I’ve done a few outdoor shows through a gallery I used to be in. The only one that didn’t totally suck was the one in September in the parking lot of the gallery, and then only because there was a bathroom close by (ladies, can you hear me!) and they served food right there. Sold nothing, but at least it wasn’t terribly hot.
Not like the one in August – did I mention it was AUGUST(!) and not a glimpse of shade anywhere. Never been so hot in all my life. And, oh yes, sold nothing. Was lucky enough to have someone ask me to share their booth both times if I helped to put it up and take it down. Thank goodness I never decided to buy my own tent, etc., unlike another artist I know. (She bought the tent and metal racks, did a total of one show which she paid $$$$ to enter, and sold less than $50 in merchandise; she sold the tent and racks immediately!)
Then there was the indoor show at the church, supposed to be “well attended” and they supplied table and chair. Well, they did not lie - they did have quite a lot of people through. However, all that they were buying were crafty items, especially those geared toward children. I did get some “lookers” and actually sold something! 3 note cards, total sales $7.50. (We were supposed to give 10% to the church, but after putting in all that effort, I kept the $0.75 for myself!).
Then there was another indoor show sponsored by our local arts council, for which I do 2-3 classes a year, so thought I’d see what it was all about. This time I had to lug my own table and chair. They supposedly had teens helping out, but, typical teenagers, they were nowhere to be found while I was setting up or tearing down. The bright spot was that I knew several people there and we chatted, plus they had delicious food on premises and again the requisite bathroom close by. And, yes, I sold something again! This time I improved my profits by about 50% - sold a $10.00 box of note cards – to a woman who looked like she was making a drug deal! She looked around to make sure no one saw her, snatched the box of cards and practically threw the $10 at me!!!
After that I vowed never to do another show. Until, of course, I received the notice in the mail for the church event again this year. (I know what you are thinking! But hear me out).
My rationale this year will be that, since all I have to do is show up with my stuff, I will bring 2 easels (instead of 3) and 4 pictures (instead of 6) and my note cards – lighter load, you see – and use part of the booth to set up a table and chair for demos and hopefully get some students for my classes, not really caring if I sell anything or not.
This reasoning may be why we have earned the title “crazy artists”.