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ArtFairCalendar.com has just finished its 2nd annual "America's Best Art Fairs" survey and we announce the winners. This is the only national online survey of the country's juried art fairs and craft shows, designed to reward the festivals that create opportunities connecting artists and communities to celebrate the arts.
We asked our mailing list of over 50,000 art fair patrons what was the best art fair in the country and had an amazing nationwide response. Nearly 90% of the respondents completed the lengthy 20 question survey and the answers were both expected and intriguing.
Not surprisingly: people love to attend art fairs and many travel long distances to do so. The overall conclusion is: Art is Alive and Well in America and attendance at the nation's shows is proof of that.
Listen to find out what the Top 50 shows in the country are as voted on by the people who attend them and collect art. Find out which they have chosen as the best regional fairs, best urban fair, best small market show and the best cities for art fairs.
We'll share the survey answers on:
what makes a show "Best"
why people say they attend an art fair
how art fair goers find out about shows to attend
why they don't attend shows they used to love
how far they travel to art fairs
their suggestions for show organizers
Laura Berarducci from the Ann Arbor Convention & Visitors Bureau also reports on the economic impact of the Ann Arbor Art Fairs in that community.
The mission of ArtFairCalendar.com is to promote the unique American tradition of art fairs by showcasing the events where art collectors find hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind fine work for sale and encourage the interaction of client and creator.
Most artists have made their peace with the digital upload systems, www.Zapplication.org, www.JuriedArtServices.com and www.EntryThingy.com. If you want to participate in the better shows you sign up and upload your images for the jury.
But how did this get started and what is the relationship of the individual artist or individual art fair with these systems?
Here are our experts:
photographer Larry Oliverson who was instrumental in introducing the concept of online applications to the art fair business by bringing artists, art fairs and Westaf (the agency which provides ZAPP) together painter Kathleen Eaton who is an artist member of the ZAPP Oversight Committee and is writing a book about the history of art fairs Leah Charney, Manager of ZAPP®, oversees the ZAPP product and the 350+ clients, 570+ events and more than 60,000 active artists that use the system These guests have a long history with the organization and can provide both historical data as well as current operating information.
We'll discuss the myths and truths about:
how ZAPP has changed the art fair business ZAPP's relationship with the shows best practices on preparing your application and making digital systems work for you what an "artist advisor" does ZAPP is going to be around for a long time and understanding its processes and using it to its fullest is advantageous to everyone in the art fair business.
Call into the show: (805) 243-1338.
What can an art fair do to bring serious buyers to attend their events to buy art?
Our guests today are from two of the top rated shows in the country. Tne La Quinta Arts Festival is a large festival held in an affluent area in California. Art on the Square is in Belleville, Illinois, a small town near St. Louis with nearly the opposite demographics, yet both shows excel at bringing collectors to their events and their sales figures are "above average."
How do they do it?
The guests are:
Christi Salamone, Executive Director, La Quinta Arts Festival, La Quinta, CA Kathleen Hughes, Events Manager, La Quinta Arts Festival Patty Gregory, Director, Art on ths Square, Belleville, IL Anyone who has ever run an art fair, or thought they wanted to run an art fair, will learn a lot from these experienced guests. Do you want lots of applications to your show? The most important thing an event can do is bring in those committed buyers.
In a business full of taking chances the first big challenge an artist has is to make the jury cut at the shows. After all, if you can't get into the show you aren't in business. I'll be speaking with
Mo Riley, Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair: Mo came to the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair (the original one) about 3 years ago from the Detroit Festival of the arts. She inherited a complex jury system that has over a dozen jurors from various media who attend on consecutive days, breaking the jurying down into small pieces. Lyn Sedlak-Ford, Board Member Art in the Pearl, Portland, OR: one of a group of 14 artists who started this show 17 years ago. There are 3 left of the original group. We'll talk about how an artist's organization chooses a jury and what they expect from their jurors. Jerry Allen Gilmore, juror for many of the nation's best art fairs: with an MFA in painting and drawing he has had a career both as an artist, exhibiting internationally, and as an arts administrator in Colorado. Currently he is concentrating on curatorial projects, artist portfolio reviews, jurying for regional and national art institutions and on his own artwork. We'll talk about:
how to choose a jury, qualifications, diversity, experience demands on the jury how they showcase the applications jury instruction different kinds of jurying jury experiences and recommendations what your jury fee is buying you
Everything an Artist Needs to Know about Insurance
Art fairs can be a dangerous business fraught with problems of high winds, theft, traveling with artwork, liability issues, damages to equipment and accidents of all kinds.
Valerie Bjarnson, Director of Online Programs for Veracity Insurance Solutions whose innovative insurance programs have made reasonably priced insurance available to artists, joins Connie Mettler to discuss why an artist needs liability insurance.
liability issues bodily injury and property damage weather related losses theft and the best way insurance can keep protect you and your livelihood whether you only do a few shows a year or are a full time art fair traveler participating in more shows than you can remember.
Get definitive answers for all your insurance questions and learn more: www.ACTinspro.com.
Jewelers Bonnie Blandford, in Michigan, and Carla Fox, in Oregon, are artists who organize popular annual art fairs in Kalamazoo and Bend, respectively.
Join us as we learn about their passion to create a marketplace where their fellow artists can sell their work. How do these women do it all? Create distinctive one of a kind work, travel to art fairs and host events for their peers?
Pick up tips on how you can do this in your community.
Connie Mettler will be speaking with
Kathrine Allen-Coleman, a painter from Georgia who participated in Coconut Grove, Reston, Old Town, Columbus, Des Moines, Ann Arbor Street Art Fair and more Andrew Shea, a glass blower from Minnesota who was in Belleville, Old Town, Des Moines, Madison, Uptown, Port Clinton, Saint Louis and more Bruce Reinfeld, a photographer from Philadelpia who was Columbus, Des Moines, Cherry Creek, Plaza and more All of these artists had "dream" schedules in 2011. Join us as we talk about their experiences, how they manage to have such a great track record getting the top shows and their 2012 plans.
How do I get into the good art fairs and how do I make money when I get there?
These are the universal questions that need to be answered for earning a living in the fine art and fine craft show business. Our expert guests Larry Berman and Bruce Baker lead the way.
Larry Berman lends his expertise on creating great images that will "wow" they jury and Bruce Baker shares his experience on creating a great booth and meeting the customer. Between the two you'll have the answers and there is only one thing left for you to do: make great art.
Larry Berman has a long career in photography, including being the staff photographer for the NY Nets. He has been exhibiting at art fairs for over 30 years and was one of the first to recognize the importance of digital imagery in the art fair business and was responsible for the ZAPP image format which displays all jury images the same size. He has built a career improving jury images for artists and/or photographing their artwork. He has held seminars on jury images and does consulting with artists and art fairs.
Bruce Baker began selling his jewelry at retail and wholesale shows in the 1980's. Taking what he learned there he began consulting full time in 2005 sharing his retailing and business experience with a variety of groups ranging from Artists, Main Street Merchants, to Farm Market vendors, conducting over 600 marketing and production related workshops in the past two decades. He leads training sessions helping artists be more productive and competitive in the international marketplace.
Between the two you'll have all the answers and there is only one thing left for you to do: make great art. Only you can do that part.
In the beginning art fairs were created and artists and art buyers flocked to attend. You were one of them. Your mother and your friends thought your work was wonderful and maybe they were right, so off you went to the marketplace. How did it go? Was it a triumph or a humbling experience?
A panel of beginner and experienced artists from various media discuss their "first time." What you will learn:
how they prepared
where they were, big or small fairs
how it impacted their lives
their biggest disappointments and their biggest surprises
learning from their own mistakes vs learning from other's mistakes
what they wish they had known then and how they used that information
the good, the bad and the really ugly
how to do three shows in three days and other extreme adventures
their #1 tip for a first time show
We did it! We completed another year of art fairs. Before we get too far into the future we'll take a look back at 2013 for an assessment. The guests are:
Nels Johnson, photographer from Florida, in the business since 1976
Jim Parker, photographer from Michigan
Melanie Rolfes, painter from Georgia
Kelly Smith, sculptor from California, second generation art fair artist
We'll ferret out their backgrounds so we have context for understanding their answers, then we find out their best and worst shows, their favorite shows, their best stories and biggest disappointments, plus - their plans for making 2014 a banner year and a special tip from each for newcomers to the business.
How does an art festival market their event to the public without big name entertainers, wine tasting areas, children's stages, interactive activities for fairgoers? In other words, strictly an art fair.
Sharon McAllister, Executive Director of ArtFest Fort Myers (FL) joins Sara Shambarger, Director of Art Fairs, at the Krasl Art Center, including Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff in St. Joseph, MI, on this episode. Sharon and Sara have been in the art fair business for well over fifteen years, travel to visit other art fairs and have a wide perspective on creating a community-wide event that facilitates "buy-in" by the local population.
This show will have strategic information that will be useful to artists and show organizers
We'll talk about:
what they do to make an art fair attractive to buyers and how artists are their partners in doing this
how artists can help them in their mission to bring buyers to the shows
what they think artists can be do to maximize their sales
the challenges they face marketing tthe events during "high season" in their resort communities
how to bring in an audience when the focus is solely on the art fair, without big name entertainers, wine tasting, road races, zumbathons, stilt walkers, intrusive sponsor booths, children's stages
Nawal Motawi joins us to talk about her journey from art school graduate to founder of an award-winning Ann Arbor-based nationally known art studio that creates unique handmade tile reflecting the classic styles and craftsmanship of 20th Century American design.
Nawal Motawi founded Motawi Tileworks more than 20 years ago. A University of Michigan art school graduate with a restless spirit and an interest in applied arts, she moved to Detroit to learn tilemaking at Detroit’s storied Pewabic Pottery. She returned to Ann Arbor after a few years and began making her own tiles in a garage studio and selling them from a stand she rented at the local farmers’ market. Today, Nawal is still designing and making tiles in Ann Arbor. Her companies, Motawi Tileworks and Rovin Ceramics, employ more than 30 people. The tiles are sold in over 400 stores across the United States.
The Motawi business philosophy:
We make distinctive ceramics in a healthy way. We share our story. And we have fun.
We believe that we can make the world a better place by making beautiful things for everyday places and modeling healthy company practices.
How do we do this?
We make things that are valued for their design and quality.
We cultivate an intentional workplace culture that fosters constant improvement, positivity and consistently high performance.
Listen to learn how she made the move from her first art classes to a successful business owner, plus her best tips for building a sustainable career in the arts.
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