Thursday, March 11, 2010

What makes an art festival a "Good One"?

A few weekends ago I participated in my first outdoor art festival - The Winter Fine Art Fair at Tioga. I am member of the University of Florida student ceramic group H.O.T (handbuilt or thrown) Clay and the Gainesville Fine Art Association invited us to set up a booth at this year's event. The festival is in its third year, and growing. It rained all day Saturday, but the sun came out for beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Just prior to this, I met someone responsible for organizing a similar event in Ocala, FL. We began discussing festival ideas and planning and it got me thinking.

So, I am asking for advice from artists who have regularly participated in weekend festivals. I will be sharing your comments, so if you prefer, you can email me at

What makes a festival a "good one"?

If it's sales, then how did the organizing committee get the word out to buyers? Or do you believe your sales are independent results and do not coorlate with specific events?

Location? Maybe there really is something about escaping to South Florida in February.

Parking? scheduling? help/assistance? communication? reputation? size? quality of other artists exhibited? what is it?!

And, if any artists reading have participated in the Ocala Art Festival hosted in the fall by Fine Arts For Ocala, I would love to know if you have any specific ideas for improving this event.

I thank everyone in advance for your feedback! I am excited about getting more involved in my local art community and will appreciate any suggestions I can pass along to the committee.



-Rob, Simple Circle Studios said...

Kudos on trying to get more involved in your local art scene. This is an excellent topic for discussion. Having participated in a couple of weekend craft fairs I can say that sales are very important to the success of a fair. If there aren't many sales it usually means that there are not many people. It is unbelievably disheartening for vendors (and organizers too, I would assume) to put all that effort into setting something up, then have no one show. Bearing that in mind, I would say that promotion is probably the most important thing to the success of a fair. If people do not know about it, they can't show up. I'm looking forward to hearing other people's take on the subject. And on a related topic, as an artist how do you find the good fairs and avoid the bad ones?

Meagan Chaney said...

Excellent point Rob! Thanks! I agree that promotion helps get people to the show. And to add to that - it would be helpful to know where your promotion efforts/money are best spent.

Good question about how artists hear about the good shows. I imagine it's mostly word of mouth. But I've also hear of people who do all the shows that are organized by a particular group. Wish I could remember the name. Anyone else know?