Sunday, August 12, 2007

Moore Art not as Successful as I Would have Liked

Well the Moore Art in the Park Festival was a complete bust, I didn't even make back the cost of my booth. It was really frustrating, not just for me but for all the artists, people just didn't seem to want to spend any money. My necklaces range from $20-$30 and even those didn't sell. There was a jewelry artist there too who had beautiful and very affordable work (as low as $10) and she told me she only made enough to cover her booth cost (which was $40). The lady with the booth next to me who had just gorgeous watercolors (and was very nice she kept me cheered up after the show when I was a little upset) only sold a few watercolor postcards, nothing larger sold.

I thought about it for a bit last night, and I think I've figured out the problem. The show was advertised quite a bit as a family event. Now in my experience when you call something a family event it means that most of the people who show up are families with children 5 years old or younger, families with older kids, single people, couples without kids (or with grown kids), don't attend nearly as much. I think it's great to expose young kids to art and I wouldn't have wanted the show to discourage people from bringing kids since I think art education is very important. The simple truth is that parents with young children aren't likely to buy much art either because they don't have the money or something I heard a few times is that little kids break things.

I really hope that the people running the show send out a questionaire or call the artists who participated because I have a few thoughts about how it could be improved for next year. Top of that list is definitely not to call it a family event. I think if I had been planning the advertising for it I would have gone with something like "Art for Everyone", make it clear that it's an accessable art show. You don't have to be a connoisoire of art to appreciate all the great talent that was on display at the show but that it had something for everyone, from serious art collectors to casual art lovers to families and kids. I'm not ready to give up on this show but I think I want to see some changes made for next year before I commit to doing it again.

Okay to get away from complaining about the negative parts of the show some things did go well. I talked to various representatives of art organizations and owners of galleries. I'm going to spend part of this coming week making calls and maybe meeting with some of them to expand the number of places where my art is seen. An idea which someone gave me was to call some of the quirkier restaurants in the area and see if they are either interested in either buying or displaying for sale my sealife sculptures like the Squid or Perma-pets. I was also told that I really should do the Norway Sidewalk Art Show which is very well established and popular (and importantly for me not too expensive to get into).

I do have to say that despite the lack of sales, the actual running of the show was done very well. Things went about as smoothly as they could have gone, the organizers were very helpful, they got everyone to their assigned lots quickly, I didn't have need of the parking because my dad drove me over with his van then went home but for those that did they had valet parking of a sort, the music groups that played were pretty good. I got a lot of compliments and positive feedback about my work, no one suggested I had priced things too high so I'm pretty sure people thought my prices were fair even though they didn't buy anything. I got to talk with some cool people, in particular one teenage girl who works in polymer clay, I gave her a list of sculpting links to help her out and I wish her lots of luck.

I know I've been putting off the Ebay and Etsy thing for a while now because it's a bit intimidating but I'm starting to realize that I don't have much choice. Sales through my website are slim and local sales are getting frustrating. I think my necklaces will probably do well if I sell them through a popular site like Ebay or Etsy (I'm leaning towards Etsy because I don't like auctions).

Another option is that since tourists are often a good market for art is that my dad is going to talk to a friend of his who has a fairly popular shop selling things like handmade furniture (he just gave us a beautiful garden bench as thanks for all the work my dad's done for him). I hope that pans out because it would be even more exposure for my work.

Lastly here are some photos of my booth and a pretty monarch butterfly who just loved the flowers I brought along with me. It was just totally unconcerned with everything going on around it.

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