Artscape 2016 in Baltimore was the most challenging show I have ever done. The things I take for granted were roadblocks this weekend. However I was able to overcome those and make this my HIGHEST GROSSING SHOW to date!
One of the challenges was PARKING. It is tough to park a truck and a trailer in a big city when the hotel has no parking available. So I had to pay $15 each time I needed to park. Not per day, but each time I move my vehicle and trailer. The required a lot of cash and planning. I even walked a mile to the show one day to save on expenses and hassle. Also I could not run errands to resupply like I usually do. I could not just ‘run down to the store’ like I can in most shows.
Another challenge was that the Show Manager nor staff was not around. I had no contact with them all weekend. This absence made the load-in and load-out kind of a ‘Wild West’ where you had to fend for yourself. Luckily I met some other artist friends who gave me some great advice about this show, that helped immensely. The show hours were also challenging. Most shows I got to are 9AM – 5PM, 10A-6pm, or 9am-6pm. This weekend was 11AM-9PM. There were still TONS of people out after 9 so most days I did not close until 9:30 or 9:45. Those 11 hour days wiped me out. I went to bed exhausted, without dinner, both Friday and Saturday night.
Having said all that, IT WAS STILL A GREAT SHOW!
Friday was discouraging, out 3 sales for 11 hours.
Saturday blew away ALL EXPECTATIONS> all the people who said they ‘would come back Saturday’ actually DID come back. They bought, bought, and bought some more. We also talked a lot. I just now regained my voice. I met and talked to so many great people. Even 1 hour of rain in the evening could not dampen my spirits! So much fun!
Sunday afternoon picked up where Saturday left off. I SOLD EVERY METAL PRINT I OWN! It was amazing.
The show seemed well advertised and well attended. They claim to attract 350,000. That may have been, but hard to say as it was the biggest show to date for me and I have no basis for comparison. Load-out was a breeze with nobody nagging me to hurry up. My display is time consuming and it takes 4 m/h to setup and tear-down.
So it would seem like a natural that I would do this show next year, right? I do have some hesitation brought on by the expenses. This was an expensive show to do, with one of the highest booth fees I have ever incurred ($750) for a 10x10. That plus the parking and hotel costs give me pause. If I could get that hotel bill down that I would go again in 2017 in a heartbeat!
Maybe I should start looking online for a hotel now for next year?