Archive for August, 2008

Michigan Festival: Sunny Days, Smiles Abound in Pontiac – Day Two

August 31, 2008

Beautiful weather brought patrons and smiles to artists faces. A big part of my day was spent overseeing the street jurying. Arts professionals (this year, Larry Butcher, professor of art at Delta College and well known Michigan artist, Nancy Swearingen, photographer, painter and jeweler) jury the art presented for $7500 in cash awards.

Every year we have different judges and every year we are so pleased in the evident interest they take in reviewing every booth and evaluating the work therein. Larry and Nancy started out at 10 am and completed choosing the award winners by 8 pm. They spent the day visiting the booths and interacting with the artists.

Interestingly, one year’s Best of Show award winner may be completely passed over the following year, and vice versa, the ‘passed over’ will turn out to be the prize winner.

Our award winners:

Best of Show/1st Place: Emerson, photography
2nd Place: Steve Uren, wood
3rd Place: Sylvia Pixley, graphics

Awards of Excellence:

Adam Shirley, jewelry
Gwen Bennett, Mixed Media
Mark Traughber, Painting
Neptune Hot Glass
Bruce Holwerda, Painting
Joe Hoynik, Photography
Donna Geissler, Digital
Ralph Rankin, Ceramics

Spirit of the City Award: Paul Adams – This award is for the body of work which best exemplifies urban energy

Golden Dolly Award: Bill Beaubien-This award goes to an artist’s helper, someone who has accompanied an artist to shows for many years and has served in the background, not receiving recognition for their contribution to the artist’s success. I believe we are the only art show in the country who presents this award, and it even comes with a check!

Here are some more stories about Arts, Beats & Eats:

Want to see some great images? Visit this link at the Detroit Free Press.

Then there is the great Arts, Beats & Eats mojo…fabulous weather. More info at this link:

We’d surely love to see you on Saginaw St. in Pontiac today and tomorrow. Come show these artists the famous Michigan hospitality. Check out our award winners and the rest of the fine work. Meet these interesting people who live a great American life creating imaginative work and traveling the byways of our country.


Michigan Festival: Show Time – Day One

August 30, 2008

I am happy to report that we got the spaces marked on the streets yesterday while it was still light. What a thrill! Thunderstorms were predicted and we ran out of wax crayons to mark the spaces so we finished with chalk. Luckily, an artist from Texas, Larry Hughes, was waiting around for us to mark the spaces and he followed us around with duct tape to further delineate so we wouldn’t have to get up in the early morning to remark the spaces.

Even when I finished my work the streets of downtown Pontiac were full of high-lows, scaffoldings, electricians trucks, semis, tents almost throughout the whole night constructing the rest of the festival. But I was the first one at the office on Friday morning at a little after six A.M.

Friday starts early, up at 5:15. This is the hardest day of all. The artists start checking in at 7 am, arriving from California, Utah, Texas and many places closer to home. It is always exciting to see old friends and to watch the tents go up and the work appear in the booths. I always say that the best shopping left in a country carpeted with look-alike shopping malls is the art fairs. Every booth full of usual and sometimes unusual hand made work makes for exciting viewing.

We have juice, coffee, bagels and cream cheese available for the arrivals and we try to greet them with genuine hospitality. Without them there would not be an art fair, and we need them to be here.

It was great to see old friends Larry Humphrey, Allan Teger, Svetlana Kuznets. Sonny Dalton, Jim Reinert, Jan Kaulins, Lou Hii, Donna Beaubien, Richard Rothbard, and recent artists of the month: Steve Uren and James Parker. In another section of the festival I also met heirloom seed jeweler, Deb Groat. Great to meet all of you!

There was the last minute scramble to reconfigure the art fair as artists personal emergencies got in the way, a father-in-law’s death, a spasming back from an accident, a severe bout of diverticulitis. Calling artists to take their places is often on the agenda. Other times we leave the space open as a walkway through the booths.

Two artists are coming in early on Saturday morning. William Cowherd of Indianapolis recovering from a van breakdown, and jeweler Mary Cody who was camping nearby and left her keys in the washroom and they disappeared. She spent Friday trying to find them and lining up a locksmith to get her into her van so she can show up for the rest of the weekend. What a nightmare for an artist depending on being at the fair to earn a living.

It is always a relief to get everyone in and set up. This is really nonstop work from 6:30 am to about 4 pm when the show opens, requiring many phone calls, many mini-emergencies (fumes from the generators, canned street music drowning out the sweet sounds of the jazz guitar musician, Russell Donnellon, artists setting up in some one else’s space). Monitoring it we had our two street team (Wendy and Greg) and four of us handling the paperwork and making sure all the artists were heading the same direction.

By four o’clock all the booths were open and the crowds had started to filter in for the evening. This festival is especially beautiful on these balmy summer nights, with each individual booth lit to enhance the goods inside. It is like a magical village. Sure hope you can make it tomorrow night. We look forward to seeing you there.

A long day…ending now at 11:30 pm.

Michigan Festival: Part 2 – One Day to Show Time!

August 28, 2008

The phones are ringing crazily at Arts, Beats & Eats. There are about 15 people in the office (let alone the crews out on the site putting up tents, building scaffolds for displays, hanging banners, wiring the site) on the phones, stuffing envelopes, closing deals with vendors, sponsors stopping by to pick up food tickets and volunteer organizations picking up t-shirts.

The political parties are signing up for booths. They say Barack Obama may appear on the main stage on Sunday night to introduce Chaka Khan. Well, that’s a stretch. But he will be in Detroit on Monday to be in the Labor Day Parade, a tradition for the Democratic candidate, and we’re hoping to convince him to have some fun with us on Sunday night.

A “veteran” contacted us this week wanting to sell glow-in-the-dark products, even though the festival has an exclusive with someone else selling these. She insisted on her rights, lawyers for both sides got involved. We agreed. Then after many hours of hassling, she changed her mind.

When you plan a festival you don’t think about incidents like this taking up so much time, let alone another line for the budget for the lawyer.

Today I started the day at Kinko’s picking up all the printing, the information for the artists about arrangements for the weekend, including parking passes, booth locations, credentials, etc. A stop at the office supply store for the rest of the supplies and we are ready!

Wendy Cox, our terrific intern, will begin the stuffing of the envelopes. We’ll prepare 150 of these. Then take the supplies to the Lafayette Grande where we will be meeting the artists in the morning, starting at 7 am, for their check in.

Later today Saginaw Street will be closed to traffic and we’ll take our layout and mark the streets for the booth spaces. Several years we have done this in the dark, using the measuring tool, a flashlight to catch the numbers on it, and chalk. Imagine almost crawling down the street, bent over the measurer, making sure everything is corrrect. This is definitely NOT my favorite part of the job.

The day will end with all the check in materials at the ready, the booth spaces marked. Artists can check in at 7 am so we have to be ready.

Chrysler has delivered some very cool GemCars for our use. It is fun to drive these electric vehicles around, although as the crowds arrive there is not much room to drive.

To be continued….

Planning a Michigan Festival: Part 1

August 27, 2008

One of the activities that fill my days is being the co-Art Director of Pontiac, MI’s, Arts, Beats & Eats, along with my partner Lisa Konikow. This festival, Oakland County’s arts celebration, brings almost a million people to the urban center and streets of Pontiac. Metro Detroit loves it.

Planning for something of this magnitude does take all year, including raising funds, securing sponsors, recruiting restaurants, bands and artists, plus all the details to support all the facets.

Jon Witz is the producer. He maintains relationships with county, city and business officials, puts it altogether. Jeff Wilson is head of Operations, which means he handles all construction: tents, stages, scaffolding, electricians, signage, layout, extensive security.

The rest of the staff includes a sponsorship coordinator, a restaurant and beverage manager, five stage managers, volunteer coordinator. All of these people then have interns and staff. The office is pretty quiet during the winter but this time of year the phones ring continuously, the copy machine runs and breaks down. And, the summer interns leave for school a week before the festival!!

Lisa and I handle the arts. We write the art application, see that it gets out to artists, handle all facets of the jurying, handle the paperwork for artist communication, layout the art fair, then prepare for the artist arrival. Right about now we are holding our breath that all the artists can make it. Cancellations mean redoing all the press materials, name tags, booth signs, layouts. Maybe finding a replacement, or maybe making a corner out of the empty space.

From my background as a participant in art fairs I can stand in the artists shoes. The artists count on good treatment when they get here, a layout which gives everyone equal access to the public, hospitality that makes them comfortable and good publicity, bringing the customers that will respond to their wares.

Earning a living as an artist is an art. Balancing expenses, local economies, doing creative work, traveling the roads to the ‘next big thing’. But it can be rewarding psychologically and monetarily and appealing to people who have the stomach for adventure.

So, here we are two days until Show Time!! Stay tuned for the fun and games.

Winners of the “Send Me Your 2009 Dates” Contest

August 25, 2008
Visiting at the Krasl Art Fair, St. Joe, MI

Visiting at the Krasl Art Fair, St. Joe, MI

Congratulations to the art fair directors who not only read their email, but read it all the way to the end!

Last week I sent out a newsletter asking art fair organizers to send me their 2009 dates with a promise of a reward if they read to the end of the email. Kudos to the first five art fairs who sent me their 2009 dates. Their free $35 links are now live on at their listing.

The winners are:

1. Summerfair, Cincinnati, OH – Sharon Strubbe

2. Omaha Summer Arts Festival, Omaha, NE – Carly Barth

3. Edina Art Fair, Edina, MN – Rachel Hubbard

4. Lakefront Festival of the Arts, Michigan City, IN – Carolyn Saxton

5. Metro Arts Two Rivers Expo, Des, Moines, IA – Cat Hall

My many thanks to the many, many other art fairs who have sent me their 2009 dates. I really appreciate it!

If you haven’t contacted me yet, please do so. I really want to make sure the dates are correct — bringing you the patrons you deserve to support your efforts to bring the arts to your community.

In addition, anyone with an art fair between now and the end of the year- contact me by the end of August and I will add a live link to your site, good until 12/31/09, for $50.00. This live link also appears in all our newsletters, bringing you patrons now and later too!

Planning Ahead for the Labor Day Weekend: Aug. 29-Sept. 1

August 25, 2008

Ann Arbor Street Art FairThree Great Art Fairs to Consider

Do you ever travel to attend art fairs? What are you doing on Labor Day Weekend?

Here are three festivals well worth attending, all held on August 29-September 1.

  • Sausalito Art Festival, Sausalito, CA
  • Long’s Park Art Festival, Lancaster, PA
  • Arts, Beats & Eats, Pontiac, MI

Sausalito is held on the shores of San Francisco Bay and attracts artists from throughout the country, but you are likely to see art from Western artists who don’t make it to the Midwest, and a real treat they are.
For more info:

Long’s Park is held in a lovely park outside of Lancaster, PA, and is just about the best art fair in the East. Like Sausalito, you are likely to find artists who do not make it to the Midwest.
For more info:

For a great weekend in the Midwest then head to Pontiac for Arts, Beats & Eats with its great lineup of art, food and entertainment. In addition in downtown Detroit is hosting the International Jazz Festival on the riverfront, as well as the Grand Prix on Belle Isle. They are calling this celebration “Three Days in the D.”
Info on Arts, Beats & Eats:
& more info on Three Days in the D:

Looking for more art fairs around the country?

Letter to Art Fair Directors: Send Me Your 2009 Dates!

August 22, 2008

Please let me hear from you. I need your 2009 dates!

Carrying home the goods at the Ann Arbor Art Fair

Did you know that is the only site on the Internet whose mission is to bring patrons to art fairs around the country? We have great google rankings (#3 under “art fairs”) and #1 in many individual state rankings.

Do not miss another customer for your event send me your 2009 dates today. Email me at:

What and can do for you:

Listings on the website are free to all art fairs. However, don’t you want more?

1. For only $35 you can have a live link to your website added to your listing. This link is not only on the website but also in the monthly newsletters that go out to my 10,000 art fair lover subscribers, bringing you much bang for very little buck!

Special offer: Sign up for the link by August 23 and the link will be good until 12/31/09, a $50 value.

2. Publicity for Your Art Fair on

Selling Jewelry at the Upper Arlington Art Fair in Ohio is the premier resource for art fair lovers to find art fairs around the country. There is a lot of “art fair tourism,” people who build their vacations around visiting art fairs.

I get inquiries daily from people looking for an art fair in March in Arizona, or the best Michigan art fair to visit, e.g. Make your event stand out in the calendar listings by not only having a live link, but a story about your event to attract the public.

A story goes on the website, then it will also be repeated on the newsletters. A simple expanded listing with a descriptive sentence is only $50 including the live link. Other options are expanded stories, event of the month for your state and sponsorship of a regional newsletter. Prices are all under $200 for a year. Please inquire.

My Google stats are impressive, bringing not only locals to your event but also a nationwide audience. PR firms find me and make inquiries also.

3. Ads on Our Website and Our Newsletter

There are several choices:

1. Place an ad for your event in the sidebar of the website where everyone can see it. Prices start at $50 a month.

2. Sponsor the newsletter, either one for your region only ($75 for a month), or all newsletters for a month: $200. In the last three months they reached over 80,000 people.

Please inquire about other options that suit your event.

4. Find New Artists for Your Fair with

Printmaker Mary Mark & David Johnson

Your choices:

  • $45 – a link to your website and application on the call for entries page
  • $165-$190 – a call for entries story in the newsletter, ($165 for once, $190 to do it twice-the second time when it is near your deadlineM

The $165-$190 choice includes:

  • the $45 linkT
  • the newsletter story reaching artist subscribers
  • publishing the story in the, our blogy
  • a live link to your website on the calendar and in all newsletters

This option easily pays for itself in additional jury fees from the new applicants. Pretty much a win-win situation, right?

I am here to discuss with you any options that will enable you to use the Internet to reach both your customers and the artists. Email me at:, or call to discuss your needs: 517-278-7515.

Connie Mettler – the Publisher

Call for Artists: Palm Beach Fine Craft Show

August 12, 2008

March 18-22, 2009
6th Annual Palm Beach Fine Craft Show

Palm Beach County Convention Center
Palm Beach, FL
130 Artists
Deadline: September 18

Sculpture by James Eaton

Sculpture by James Eaton

The 6th annual Palm Beach Fine Craft Show will bring more than 130 of the nation’s most distinguished craft artists to the heart of West Palm Beach at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

The event features recognized masters and promising emerging artists accompanied by their latest collections of exceptional contemporary fine craft. This show attracts a very sophisticated and knowledgeable buying crowd, with many serious collectors returning each year.

This is your opportunity to be part of a prestigious event, held in the heart of Palm Beach’s cultural center at the height of the season. If you have serious work looking for the right collector this may be the show for you.

Palm Beach has a base of many of the biggest art collectors in the world. This is your opportunity be a part of this very affluent and discriminating marketplace.


  • excellent professional management
  • a state-of-the-art convention center
  • a culturally aware community
  • an aggressive marketing campaign which includes TV, newspapers, magazines, banners and direct mail
  • an organization that strives to develop good relationships with other arts organizations within the community
  • and the beautiful Florida sunshine

Crafts America, headed by Elizabeth Kubie, understands the relationship between the sophisticated art collector and the fine artist and presents events with the necessary ambiance to bring the patron and artist together.

Visit: today to apply.

Artist of the Month: James Parker, Photographer

August 8, 2008

Western Landscapes

And the Great Spirit Smiled

And the Great Spirit Smiled

Born in Rapid City, SD, both his grandfather and father wrangled horses, tourists and children on their dude ranch. Fast forward to today, a visit to Jim’s booth at an art fair and you see a good example of the old maxim “What should I write about?” with its meaningful answer:  “Write about what you know.” Receiving his first camera at the age of seven, Jim follows through on this good advice.

The eldest son of a Western historian, his images explore both the architectural artifacts and the geologic history of the American West. Sweeping panoramas, details of a western life long gone, exploring man’s impact on the continent and vice versa, you find a comprehensive body of work that expresses the inner life of the person behind the camera.

If you are interested in the lifestyle of art fair artists, this month’s featured artist, James Parker, has a engaging blog, “Life as an Itinerant Artist” documenting the comings and goings of the art fair life.

Learn more about Jim’s well integrated life, a life that combines his earliest sensate memories with the adventures of life on the road.

See more of Jim’s work and find him at an art fair near you:

Michiganders can see him at the end of the month at Arts, Beats & Eats in Pontiac, MI.

Call for Entries: Greenville, S.C.

August 4, 2008

May 8-10

West End Historic District of Greenville, S. C.
100 Artists
Deadline: October 16

Greenville is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the northwest corner of South Carolina, halfway between Atlanta and Charlotte. Is is one of those lucky U.S. cities impacted by high tech development where industries such as BMW, General Electric and Fluor are flourishing.

What to expect:

  • In 2008, the Purchase Awards Program provided approximately $20,000 in additional art sales
  • An extensive advertising and publicity effort that publicizes the festival throughout the state and the Southeast region with media sponsors in print, radio,television and billboards. The festival will also be marketed through direct mail, internet outlets, and paid advertisements in tourist publications
  • $10,000 in prize money
  • a well-educated audience who have good jobs
  • good time of the year for pleasant Spring days

For a prospectus and more info, contact Liz Rundorff, Program Director/Artisphere, 864-271-9355, or
Download the application:

Artisphere is a tax-exempt art services organization whose mission is providing a high-quality event that attracts, entertains, educates, inspires and enriches a diverse audience, and thus brings the community together through the arts, a group who definitely “gets” the connection between the arts and economic development. More info: “Economic Impact of the Arts.”

Proceeds are used to produce the annual arts festival and are also distributed back to local non-profit arts organizations as part of Artisphere’s Volunteer Arts Partnership Program.