Tuesday, March 11, 2008

1 down, 25+ to go

I returned home from my first art festival of the year late Sunday night tired, satisfied and somewhat encouraged over customers interest in art for 2008.

What I mean by that statement is that for the past few months I’ve been reading about this down turn in our economy and have been in contact with many of my artist co-hearts who have expressed their concerns over what these bad economic times are going to do to our art sales.

It is true that when times get tough art purchases seem to get put on the back burner. Combine that with 2008 being an election year and you have two legs of a doomsday trivecta. (write me and I privately tell you what the 3rd leg is if you need to know) Although my sales for this latest show were off about 10% from the same spring show in 2007, I felt pretty good about that. I heard other artists complain about being off 50% and some, even more, so all in all, I feel I did pretty well.

I asked the promoters about attendances figures and got the canned company line “we are right on track to meet last years numbers.” Bull. I realized that they need to keep financial and attendance figures confidential but even rookie in this business could tell that there just weren’t enough customers to make for a successful show for 300 plus artists. Not a very good sign for the 2008 season.

The one thing I need to report though is that this show is made up of primarily “Country Crafters.” I was one of maybe 25 artists selling wall art. I know this next statement is a generalization but the type of customers that purchase “Country craft” type items are more likely NOT customers who came to by a fine art wall piece. There is a slight cross over of these buyers but typically someone who attends this show looking for a dried flower arrangement or cute toys for their grand kids are not my customers.

The majority of buyers who attend predominantly heavy “craft” shows tend to be middle or lower income households. Although everyone should be concerned, these income levels are impacted greatly by the skyrocketing price of fuel to run their vehicles on. Regular gas in Spokane Washington is $3.39 a gallon with diesel hitting $4.00. People have to think about filling their tank up in order to make it to work on Monday so frivolous spending is usually out for these folks. Based on this type of show and crowd, I feel fortunate to have had as good as sales as I did.

All but 3 or 4 of the shows I book yearly are “fine art festivals.” These shows draw a much more affluent crowd which typically has more disposable income in which to buy art with so I’m hopeful that the bulk of my shows are up over 2007.

The next set of shows I do are in the great state of Arizona. One is in Tempe and the other in Tucson. I’ll post links to their website in the next day or two.

Warm and dry weather, here I come.

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