Posts Tagged ‘art fair’

#1 in Creativity: Des Moines Arts Festival’s Timely Appeal

October 27, 2008

Just in case you missed it — kudos to Stephen King and staff at the Des Moines Arts Festival for their catchy message:

I’m not asking for your vote, but I am asking you to apply to the 2009 Des Moines Arts Festival!
The DEADLINE for (z)application to the 2009 Des Moines Arts Festival is Friday, Oct 31, at 11:59:59!

Don’t wait until the polls close, apply today at

We hope you will include us in your plans for 2009.

Many thanks!
Stephen King, CFEE


Make More Money This Weekend?

October 18, 2008

Did you miss’s second call-in teleseminar?

Make More Money

Here is your opportunity to own a transcript of the conversation, 29 pages on 20 topics submitted by artists. It is full of helpful insights to dilemmas faced by beginning art fair artists.

Recently we held our second 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 for $12.95.

Click here right now to purchase the brand new e-book “Teleseminar II – Getting Into Art Fairs: 20 Questions Answered.” Look for the “Buy Now” button on the right sidebar.

Some of the topics addressed:

* what are some of the best items for art fairs?
* what style of art is most in demand?
* how do I raise money to get started?
* what are the best sources for finding art fairs?
* what sells and where?
* how do you tell the difference between shows with buyers and shows with lookers?
* what are art fairs looking for in the application?
* why do I need a booth slide? what is a booth slide?
* how do I arrange my booth?
* how do I determine a price?

Here is what some of the participants had to say:

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.

Thank you again and feel free to use my comments as a testimonial. Also, since English is the 5th language to me feel free to proofread before you use any of my emails :).

Konul Zwolinski


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

Connie, 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,LLC

Thank you Constance:
I’m looking forward to reading what the two of you had to say.
Even with a more than 30 year history of painting and 2 masters degrees in Painting I’m having no luck even being accepted to Festivals. Any tips that help will be greatly appreciated.


Selling Your Art – Great Tips from a Master

October 17, 2008

The following information comes from the newsletter of the highly regarded author publicist, Rick Frishman. I read his newsletters faithfully because they are full of thoughtful and pragmatic publicity tips.

These “on the mark” sales tips are from super salesman Harvey Mackay:

Buying jewelry from Diana Christiansen

*It’s not how much it’s worth; it’s how much people think it’s worth. Marketing is neither the art of selling nor the simple business of convincing someone to buy. It is the art of creating conditions by which the buyer convinces himself. And nothing is more convincing than hard evidence that others want the same thing. (This is why there is such competition for the big name art fairs–because this is where the serious money is earned.)

* Knowing something about your customer is just as important as knowing everything about your product. Knowing your customers means knowing what they really want. Maybe it’s your product, but maybe it’s something else too–recognition, respect, reliability, service or friendship. (Study the people who have bought from you, learn why, extrapolate that to the next customer.)

* You are not important. Our challenge, whether we are salespeople or negotiators or managers or entrepreneurs, is to make others see the advantage to themselves in responding to our proposal. Understanding our subjects’ personalities is vital. Let them shine. Our own personalities are subordinate. (Yep, it is not about you, it is about what the patron needs.)

Buying graphics from Ed Bordett

Buying graphics from Ed Bordett

* Your reputation is your greatest asset. While you, yourself, are not important, your reputation is. It’s not product, price or service. Everything flows from your reputation — customer loyalty, referrals and more. (Positioning yourself at the top art fairs, having an impeccable booth, dressing like your customer all reinforce the signal your art sends to the customer.)

* Apply the law of large numbers. Position yourself as Number Two to every prospect on your list, and keep adding to that list. I can promise you that if your list is long enough, there are going to be Number Ones that fail to perform, retire or die or lose their territories for many reasons. What I can’t tell you is which ones. If you’re standing second in line, in enough lines, sooner or later you’re going to move up to Number One. (And, as you well know in the business Number One changes from show to show.)

* Short notes yield long results. I’m amazed by how many salespeople don’t write thank you notes. It’s all a matter of personal recognition and courtesy, just as important as remembering names and taking a personal interest in people. And it’s not just for sales. (Treat people as you like to be treated.)

Collette Fortin selling her glass

Collette Fortin selling her glass

* Keep your eye on your time, not on your watch. A salesperson really has nothing to sell but her time. Her product exists independently of anything she adds to it. Her personality will win her or lose her accounts initially, but if she isn’t around to provide service and be accessible to customers, she’ll lose those accounts. (One of my pet peeves, the artist hiding behind their booth–they have spent hundreds of dollars to be there and then are unavailable–money down the drain.)

* Position yourself as a consultant. The mark of a good salesperson is that his customer doesn’t regard him as a salesperson at all, but a trusted and indispensable adviser, an auxiliary employee who, fortunately, is on someone else’s payroll. (This is an easy one, you know more about art than 90% of your customers. Speak with authority.)

* Believe in yourself, even when no one else does. Who says you’re not tougher, smarter, better, harder working, more able than your competition? It doesn’t matter if they say you can’t do it. The only thing that matters is if you say it.

* If you don’t have a destination, you’ll never get there. Everybody and every business needs a set of basic goals and beliefs, but most of us are seat-of-the-pants, one-day-at-a-time operators. Our goals are fuzzy and our plans for achieving them non-existent. Goals don’t have to be elaborate either, just realistic.

* Practice positive visualization. I have found this to be one of the most powerful means of achieving personal goals. It’s what an athlete does when he comes on to the field to kick a winning field goal with three seconds on the clock and 60,000 screaming fans and millions more watching on TV. Great athletes and businesspeople have the ability to visualize themselves in successful situations. (My favorite visualization is zipping that credit card and watching the artwork being wrapped up.)

* Ask for the order. It’s amazing what you don’t get when you don’t ask. An insurance agent whom he had known for many years, once asked the famous automobile pioneer Henry Ford why he never got any of Ford’s business. “You never asked me,” Ford replied.
Mackay’s Moral: Tell me, and I will forget; show me, and I may remember; but involve me, and I’ll understand. (I always liked it best when the customer said, “I’ll take it,” but sometimes they need some coaxing.)

For more go to

Many thanks to that master of PR, Rick Frishman, for allowing me to adapt his article.

Reprinted from “Rick Frishman’s Author 101 Newsletter”
Subscribe at and receive Rick’s “Million Dollar Rolodex”

The St. James Court Art Show in Louisville Report

October 6, 2008
St. James Court by mister_poppular

St. James Court by mister_poppular

Didn’t make it to Louisville this past weekend, October 3-5? Maybe you’ll want to be there next year for the St. James Court Art Show and its satellite shows on 3rd Street, 4th Street and Belgravia Court. They tout 700 artists and around 300,000 visitors in this beautiful, leafy old neighborhood full of historic homes. It is a lovely place to spend a fall day, see and be seen, eat Kentucky burgoo and discover treasures.

Here are reviews to pique your interest:

A site with many images, including the one above:

Another site that has wonderful images of the unique architecture of the neighborhood (enough to bring you to the district again to see it without the crowds), This man needs to be on the Chamber of Commerce for the city.

St. James Court Art Show Ends Sunday
WLKY – Louisville,KY,USA
Perfect weather has made for a comfortable stroll for visitors of the St. James Court Art Show. Some of the finest artists and craftsmen in the country came … read the story and see the video.

From the Louisville Courier-Journal: St. James art show: It’s a scene.

See you there next year?

“Tough Year For Art Lovers,” by Jeane Vogel

October 1, 2008

I am a fan of photographer Jeane Vogel’s blog. She does such a good job of “telling it like it is” in the art fair business. Interested in a bit of flavor about this year’s art fair season? Thinking about becoming a part of the art fair business? You will probably enjoy this insider’s background on the art fair biz. Visit “Beyond the Art Fair” and become acquainted with Jeane:

Call For Artists: Des Moines Arts Festival

September 11, 2008

June 26-28, 2009
12th Annual Des Moines Arts Festival
Western Gateway Park
Des Moines, IA
175 Artists
Deadline: Oct. 31, 2008

The award-winning Des Moines Arts Festival invites you to be a part of the Midwest’s premier celebration of the arts on June 26-28, 2009, featuring the art work of 175 of the nation’s top artists and 24 juried emerging Iowa artists.

Creating opportunities for people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds to embrace the arts, the Des Moines Arts Festival is one of the most respected arts events in the country, and brings more than 200,000 art enthusiasts each year to its downtown location in Iowa’s capital city and largest metropolitan area.

The Festival is a non-profit organization founded by the Des Moines Art Center, attracting over one million people to Des Moines’ downtown since its inception in l998. Festival proceeds benefit the Des Moines Art Center and the continuation of the Des Moines Arts Festival.

What the artists say:

“This is one of the most professionally produced events we have participated in that caters thoughtfully to both patrons and artists.”

“Des Moines Arts Festival should be a benchmark for all other outdoor craft shows. One, we are lucky enough to have had very excellent sales. Two, the treatment of the artists before, during and after the fair is so good, it’s almost sad when it’s over.”

What to expect:

· Projected Attendance – More than 200,000.
· $11,000 in Cash Awards, including $1000 The Des Moines Register People’s Choice Award
· Official Festival Guide includes color image for each artist distributed to 220,000+ households via The Des Moines Register
· Free Parking for Artists
· Invitations to special events and receptions
· Exclusive Hospitality Area
· Air-conditioned restroom facilities reserved for artists only
· 24-hour Security
· Booth sitters and energetic volunteers

My partner and I have participated in this event several times. It was our favorite. Terrific hospitality, wonderful promotion, friendly and interested visitors who actually thank you for coming to their city for the festival. Plus, they take art home with them. All art fairs should be this good!

Visit or today to apply.

Looking for more art fairs? Visit for entries.

Artists Costs Rising and Sales Dwindling

September 10, 2008

Here is an excellent in-depth article by Dane Stickney from the Omaha World-Herald on how artists are coping with the economy and adjustments they are making to keep earning a living in the art fair business. It features Denny Davis, a true veteran of art fair world and Hill Brin, not around quite as long as Denny, but also a man who has participated in many an art fair around the country.

You might find interesting artist Rick Martin’s breakdown of expenses for the weekend, and that now many more of you can afford one of Rick’s fine pieces as he has made some smaller works that will fit many pocketbooks.

We send our best wishes to all the artists exhibiting at the Art on the Pointe fair in Village Pointe this weekend.

Michigan Festival: Art, Food & Music at its Best

September 4, 2008
Arts, Beats & Eats

Arts, Beats & Eats

Now it is Wednesday. I had intended to blog each day about Arts, Beats & Eats, but life and the job got in the way.

Saturday night ended late for me. After the streets were clear and all the artists closed up there was some office work to do then I headed back to my hotel to meet old friends Allan Teger and Chris Maher in the bar for a drink. We settled up the art fair business fast and then discussed the various ways to use the Internet to connect artists and patrons. They want to make a community out of the patrons who love art fairs, holding meetings during the fairs where the patrons can meet each other. This is taking social networking real. Would this be of interest to any of you?

Photographer Ed Holland at Arts, Beats & Eats

Photographer Ed Holland at Arts, Beats & Eats

Sunday morning was time to hustle again. We host an artists award breakfast at the Lafayette Grande and it is always well attended. Lisa and I really enjoy talking with the artists away from their booths and seeing everyone relaxing for a little while. Then we have an awards presentation and pass out the checks and the ribbons. Jon Witz, the producer of Arts, Beats & Eats, attends and always gives a heads up on his plans for the future of the event.

Next year we will be closing earlier. Radio stations that cater to young people will not be part of the lineup and the carnival will be gone. These changes are going to be made to make it more comfortable for an older crowd to attend in the evening.

There are six stages at our event and the people who attend the art fair somewhat reflect the acts for the day. In the art area there is an acoustical stage which always draws a mellow crowd. The headliner for the whole weekend (as far as I was concerned) was Chaka Khan on stage at 10 pm. I was able to get VIP passes for some of the artists and Svetlana and Sam Kuznets, Irina Dinkevich, Richard McCollum, Andrew Wender, Marvin Bower and some others got special seats. When the art area was closed my friend Sandy Dunstone and I got to join them there.

Richard Skelton sculpture

Richard Skelton sculpture

The speakers were so loud that you could hear Chaka all over downtown Pontiac. Other staff people just stayed in the office and they heard her as well as we did. Fun, great energy–welcome to Pontiac, Chaka.

Back to the hotel, her tour bus was already there and I rode up in the elevator with her bodyguard.

Monday is always a happy day–only six hours to go. Much buying of art happens on Monday and I caught many artists making sales (photos coming soon). At five pm artists start closing even though the streets are full of people. Many of them have put in enough time and are ready to leave. Still it was an hour until there was room to bring in the vehicles. Some complained because we were closing, but most were ready to go.

By 11 pm everyone was gone, the electricians were collecting all the cords, the scaffolds were down and the street was back to normal. In the rest of the event area (restaurant, vendor and stages) the event ends at 8 pm. All night long the crews are removing tents, propane tanks, grease barrels, stages and equipment getting the streets open for Tuesday morning.

I was back in the office on Tuesday, but many of the crew worked all night. Leaving town on Tuesday afternoon (after cleaning up the files, making an invitational list for next year, writing letters to the artists, etc.) there were just a few large tents left in the parking lot and the carnival was doing its final loading.

It was a great weekend for me seeing so many old friends, including Scott Coleman who we met at our very first art fair, and meeting three people who I have featured as Artist of the Month: Debra Groat, Steve Uren and James Parker. Greetings go out also to jeweler Liz Kain and her friend Louise, subscribers and readers from Toronto, participating for the first time.

Many thanks to everyone who makes these events what they are: special.

Collette Fortin of Neptune Hot Glass

Collette Fortin of Neptune Hot Glass

More stories on this popular festival:

Arts, Beats and Eats festival offers food and fun
Detroit Free Press – United States
Wilson’s art, as well as other pieces at the festival, could be bought from as little as $10 to thousands of dollars. Bands and radio stations playing their …

Folks take to blogging, green theme at AB&E
Detroit Free Press – United States
“This is the first time I’ve seen laptops at any type of festival,” said Reema Gupta, 23, of Sterling Heights. “Usually they sell art and we eat, …

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.