The show itself was of great quality and professionally organized (by Paragon Art Festivals, which is the same group that ran the Downtown Silver Spring Art Festival that I enjoyed so much this past spring). My sales were only so-so, but that can partially be explained by the dismal weather that blew in on Saturday afternoon, then froze our fingers off on Sunday. The rest can be explained by my lack of a customer base there. I saw only two people who I recognized from my mailing list. Whereas at the Silver Spring and Columbia shows, which were also new for me this year, I saw lots of "The Good Herd" because that's where they all live.
The artist next to me, whose work was brilliant, had a very good show. And his price points were such that selling a few pieces are all he needs. I mention that just to point out that he did well on merit, and by knowing the value of his work, and not by underselling or doing anything cheesy. He said his sales were down from last year, probably due to the weather, but still he was happy. All but one of his sales were made to folks from his mailing list. And that's the important point to remember. He lives in Vermont, but has a daughter in Northern Virginia and has done many shows in this region, and therefore he has a base of fans there.
So now I have to decide ... do I want to make the effort to build up a mailing list in Virginia? Knowing that I'll have to get through some more so-so shows in order to accomplish that? I'm inclined to say yes, it would be worth it.
But not in Fairfax. Again, I think the show has good potential for sales and I enjoyed its location (Fairfax Corner). But commuting to and from the show from Maryland was really annoying. It didn't matter the day or time, I-66 was backed up. Personally I think this is one of the most wasteful and brain-cell-killing ways to spend one's time, stuck in traffic. And the clutch pedal on my old Subaru can't handle it. So yes I would like to do more shows in Virginia, as long as I can avoid I-66. (If anyone can explain why the right-most lane is off limits except during rush hour, when the remaining lanes are not adequate for the non-rush hours, and causing all the merging traffic at the interchanges to merge twice, I would like to hear it.) Paragon also has a new show in Leesburg, and there are long-established and high-quality shows in Alexandria and Reston too. None of these would involve getting on I-66. Or I-95 southbound, I hate that road too. As you might know by now, I consider lots of criteria before applying to any show. And now when a show is in Virginia, I will also consider the "commuting hassle" factor.
Just as a side note ... this October is packed with work, two art festivals, three wholesale deadlines, and a wood-firing. But it's really hard to concentrate on work when the Orioles are in the playoffs! To the Orioles ... you have had loyal fans all along, and we are on cloud nine. Let's go Os!!