Tuesday, May 4, 2010

ARTIST'S REVIEW OF - 34th Annual Madison Audubon Art Fair 2010

Lobby of the Warner Park Community Center
on day of the Audubon Art Fair

This past Saturday, May 1st, I exhibited at my first art show of the season at the 34th Annual Madison Audubon Art Fair.  I rather had a premonition that this day might not be one of the best I've ever had at an art show!

My sister was supposed to be at my house at 5 a.m. on Saturday so that we would have plenty of time to make it to the show, and set up before the 9:30 a.m. starting time of the show.  Well, about 5:15 a.m. I get a call from my sister on her cell phone saying she was lost, as she had to get off the freeway due to a large accident or something.  Now you have to know that it doesn't take either of us very much to get lost.  I'm terrible at giving directions over the phone because I drive by landmarks and not streets.  Therefore, trying to envision where she had ended up wasn't that easy for me!  After about 20 minutes of both of us trying to figure out the best way for her to get to my house,  we finally suceeded!  Now we were only running about 45 minutes late.

No worry!  Using her GPS, we did find the Warner Park Community Center building giving us a good amount of time to haul our stuff in and setup.

(Artists are asked to donate a piece of their art, where people can then bid on it.)

I've done this particular show for several years now when it was held at the Olbrech Botanical Gardens in Madison, and this was the second time I've done it at the new location at Werner Park Community Center.  I have to say that since the show was moved to this new spot, it hasn't been the same show as far as sales, people attending and the ambience is just not there. 

Setting up in a gym with grey plastic all over the floor doesn't make for a good environment for an art show.  On top of that it turned out that the people running the show mixed up my booth number with an artist friend of mine.  She wanted electricity and paid for, and I didn't.  I was given her booth and she was given mine.  We both already had our setups half up before we realized this.  To make matters worse her medium of "jewelry" was listed under my name, and my medium of "fiber" was listed under hers on the program.

Well, OK, my jewelry friend and I both decided to go with the flow!!  I know these shows are organized and setup using volunteers, and realize it takes a lot of work to put them together, but when artists pay a pretty good fee for their booth fee, I feel they should at least be assured of some quality treatment.

A portion of my "booth setup" with my new fiber jewelry and fantasy figures!

I'm so lucky to have my sister, Dianne, to help me with the display...actually she does most of it after we've set the gridwall up.  I just hate that part of doing a show!

My newly designed "jewelry diva", sitting in her chair is watching over things!

We are all set up and still have 10 minutes before the show starts!  I don't know how we managed that!  Now all we had to do is wait for the people to come flowing in.  Well, sorry to say that did not happen!  I have never seen such low attendance at this show.  I thought it was bad last year, but this year was unbelievable!

View of indoor part of the show

 NOTE: I took this photo in the middle part of the day, so you can see that there wasn't very many people attending.

View of the artist exhibiting outdoors...also not a lot of people!

One thing I always love about doing a show, whether good, bad or horrible is the fact that we always meet some delightful people, and can visit with past customers and meet a few new ones.  We've also always been lucky to have a delightful artist in the neighboring booth.

 Below is a photo of  our next door neighbor's booth, Anne Alessi of Waunakee, WI.  Anne designs and creates gorgeous "loom knit hand painted sweaters and silk scarves!  (Anne, thanks for the scarf!) To learn more about Anne and her exquisite designs, pay a visit to her web page by clicking on the link below:

Below is a photo of a piece done by a truly talented glass artist!
(I had taken a few other photos, but somehow they weren't in my camera when I got home!)

The photo doesn't even begin to do justice to her work!

To sum up this show, I'd have to say there were a lot of very unhappy artists with many not even making their fees (myself included).  I actually only sold one tiny fairy for $49.00 and donated another for the same price to the silient auction, so that equals ZERO!  Not to mention my booth fees and gas.  Needless to say, this is one artist who won't be doing that show again.  Two years in a row, of low attendance and sales, makes me look to other venues, as I'm sure some of other artists attending will also. There is some wonderful art at this show, but it appears it is going the way of many of the art shows in this area.

What is the cause....it is hard to say....lack of promotion and advertising, the economy, location???

My next show will be coming up on June 5th.  It is a show I've never done before, so we shall see what happens there.  Stay tuned!  To all you artists and crafters out there....BEST OF LUCK, and may you find a few great shows!


Erica Lea said...

Well, that sucks! I was hoping it would be a big turnout for you. I believe that we visited the Portland version of this show when we lived in Oregon, and it was huge and fancy. Sounds like the organizers on this need to get together and do some better planning and advertising. At least you met some good people, and that glass work is amazing!


Thanks for the comment, Erica. Yes, it seems like more advertising is certainly needed. It used to be at least a $600 to $1,000 show for me at the other location. Sure were a lot of unhappy artists there on Sat. I wish I could have gotten more photos of her glass works. Absolutely stunning in person!

juditsd said...

I like your positive attitude - shows are very slow nowdays - but lets hope for te best !:) Good luck!


Thanks for taking the time to comment, Judit. I always figure each show is a new adventure! Plus, my sister and I always have a great time together.

Debsparkles said...

Oh Donna I am so sorry but I sure know how it feels! Better luck to you in June, at least you can know that the lack of sales was the fault of the show organizers and not your gorgeous work!


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Debbie! I'm sure things can only get better!