itself, but what it does to our daily existence here. It screws it up plenty, that’s what it does – but it’s worth it. I spent this morning walking around and thought I could show you a couple of pictures. …

Were you at an art fair recently, or at Ann Arbor? What did you buy? I would love to hear your comments, nothing snarky though. Post them below.

One Day Left for Ann Arbor Art Fair(s) – Be There!

July 19, 2008

Lucky me, on Thursday my friend Barb and I spent an exhilarating day in Ann Arbor shopping, visiting and eating. Here’s the story.

The easy way: drive to Briarwood Mall, off of I-94 at the State Street exit. Ride the shuttle bus to the fair, $2 roundtrip.

Easy way to get to the fair

Easy way to get to the fair

Just when you think you have seen enough art and art fairs you are deposited in this wonderful place. The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair never disappoints. We didn’t have time to see all the art, but here are some favorites.

Painting by Glenn Payne

Painting by Glenn Payne

Imagine a young person enjoying the art fair!

Imagine a young person enjoying the art fair!

Sculpture by James Eaton

Sculpture by James Eaton

Pottery by Michigan artist John Herbon

Pottery by Michigan artist John Herbon

As she walked away I heard this woman say, “that’s what I like about art fairs, the artists are so helpful and friendly.”

Painter Kathleen Eaton from the Chicago area

Painter Kathleen Eaton from the Chicago area

Sculpture by David Bryce from N. Egremont, MA

Sculpture by David Bryce from N. Egremont, MA

The Street Art Fair Plaza

The Street Art Fair Plaza

For twenty-eight years my partner, Norm Darwish, and I participated in one or another of the Ann Arbor fairs. Out of nostalgia we revisited our space:

Photography booth now occupied by Mark Mowen, leather worker

Photography booth now occupied by Mark Mowen, leather worker

It was great running into many old friends, including the sheriff himself

Sheriff James Eaton - policing the art fair being caught out by Barb

Sheriff James Eaton - policing the art fair being caught out by Barb

Great to see Joe Henderson looking well after his illness. Welcome back, Joe!

Great to see Joe Henderson looking well after his illness. Welcome back, Joe!

The happiest people of all were the shoppers, there in large numbers and carrying out all the goods.

A big sale for artist Kathy Sheldon from Wyoming, MI

This shopper needs a few more hands

Looks like it was a good day for artist Kathy Sheldon from Wyoming, MI–two big pieces left the fair as I was walking along (above and below).

Happy and looking for more

Happy and looking for more

Heading home

Heading home

Getting a hug from dear old friend David Bigelow from Ozark, MO

Getting a hug from dear old friend David Bigelow from Ozark, MO

Very happy shoppers fill the shuttle with their purchases and promise to return next year

Very happy shoppers fill the shuttle with their purchases and promise to return next year

What is Art? Bet you’ll be surprised

July 16, 2008

Heading for an art fair? Don’t know what to buy? I mean, really, what is art? This important video answers all your questions:

The Good News from Michigan! Tidings of Beauty and Joy and Fun

July 16, 2008
Art fair buyers

Shopping the fair

The press and the public love the Ann Arbor Art Fair. If you can’t make it here are some of the stories about the event:

Here’s a cool place where you can share your art fair finds online. Have a tip about a cool artist you’ve discovered, a great deal at a sidewalk sale or a street-food vendor that’s not to be missed? Visit here at You can share photos too, an interactive art fair.

Haven’t decided whether or not to show up in Ann Arbor this week? This article from the Detroit Free Press: Ten Things Not to Miss at the Ann Arbor Art Fair, should help you decide or give you the opportunity to be up on the best of the art fair vicariously.

Want one of the funky choices? Some locals really get into the act. Here is an “artistic” yard sale to visit: Art Fair at Heavenly Metal, where you’ll find recycled metal, artwork and more.

And don’t miss The Funnel Cake Guy – my art fair story by Food Dude.

Don’t miss any of these great posts! Subscribe to this blog.

Looking for an Artist – Where are You?

July 16, 2008

From my mailbox:

There used to be an artist named Will Allen that did serigraphs on the art fair circuit. Do you know what ever happened to him? I have not seen him in years and I loved his work.
Lawrence Ward

Can anyone help out this art lover? Add your comment below. Thank you.

Call for Entries: St. Nick’s Warehouse

July 16, 2008

November 29 & 30
28th Annual St. Nick’s Warehouse
Arts & Crafts Show
Henry Ford II High School
Sterling Heights, MI
250 Exhibitors
New Deadline: September 1

“One of the largest and well-traveled shows in Michigan”

Where is Sterling Heights, MI, and Henry Ford II High School? You just know it has to be the Detroit area which abounds with buildings named for one Ford or another, right? Visit this link to find the spot.

During the holidays there is a plethora of arts and crafts shows which pop up around the country in the local schools. In Michigan they have reached a zenith and are eagerly awaited by the shoppers. St. Nick’s Warehouse is presented by the Boosters Club and aggressively promoted and smoothly run by them. They know how to run an event and they know how to bring in shoppers.

My background is fine art fairs, but in recent years I have attended a few of these holiday markets. Here is what I found:

  • dedicated buyers waiting at the doors with lists in hand
  • craftspeople with unique, one-of-a-kind goods
  • Police directing traffic!! because of the crowds
  • shuttle buses running from nearby parking lots bringing shoppers
  • well-run events
  • affordable booth fees

The Henry Ford II Boosters Club take great pride in their school and are well known for this event. Visit their website for more details, contact info and to download an application.

Ann Arbor Art Fairs 101: Intro to Art Fair Attending

July 15, 2008

July 16-19
Ann Arbor, MI

Michigan Art Fair

Let the buying begin!

The Ann Arbor Art Fairs
Wed.-Fri. 10 am-9 pm; Sat. 10 am-6 pm
1000+ juried artists

In case you didn’t know it, starting Wednesday Ann Arbor, MI, turns into art fair city with four official art fairs throughout the downtown and on the U-M campus. Here are the links that tell the rest of the story:

We’ll start with:

1. Getting Downtown during the Art Fairs, plus a story about commuting during the fairs with its own website.

2. Oh, and of course, any event worth its salt has its own preview party. Tonight attend the Ann Arbor Fair Townie Street Party, from 5 to 9:30 p.m., at a new location under the big tents on North University Avenue in front of Hill Auditorium and around the fountain on Ingalls Mall.

Artist Chuck Wimmer with customer at the art fair

Artist Chuck Wimmer with customer at the art fair

3. For a great preview/overview, with lots of useful detail read the blog at The writer talked with Shary Brown from the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, who always has the best info. “You may have been looking forward to this moment since last year. Or you may have been dreading it. Either way, brace yourself.”

4. A nice view of the fairs from the University of Michigan Daily gives some more details on what to expect,  “art fair” may call to mind kitschy wooden dolls or intricately bent wire sculptures – more an excuse to spend cash on “summer collectibles” … Read Ben VanWagoner’s report at The Michigan Daily.

5. For a look at the economic impact of the event read: Ann Arbor Art Fairs “economic engine” revs up.

6. Here is a story I found in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. There are always busloads of shoppers from Cleveland who love the art fair. How fun to ride to and from the fair with friends, plus the great “show and tell” on the way home!

7. And here’s the story from the Grand Rapids Press. It is well written with lots of good detail differentiating the various art fairs. Very helpful to newbies.

Selling blown glass at the art fair

Selling blown glass at the art fair

8. If you are a regular reader of this blog you know it has been a “weather-challenged” year for the artists. You might enjoy reading this story in the Ann Arbor News:

It’s almost time for the Ann Arbor Art Fairs – and organizers are ready for all kinds of weather

9. And yes, you will also find an alternative art fair in Ypsilanti on Saturday: The Shadow Art Fair. The Shadow Art Fair began two years ago as a warm-up for the Ann Arbor Art Fairs and to bring Ypsilanti area artists together.

Is there anything I’ve missed? This site has all the answers in one place: