Today, I’m giving my Artisans Market review that is held in New Harmony Indiana each first weekend in December.
This show is usually a great show for me, one of my best in fact for the year. It’s held upstairs in the Rapp-Owen Granary.
One of the nice things about this show from an artists point of view is the early set up on Friday night before the show which is held Saturday and Sunday. Most of us are located upstairs, so that’s not great but there is an elevator and it gets a lot of use.
During the show, they have sandwiches, drinks and desserts downstairs for sale for both the public and the artisans. That’s always nice to have something close to eat when you’re at a show all day. Also, bathrooms are on site and kept up very well.
The Artisans Market is held in this beautiful old restored historic building. There is a family that has a booth there and also entertains us with their live music.
There are usually a person or two offering to help unload your stuff. The artists are always top notch and usually friendly.
Some years the marketing for the show is better than others.
Some years the marketing for the show is better than others and this was a particularly bad year.
The Granary is not anywhere close to all the action going on in the town of New Harmony that weekend. This has long been a problem. A parade that draws a lot of people doesn’t even go down Granary St.
The map I made a few years ago below shows just how far away we are from the main action which is mostly in the Ribeyre Gym and on the streets of Main and Church.
There used to be a large “sandwich” type board out on the corner of Granary St. and Main but I heard from someone this year that they were stored in someone’s garage or basement and they had threw them out!
So all we had was a very small real estate style sign out at that corner which really was not visible unless you are driving by it on purpose. Marketing was pretty much non-existent. They want the artists to market it on Facebook.
Anytime I have a show, of course I share it with all my collectors and friends. But I expect a show promoter to promote the show. I didn’t hear any commercials for it at all. They hired a marketer I heard, but I guess they didn’t do a very good job since I didn’t see or hear any of the promotions.
We were asked to send a few photos of our art along with our artist bio to the marketing people. My thinking was this would be shared and used for the marketing. Hah… nope. Never saw it once and I really searched for it.
Many of the artists said they never heard any promotion for it either. This show is part of the New Harmony Business Association. I feel they only promote the actual businesses and not the Artisans Market. We pay a lot for a booth so I feel this is pretty unfair.
What does all this complaining about the lack of promotion this year mean? Well, most people don’t know the Artisans Market is even going on! That means bad sales for a lot of us. And that’s what I heard from a lot of my fellow artists.
Of course at every show you’ll have differing opinions and outcomes. Jewelry for some reason is usually a crowd-pleaser, however a friend of mine who makes jewelry and has been to the show for years had a terrible show this year. She even had a piece stolen. How sad.
Being an artist is not exactly a lucrative business. To have something stolen on top of a bad show is heartbreaking.
I think the show can be run much better. Two of the main people who usually run this show are no longer doing it and perhaps that is partly to blame. I hate to see them go, Chris and Paula were always so friendly and helpful. Things usually ran pretty smoothly with them.
The crowds were just not there this year. People walk around and then see their friends and stand in front of your entrance blocking it. It becomes social time. I know people do not realize this is essentially our storefront, but there are a lot it seems that just don’t care.
This is nothing new for the art show business. It’s just another inconvenience. So if you’re thinking of doing the Artisans Market during Christmas in New Harmony I’m not trying to discourage you, there aren’t a lot of decent shows out there these days.
Some years will be better than others. Just know you will need to do your own marketing to your list to get your buyers there. It’s still a fun event with great artists and one I’ll probably do again.
Now to share my photos of my booth from this year’s Artisans Market. I actually had a primo spot because my friend Tom who makes pottery wasn’t at the show this year. I was in the corner and that somehow gave me more room – I’m not complaining… it was awesome!
When you walked into my booth, the photo below shows what you saw to the right.
I took this photo from the back of my booth looking towards my entrance (on the left).
Artwork in my booth including my paintings and painted masks.
A close up of my booth and table. I’ve got a few Terra-cotta pots on the shelf along with small paintings and art blocks.
I took a photo of my booth neighbor, potter and jewelry maker Rosemary Chamberlain. She had beautiful work and I really enjoyed talking with her the entire weekend. She’s from Tennyson, Indiana and was an art teacher for 35 years.
Here’s my friend Vicki Wilson. She has the cutest booth and has worked hard at it. She paints as well, but her style is farmhouse rustic I’d say. She is super nice and we actually met a few years ago at Christmas in New Harmony. We hit it off and have been friends ever since.
At most of these shows I meet at least one or two artists that I really click with and become friends with. That is definitely one of the best things about the show circuit. That and meeting new art collectors!
Let me ask you a question. When you attend something like this Artisan Market or any fine arts and craft show… do you go with the intention of buying artwork? Just curious, I’ve always got my ear open to comments and suggestions.
Learn more about me on the ‘About’ page in the menu at the top. I’m an artist – a painter mostly and an avid gardener. I paint a variety of subjects including birds, koi fish, my gardens, ponds and flowers as well as anything having to do with nature especially trees and tropical scenes. I also enjoy painting abstracts and have started created more and more of them. My most favorite thing to try to achieve in my painting is is mystery.
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