[Clayart] Art Fairs

Deborah Thuman debthuman at zianet.com
Fri Jul 28 12:51:22 EDT 2017

There’s an annual Renaissance Faire where I live. I got juried in once, Jim got juried in three times. We don’t bother any more. By the time we pay for the cost to enter, the cost of the booth (and sharing a booth is a higher price than having one person in a booth), pay for the mandatory insurance, buy fabric and make the mandatory costumes, donate a piece of art for the silent auction - also mandatory, we have to sell at least $1000 before we break even. And our costs are lower than most of the vendors. We live here so there’s no travel, lodging or meals to pay for. Just lunch each of the two days. Meanwhile, the Faire charges $8 a person to get in, charges for parking, and by the time the parents buy each kid a turkey leg, there’s no money left to pay for art. 

We haven’t even gone to the Faire in several years. $16 buys us a whole lot of entertainment - lunch at the University Golf Course, lunch special at Olive Garden, almost enough for two senior tickets to a movie, 12 pounds of clay, a pint of fancy glaze, 2-3 sketchbooks, a filter for the camera, a battery for the camera, 1-3 books from the remainder table at Barnes & Nobel, fresh vegetables from the Farmers & Craft Market, a decent chunk of meat for a pot roast, a quail block, a 50# bag of bird seed……. 

I realize the Arts Council - which is who puts on the Renaissance Faire - has expenses to cover and the proceeds fund arts programs in the local public schools, but this kind of green is going to kill the Faire. If there are no vendors, there’s no reason for people to come to the Faire. If the artists can’t make a reasonable profit, there’s no reason for an artist to sell at the Faire. The rationale is that Renaissance Faires around the US charge more for admission and for vendor space. Big deal. This isn’t the rest of the US. This is Las Cruces, NM, a poor part of a poor state. If I can’t make a profit, I’m not going to be a vendor. 

Deb Thuman
debthuman at zianet.com

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. 
Scott Adams

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