Thursday, June 30, 2011

Art Sales Dead

I wish I could tell you I made a lot of money on the sidewalk show last weekend. Unfortunately my sale on this show was the worst in a recent year. This was my first time showing in this festival even though this annual sidewalk fair has been around for more than three decades.

This fair took place for the exhausting three days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Friday street was dead, except for the locals who came to take care of their errands or people who work in the offices and stores. On Saturday, I saw even less people.

Then Sunday came. Coincidentally the weekly Sunday farmers' market took place in front of our sidewalk show just because the farmers' market takes place every Sunday in that spot. That brought more people, and that was the only time I was selling small reproductions. It was farmers' market traffic, not the art show traffic. This festival has been around in the past three decades, and it is known to attract a lot of people, but this year that was not the case.

Economy has gotten this bad. Artists and craft persons can no longer count on sales from art fairs and festivals no matter how skilled we are, no matter how beautiful art is. This is what I call Five-Dollar Economy. Anything above $5 is too expensive. In this Five-Dollar Economy, I was still selling those Mini Notecard with Envelope even on Friday and Saturday even though nearly no one was there. The current price for the notecard is $3.

On a brighter note, people were extremely nice. I made new friends while I was there. And people who hosted and managed the event were nice. Weather was extremely nice. And I set up my booth on a slope for the first time, and it wasn't as difficult as I anticipated. That was all thanks to a friend of mine who fabricated the support bars that get attached the partitions to hold them together. You can see in the photo below where the gray panels are connected together with long bars over the panels. This type of hardware is essential in setting up display on a slope to stabilize the display panels. I could never afford it, but fortunately this friend bartered with an original collage work of mine. Bartering is a way to go in this economy.

My booth looked better than ever. But the beautiful art in a good display means nothing if I spend days on the street and make no sales. I actually do better in farmers' markets. I plan to be at more markets than before. If you are local, check my calendar. Occasionally I cancel the market, so visit my calendar right before visiting the market. If the event is still listed one day before the event, that means I'll be there.