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graybeard

How Do You Find Craft Fair's / Shows Call Them What Will.

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HI all, me again.

 

My question has become: How do you find out about a show / fair BEFORE the fact??

I knew about an upcoming fair and they canceled that one!

 

I have suggested the idea (to have a fair)  to several organizations, no luck.

 

I tried to sell some stuff out of my yard, (ya should try that sometime " hey, nice bowl would ya take  5 bucks?")

 

I've been told to go on face book as a source but I don't do face book.

 

I have tried farmers markets but in my area they all seem to be run by the same organization

using a really brutal set of rules.

 

So anyway, thank you fer yer help.

 

graybeard

 

 

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Go to http://zapplication.org. Click on "Participating Events." Sort by "Region" because there are hundreds of shows listed here.

 

This is the website that has become the most popular way for shows to manage their application process.

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Many smaller shows are not on Zapp. Usually the larger show are Zapp shows. Of my shows I do say 5 years ago which was at that time 109 shows-only two where app shows. Nowdays I only do one Zapp show and I always have been an invited return artist so I got to side step that app jury process.

There has been a lot written on this subject so use the search function .

Finding good info before the show is a bit harder especially unbiased reviews -the only one I know that is left is the art fair source book which is a paid (expensive) publication. at one time I was a subscriber. You can order it by area of country for a bit less.

I only suggest this for serious artists willing to travel .

The best way is to go to said show and see for yourself. I have never done this myself but its the only way you can talk listen and learn of said show yourself. Picking the right shows for your work is maybe the hardest part. I started small and worked up but hey I was 19 and had a lifetime to work with and by 40 knew the territory very well.Now in my 60s I'm mush more picking and have not done a New show in many decades. 

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http://www.eventlister.com/

 

Scroll down just below the images and in the center there is a listing for events and a search feature.

 

Below that there are a listing of some events.

 

If you register you can find shows a month or two in advance (free) or up to a year in advance (paid) with your subscription.

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Many smaller shows are not on Zapp. Usually the larger show are Zapp shows. Of my shows I do say 5 years ago which was at that time 109 shows-only two where app shows. Nowdays I only do one Zapp show and I always have been an invited return artist so I got to side step that app jury process.

There has been a lot written on this subject so use the search function .

Finding good info before the show is a bit harder especially unbiased reviews -the only one I know that is left is the art fair source book which is a paid (expensive) publication. at one time I was a subscriber. You can order it by area of country for a bit less.

I only suggest this for serious artists willing to travel .

The best way is to go to said show and see for yourself. I have never done this myself but its the only way you can talk listen and learn of said show yourself. Picking the right shows for your work is maybe the hardest part. I started small and worked up but hey I was 19 and had a lifetime to work with and by 40 knew the territory very well.Now in my 60s I'm mush more picking and have not done a New show in many decades.

 

It think these days there are shows of all sizes on Zapp. But you're right there are still plenty of small shows who handle their own application process. This year, all but two of my shows (out of 11) were on either Zapp or JuriedArtServices.com (the more upscale version of Zapp).

 

However, graybeard has not indicated what size or type of show is being sought. graybeard what are you looking for?

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I feel Zapp shows loose their  sole over time.

 

I think there was an adjustment period of a few years, but now people have gotten used to it. At first, Zapp allowed shows to take way more applications than they used to, which was a problem for artists, not the shows. But now so many shows are on Zapp the playing field has evened out. Now the shows have a lot more competition too. They need to deliver a quality event, or the artists will go elsewhere. If anything, it has raised the game in the art fair world.  

 

Now I have a mild dislike for shows who do their own application, because all of my jury photos are stored on Zapp. I appreciate the convenience. 

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http://www.artfaircalendar.com/

https://artfairsourcebook.com/

https://www.craftmasternews.com/

https://www.sunshineartist.com/

https://www.art-linx.com/

 

I have no problem with ZAPP. It's quick and easy to use. Most smaller shows do not use it, though. It's definitely the most user-friendly of all the online application systems. Juried Art Services is similar but not as simple to use, and Entry Thingy has always felt like it's still in the development stage. But I'll take any of them over the shows that still want photographs, or that require that you mail two checks with your application. It's 2017, people! Get with the program! I've had a couple of shows that want you to send a CD with images, but my computer doesn't have a CD burner. It's 2017! CD's are old school! So they let me email my images. Artists are slow to embrace technology, and many shows have been run by the same people for 40 years, so they're not necessarily in the demographic that looks for the latest technology.

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The image storage is a convince feature-But this all comes with other issues for shows

Being on a show board and seeing the backside issues helps put some perspective on the Zapp issues as well.

 

 I have seen to many shows take in artists from far far away and they do not have a good show as its not the right market for them and never return . The next year the space has the same far away person who does not sell well again-the only common thread is they pushed the button (applied on Zapp). Over just a few years the show has lost its local well supported artists and is full of turn over yearly newbies that wonder why they drove so far for a bad market.The very nature of the local shops changes.

This is bad for folks who over time develop a customer base and are very successful at maintaining that base at show for decades-they get displaced buy other artists who have zero base at said show and will never return.

This system has good and bad points-folks need to see both sides

Often the whole deal is about money-zapp brings in more jury fees and promoters get greedy and take all they can. 

They be thinking about the regulars who have good market customers at their shows but often there is a disconnect and the Zappo process does not help this . I had a  potter friend do the Jurying thru Zapp for a  show in Wyoming. He said he could not believe how many folks from all over the USA applied for this show(so easy to push the button)-people from both coasts where applying and that for the past decades only folks from the local surrounding states did the show. This show changed in just a few years and is no longer the great local show it once was.

Shows that draw from all over I feel are the right mix for Zapp shows but not all shows should use Zapp.

Our local show will never use zapp as we know if you drive from Florida to our show you will have a bad show-its to far away for our small show no matter what your work looks like.

I'm the age now where many a director has retired after 30 years  on shows ai have done and the NEW director takes over and puts their mark on the show. I have yet to see this be a good thing for fellow artists-its often a disaster . I hate being the victim of someone else's learn curve as an Artist at the show.

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In the Zapp age where we have more access to more shows, we artists need to take more responsibility too. If an artist drives across country into a new market and does poorly, that's the artist's fault. For not doing their research or assessing the risk. Not Zapp's fault or the show's fault. 

 

(This year I will be driving long-distance into a new market, but I have assessed the risk. I think there is a reasonably good chance it will be profitable. And if it's not I can afford to lose the money. I also think it's risky to never explore new markets. It should be a small part of every year's plan.)

 

Shows need to strike a balance between inviting their long-time faithful local artists, and giving their patrons some amount of new work to see. I know a show in my region who made a bad habit of inviting the same artists year after year, for many years. This was once a "jewel" of a show, but they basically bored their audience to death. For the past few years they've been trying harder to strike that balance, and struggling hard. 

 

It's expensive to produce a show. I also think it's a hurculean effort to produce a good show, and to keep it good consistently. So I don't begrudge any show that makes a lot of revenue if they parlay that into an outstanding event. 

Marcia Selsor likes this

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The bottom line is its just hard to put on a great show-

That means keeping it fresh  with new stuff as well as keeping the folks that do well every year.

its a tough balance

I agree ( I also think it's a hurculean effort to produce a good show, and to keep it good consistently)

As one of the producers(board members) of our local largest event I know this to be true.Our show is in its 44th year

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In the Zapp age where we have more access to more shows, we artists need to take more responsibility too. If an artist drives across country into a new market and does poorly, that's the artist's fault. For not doing their research or assessing the risk. Not Zapp's fault or the show's fault. 

 

(This year I will be driving long-distance into a new market, but I have assessed the risk. I think there is a reasonably good chance it will be profitable. And if it's not I can afford to lose the money. I also think it's risky to never explore new markets. It should be a small part of every year's plan.)

 

Shows need to strike a balance between inviting their long-time faithful local artists, and giving their patrons some amount of new work to see. I know a show in my region who made a bad habit of inviting the same artists year after year, for many years. This was once a "jewel" of a show, but they basically bored their audience to death. For the past few years they've been trying harder to strike that balance, and struggling hard. 

 

It's expensive to produce a show. I also think it's a hurculean effort to produce a good show, and to keep it good consistently. So I don't begrudge any show that makes a lot of revenue if they parlay that into an outstanding event. 

 

I agree with everything said here. I've tried new shows that I knew nothing about and had great sales, and tried new shows from established organizers that I trust and had bad sales.

 

It takes years- even a decade or more- for a show to die, no matter how bad it is. The downside of ZAPP-type systems, or more accurately the internet in general, is that the show organizer will keep getting new artists so it doesn't matter how poor the sales are. The organizer still profits and the show goes on..... I've done a couple of shows where the shows had great reputations but had been inviting the same group of artists forever. When I finally got in it was too late as the public was bored and gave up.

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(The downside of ZAPP-type systems, or more accurately the internet in general, is that the show organizer will keep getting new artists so it doesn't matter how poor the sales are)

​This is oh so true these days with a few shows.

 

​I know a show that only survives from app fees as they get all new artists every year -less than 5% return as the show sucks. A constant  supply of new suckers(artists) pushing the apply button is what keeps the show going.-its a sad state of affairs.

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Another new factor in the internet age ... there are some pretty trustworthy online communities for art fair artists, which are (well, supposedly) private from show producers. This allows a large number of artists to talk about shows. It's not terribly useful for finding good shows, because the groups are way too large a varied to know if one person's experience is relevant to yours. But what these groups accomplish really well is when a formerly good show is circling the drain, the word spreads really fast.

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Back too the original question is to ask artists themselves about shows-nothing beats experience in this for new shows.

Thanks Mark, back to the original question. I agree that asking other artists is very effective. But it must be artists that you know, because it only helps to talk to artists who have similar priorities.

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MARK, I live near Gurnee Il in unincorporated Lake county, about 15 minutes from Mr. Estrick's studio. I guess you could say in north eastern Illinois?

 

WOW! what a response! I'm blown away.

 

The only "artist" I know in my area is Neil, if you ask anyone around here about

art fairs they all tell you about the Bristol Renaissance Fair. I once told a friend I threw pots and he started to spread it around that I grew pot. (true story) 

 

Thanks to you guys I have a lot to look through, can't thank you enough.

 

I might get to use my new to me white canopy this year after all!

 

Graybeard

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Back too the original question is to ask artists themselves about shows-nothing beats experience in this for new shows.

Thanks Mark, back to the original question. I agree that asking other artists is very effective. But it must be artists that you know, because it only helps to talk to artists who have similar priorities.

 

 

Definitely. Different artists expect different things from shows. I was having a conversation this past weekend with my neighbor, a painter, and she asked how I calculate what I need to make at a show for me to consider it to be successful. When I told her, she responded in a way that told me her expectations were much lower.

 

There are a couple of shows that I do that I consistently sell well at. They are not my best shows, but they are good enough for me to return each year. There is a lot of turnover in potters at those shows every year, which tells me that the other potters aren't selling as well. When I look around I see that most of them are selling less functional work than me. So even in talking to potters you have to figure out if their opinion of a show fits your parameters.

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Okay... yes Zapp is there for the bigger shows I've used it in the past when I was doing high end festivals. Now it's not really useful for me since I am doing only small local festivals. Graybeard I'm adding a link to a site that I have found useful in locating small local festivals. If you considered farmers markets then some of these will be only a rung or 2 above those. Not all the the events listed are suitable as it's not just Arts and crafts fairs listed so you will need to read through the descriptions and decide if it sounds like something that would suit your work.

 

http://www.artscraftsshowbusiness.com/shows.aspx?state=IL

 

I am getting well enough known in my area that I am getting invited to do events by promoters which is nice. I also try and do a few new festivals each year and also drop any festivals that are not worth my time. The best way is to go to a festival the year before, find someone you know doing the festival and talk to them, then add up what it will cost you to do the festival (your risk) and decide if it's something you want to try.

 

Good luck and I hope you find something.

 

T

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Okay... yes Zapp is there for the bigger shows I've used it in the past when I was doing high end festivals. Now it's not really useful for me since I am doing only small local festivals. Graybeard I'm adding a link to a site that I have found useful in locating small local festivals. If you considered farmers markets then some of these will be only a rung or 2 above those. Not all the the events listed are suitable as it's not just Arts and crafts fairs listed so you will need to read through the descriptions and decide if it sounds like something that would suit your work.

http://www.artscraftsshowbusiness.com/shows.aspx?state=IL

 

Thanks Pugaboo, this is a really useful list. It's not just for small shows, just about every show I'm doing is listed here. I do everything from small to big. This is a good way to search by date, say if you have an available weekend that you want to fill.

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Oops, you're right Mark, it's just for the eastern half of the US. Sorry, sometimes I forget my perspective is very east-coast-centric. 

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Oops, you're right Mark, it's just for the eastern half of the US. Sorry, sometimes I forget my perspective is very east-coast-centric. 

Thats ok you can have those winters.

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That's actually exactly how I use it. I look for specific dates, then by distance from home, followed by price and show data.

 

It's just another avenue to gather information.

 

T

Ps sorry Mark but maybe they have something similar for your neck of the woods?

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