October has been a busy month for me. I had another outdoor show as you may know called the DHP Artisan Market. I finished up fall art classes for my homeschool students, carved pumpkins with friends, made caramel puffed corn (to die for!), spent the day in amish country with a friend, went on a cave tour, saw over 5,000 carved pumpkins in Louisville and then there was Halloween. For today though, I’m going to focus on my fall Artisan Market review and notes.
DHP Artisan Market review
The morning of the show, I got up and was a little worried how chilly it was going to be. You could see your breath even by the time I got out to my loaded van.
So, I drove the 45 minutes to get to Henderson, Kentucky and made my way to the riverfront to Audubon Mill Park. I was surprised to see very few vendors there yet, I’m usually one of the last to arrive. The sun was shining and warming us up and it was beautiful.
You really can’t ask for a prettier setting for an outdoor art show than Audubon Mill Park at the riverfront. You’ve got a view of the river, the cool looking railroad bridge and large colorful trees, clean inside restrooms and ample parking… it was really nice.
When I arrived, there was no plan for the booth layout set up. Everyone was just picking spots in a large park willy-nilly. I was told to set up anywhere. There was no flow to the show which can make buyers have to walk every which way in order to see all the booths. Oh no… First strike.
I had paid for electric, but besides there being a pole at each end of the park, it was not easily accessible. So I had to set up close to the pole. Also, there were no extension cords unless you brought one. Second strike. Luckily, that is where my friend and fellow artist Rebecca Goodman was set up. So it wasn’t that bad. But I do rather like a plan and all the other shows I’ve attended had plans for the electric.
My fellow artists and I get our goods all out and displayed nicely for the soon to be arriving crowd (we opened at 10 am). And that’s where another negative hits only this time it’s HUGE. There never was a crowd. Why do you think there wasn’t a crowd? I’ll tell you, because there was no advertising. It’s as simple as that. This is why I’m doing an artisan market review. To help the show promoters and potential vendors see the good and bad of their shows.
(Speaking of reviews, I have more just click here or type in review in the blog search bar.)
I asked the show director if she knew of how they advertised the show and sadly I found out they had only relied on their Facebook page to announce it. I checked their site and there wasn’t much about it and I didn’t see any paid ads for it on Facebook. No advertising is a huge downfall in my book. It also can be the demise of any event. When you find out there isn’t any advertising, you gotta wonder where your booth money went.
As we were awaiting customers, there was a running/walk for the cure (diabetes) that came through. That was probably the most people to even go through the park that day other than the other vendors. I noticed some of the runners/walkers came back to see what we were all doing. No one that I asked knew there was going to be an art show here that day. So for attendance and advertising, this particular show unfortunately gets a big fat F.
To give the show some credit though, there was music piped in early and then around 11:30ish we had live music for a short time. That’s always a plus – you gotta keep the vibe fun. The show director did good on the music. To be fair, the show director had been out of town the week prior the show. However, the marketing should have been lined up months ago. The director is very nice and was accessible the entire time, I’m hoping it was all just out of her control for the advertising part. I’d really like to see this show succeed – with me in it!
Wa wa waaaa…
The sun was out all day and it really was a pleasant day. My review has given this show a lot of negative flack but all in all I did pretty good considering the extremely low attendance. 4 original paintings and various prints were sold. I had sent out invitations to my local collectors who are on my newsletter and that paid off. As most art shows, the people you meet are great and the people of Henderson are no different. A bunch of interesting, friendly, art loving folks.
As I spoke with others about the show, I learned that the previous year it had been terribly cold that day. Also that there had been about double the vendors. We only had about 20 vendors this fall. I guess that tells you something, when the vendors don’t come back it’s because it’s not a good show.
I hope the DHP (Downtown Henderson Partnership) does their own artisan market review of the show themselves and sees that it is losing vendors and probably shoppers. Hopefully, they will free up some advertising dollars because with the right marketing this could really be a heck of a show given the beautiful location although I think the weather will always be a crap shoot. An earlier October date would be ideal.
One of these days, I’m going to rig up a number system to rate the shows I attend. Until then, I hope you enjoyed my DHP Artisan Market review.
Happy Día de Muertos! (Day of the Dead)