Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rule # 1

Never do a show in a gymnasium.

This falls under the category of lessons learned. Rule #1 is never do a show in a gymnasium. This is the second time I've done a show where my booth was in a gym. I'm trying to find the humor in all of what happened this weekend and as I looked at the limited number of pictures we took, this one of the basketball hoop jumped out at me. Earlier I published our show check list of things we need to take with us. Now I feel like I should publish our list of what to look for when doing a show. The first item again, just to be clear, is never do a show in a gymnasium.

Here I am on Saturday morning, filled with optimism of the things to come.

Our Booth

Rule #2, when you have a 6' x 8' space, it's probably not the best idea to have two artists and mediums in tight quarters. We tried our best to economize on our displays. As you can tell, it may still have been too much in a small area.

There's that basketball hoop again!

Other artists had nice arrangements as this picture shows another fused glass artist (on the right side of the photo) is adding the finishing touches to her area. She had ProPanels and only set up 2 walls. On a corner, this allowed a nice open area and her set up looked great. Loved her work too.
Where are all the people?

As this picture and the next one shows, traffic was....light.

The weather on Saturday was a factor. It was rainy and windy. The people who did venture in, appeared to be scanning, but not really interested in buying. Could be that whole, it's just after April 15, tax money to spend.

We met a delightful lady who had her PHD in Literature and she was witty, charming, and a ray of sunshine. She was the neighbor of the glass artist I met across the aisle from us. Another pleasant surprise was an online friend, Sandy Cahill Johnson, has a friend in the area who stopped by and introduced herself. I certainly enjoyed that.

Sales however were almost non-existent for everyone and the day felt like a really slow Sunday.

Unfortunately we had a personal situation come up at the end of the day that didn't allow us to participate again on Sunday, so things may have improved as the weather was better.

As with everything we do, we learn from the experience. I think both Dan & I will plan to do more exhibitions rather than shows where we need to man a booth. Rule #3, do more exhibitions. And while doing a show together was nice, the size of our booth was really too small to adequately display our work. So if we do another show together, we will opt for a larger space. Rule #4, 2 artists + 2 mediums = larger booth area.

We came away from this experience thinking that we need to preview a show venue to avoid the gym situation. Rule #5, preview the show venue when possible.

Group shows are fun to do and meet fellow artists in the guild. I had a great time interacting with the artists close to our booth. For the future, I think my preference will be to stick with juried shows where there is exhibition space used all the time. Rule #6, apply for juried shows.

That pretty much sums it up. I know a lot of you were interested in seeing pictures and I hope you appreciate my tongue in cheek humor and the Rules we came up for our next show. Feel free to add, suggest or derive your own set of rules for approaching shows....I would enjoy hearing your take on this or sharing your experiences.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.


Susanne said...

It's so dissapointing Kathleen when you go to all the trouble to set up a booth and do a show if no one comes. I agree that one of the most important things to do is to preview the show or get very good info from other artists who have done it on a previous year. I did one show in a gymnasium at a very affluent school in Atlanta. It was very well organized, and attendance was pretty good. I think in a good economis year it would be a great show due to the strong support of the parents and community. A great site for info on shows is: The discussion pages are full of good info.

Deborah Younglao, Silk Painter said...

I'm so sorry you had a lousy show Kathleen! I can relate - I've done many of those gymnasium-type shows (but didn't learn my lesson and still went back)! I hate those tiny booths where they just try to squeeze in as many artists as possible to increase their take of booth fees. 8 x 10 should be the minimum, even for 1 medium.

Rule #7: Don't do shows that include animals in their names like 'Mule Days', 'Rattlesnake Roundup', 'Pig Pickin', 'Possom Hollow'!

I hope you and Dan are OK?

Kathleen Krucoff said...

Hi Susanne,

Thanks for your insights and thanks too for the link. I will check that site and the discussions.

Hi Deborah,

Yes, Dan & I are fine, thank you...another matter required our attention...all is fine now.

I absolutely LOVE your Rule #7....that is great advice. That made me laugh at the names. Thanks!

Robin said...

One of my rules is to always plan a way to enjoy my show so it doesn't feel like work. I usually try to find artists to barter with so at least I walk away from the show with someone else's art. I also do the networking thing and meet new artists, and I try to develop a mindset that tells myself it's a bonus when I actually make money above and beyond my show expenses! Hopefully your next show will be better now that you have established your "rules".

Kathleen Krucoff said...

Thanks Robin! Great advice. I was able to network with a few of the artists and we had some entertaining Q & A times about "Have you been asked this?" or other topics. One of our booth neighbors was a scratch board artist who was at the Lines Into Shapes show we did last year. Her work is phenomenal. This time I didn't try to barter for an exchange of work though....maybe another show. Thanks for sharing your insights.

-Don said...

So, how do you feel about shows in gymnasiums? Just wondering... ;-)

I'm glad you and Dan are OK. I'm really sorry the weekend turned out to be a bust. Hopefully, the contacts you made will be ones that grow into valuable resources. Suddenly I'm humming Monty Python's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"...


Kathleen Krucoff said...

Hi Don,

Gymnasiums....hmmmm where do I begin!

Thanks for your humor and support Don. I love Monty Python and that song is one of my favorites.

Just movin' on and learning from the experience.

Karen said...

Duly noted!!
Last year I did a show in a nursery that sounds pretty similar to this too, I should have previewed it.
We will be here to remind you should you ever mention a gym again!

Kathleen Krucoff said...

Thanks Karen! I think we all have had 'our show moments'. I'm looking forward to my next group exhibition at a local gallery....that will be fun!