Art Show Post-Mortem
I’m mostly recovered from the Paradise City Arts Festival show this weekend. As I’ve done in the past, I wanted to share my impressions with you.
First, thanks for all of your well-wishes for a good show. Your encouragement is always appreciated. And there is good news: attendance was up this past weekend as compared to the May show. Saturday and Sunday seemed much busier. Monday, however, seemed slower than in previous years. I guess two busy days plus one less busy day balances out.
Yes, people are buying. I observed more people paying with credit cards versus cash or check during this show. (In the spring the trend was the opposite.) However, I believe the recovery will be slow and gradual. Many people looked at my work, took a business card, and moved on. Sometimes all the talking in the world doesn’t result in a sale.
So I did something different this weekend. I listened. Really listened to what people were saying about my work. I asked them what drew them to my work. If they bought a piece, I asked them what they liked about it. It was an opportunity to learn about how my work impresses people. I know people like my work but I never delved deeper into why.
And what did people say? That my work “has a calming influence.” That my work is “very serene but there is laughter in there too” and that my work “has a healing quality.” Wow. I was honored to hear these statements. My plan is to use these comments for marketing my art work.
I also upgraded my booth design for this show. In the past, I rented pipe and drape (either black, white, or gray) and used height adjustable tables, a pedestal, and a bar stand for my display surfaces. Here are some before pictures from earlier shows.
The old design tended to be a little cluttered and caused people to look down at my work instead of looking up even with pedestals at various heights on the table.
This year, I rented a pop-up wall display from Skyline Boston. These are the trade-show wall displays you may have seen at conventions. They are slightly curved with a heavy fabric wall covering. The rental package included shelves and lights. The cases which hold all the components converts into a desk/pedestal. Here is how my booth looked for this past weekend’s show.
The new display definitely made a difference. It allowed me to have most of my work at eye level. At eye level, people could see more detail and get close to my pieces. It also looked less cluttered. Less clutter means people have someplace to fix their gaze. The other thing I liked about this booth wall was the way it directed people into my booth. The slight curve in the wall allowed people to walk toward the center of my booth, turn to their right to see what I had on the center pedestal, and then follow the flow out of the booth.
This show was an improvement over the May show. Attendance was up, people were paying with credit cards again, and my revenue was up. However, renting the pop-up wall did increase my expenses. I did cover the cost of the rental but did not cover all my costs. I think it may be some time before that happens. I have decided not to do the spring 2010 show partly due to the expense but primarily because I decided a few months ago to take a break from retail shows. My goals for 2010 are to focus on making my art, working on new sculptures, getting my fine art work into more galleries, and to start teaching and coaching.
As part of my healing for my herniated discs, I had a physical therapy evaluation on Wednesday. The plan is to have therapy 2x/week for strengthening. My first assignment is to do “press-ups” 10x every 2 hours. Press-ups are like cobra pose in yoga. I’m also tracking any pain I have during these exercises and at other times during the day. Next week I visit the neurosurgeon.
Standing at Water’s Edge
I’m a bit behind in my own reading of this book. I started Chapter 2 before heading off to Paradise City but did not take the book with me. I started reading again yesterday and will post the Chapter 2 a-ha’s and summary in a few days.