The Art Festival Newsletter
November 2018
presented by:

In the September Art Festival Newsletter, I discussed why the words you use matter in making a sale. The next step to having a successful business selling your art is creating the organization that supports follow up with those clients that 1) may have walked away and 2) existing clients that may not have made it to the show. Over the years, as an artist myself, I learned how much time and energy it can take for someone to commit to acquiring your artwork.
I know that every artist's experience in selling their work will be different. As you create your unique selling experience to different collectors and new customers, remember to be flexible, be yourself and try to have some fun in the process.
#1: You need a system for follow-up and tools to implement the system.  Are you still using an Excel sheet to track all of your inventory, sales, and contacts? It may work for some, but if you're looking to take your art business to the next level you'll very likely benefit from inventory software created especially for artists. This software allows you to add detailed contact information, obtain email history and categorize contacts into groups. These tools help you to keep a focus on customer relationship management. And there are a variety options to choose from - click here to find the best software for you.

#2: Timing is everything. People buy when they're ready to buy, not when you're ready to sell. This means you have to be ready to follow up with them in a timely manner. Make sure that your clients know where you are going to be showcasing your art, what is new on your website or social media pages, and how to reach you.
#3: Integrate sales and marketing. Send relevant, valuable information to every prospective client. Keep a record of what they liked and personalize your communication about that particular piece of art after the show. You can do this by sending a note (email) with a photo of the piece that intrigued your prospective client, and the important details like size and materials to keep it fresh. Log all communications between you and the prospective client in an organized fashion (See above for system options). Arm yourself with an arsenal of specific information about your art that you can send on request - photos, size, delivery options, cost. Track the progress of your outreach so that you know when to follow up. Don't be afraid of multiple attempts. I have had clients return 5 years after the initial purchase because I continued to invite them to the events and I gave them visuals of what I was creating.
#4: You must have a living, breathing customer database. If you want the strongest possible customer base, you must actively, systematically, and methodically build your customer base. I personally have found that postcards still work to bring my clients to an art show. I change the image every season and when possible write a small note to personally invite my clients to the event. I recommend getting all the information possible - street address, email and phone number. All your contact information needs to be entered and stored in the database (again, see above).
#5: Keep it Current. Your follow-ups must have value, or you'll wear out your welcome fast. Educating your patrons on your process, progress and what motivates your art is the keystone to creating patrons vs. clients. As Jason Horejs has succinctly stated " While it is true that your chances of making a sale to someone who has walked away may decrease dramatically, they don't decrease to zero, and so follow-up becomes a numbers game."

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Application Closes: 11/26/18

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Application Closes: 12/6/18

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Application Closes: 1/15/19

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Application Closes: 12/19/18

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Art and Home Decor Trends for 2019
Robin Markowitz

To create this list I have researched the trends discussed in home design, fashion and art. Wishing everyone a year filled with creativity and inspiration.

1.  Fringing is the retro look that's back with a bang.The 2018 fall fashion shows were awash with fabulous tassel designs. This trend has extended to home goods and wall art.

2. Wabi Sabi  - rustic natural imperfection. 2019  turns its attention to the Japanese philosophy, Wabi Sabi. The philosophy celebrates the beauty of imperfections in natural materials like wood, paper and metal. Ceramics, asymmetrical florals and textures that imitate natural materials in hand-crafted frames.

3. Curves and Waves. C urved or wavy design with ocean-inspired colors are at the top of the Pinterest boards now.
4. The Female Voice - inspiring female imagery.  2018 was the year of the silence breakers. Women around the world spoke up about their rights. The trend spotlights inspiring, sensual and strong women, both the artists and the subjects.

5. Home - 2018 was all about bringing an edgier palette into the home, with bold reds, modern metallics, and variations of the statement black accent wall. 2019 is taking a more mindful, lifestyle-based approach to the development of new shades. Many paint brands have already released their colors of the year, including  Benjamin MoorePPG Paints, and  Sherwin Williams, from powerful aquas to soft terracottas. Companies are connecting the dots between consumers' home lives, mental demands, and digital engagement, which inspired many of the color picks.  Texture is key to accent these walls, 

Street Art by Hush
Urban Culture - Design meets GraffitiGraphic design and graffiti art are big this year. Expect to see inverted silhouettes, street style and geometric repeat patterns. 

7.  Hyperrealistic Murals.  Large scale wall format that is super saturated with color and texture. Advances in large scale printing have created unlimited opportunities to explore.
This Issue's Quote: "I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way--things I had no words for." Georgia O'Keeffe 
SPOTLIGHT ON SHOW:  Rose Squared Productions

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Janet and Howard Rose of Rose Squared Productions , Rose Squared produces four fine art / fine craft festivals each year in Central New Jersey. 

Howard & Janet Rose
Please talk about the philosophy of Rose Squared Productions:  
As clay artists, participating in crafts shows in the Northeast in the late 70s and early 80s, we knew what we wanted in a successful show. We consciously chose to create an exhibitor friendly, supportive atmosphere with the exhibitor as our first responsibility.

For Rose Squared, this meant it was our responsibility to address every possible way to insure the success of the artists and craft artisans putting their trust in us by participating in a show. Our philosophy, in business, in teaching, and in life, has always been to treat others the way in which we wish to be treated.

In terms of curation, how do your shows differ from
other art festivals?  We are very cognizant of not over subscribing in any one category for our shows. We cap the number of participating jewelers at no more than 20% of a show's total number of exhibitors. Similarly, "filling" the show is not our mission but creating a balanced and fair playing field for the success of all the participating exhibitors is paramount. 

We are proud of our 36 years of creating a stress free atmosphere by being intensely organized and by planning for all possible weather scenarios. We have always seen the success and safety of the exhibitor as our responsibility and have acted accordingly. 

We visit other promoters' shows to disseminate to our exhibitors publicity postcards for future show Rose Squared shows in which they are participating and to see first-hand the work and booths of potential exhibitors. 

What advice would you give to an artist aspiring to exhibit at one of your shows? For those who consider applying to our events, we would emphasize that in addition to the quality of work in comparison to other applicants, the booth is of paramount importance. As clay artists, we went through three booths before we worked out what would be a clean looking and classy presentation showing off our work in the best way possible. 

We nurture potential artists and artisans who apply by offering constructive suggestions about how to create the best display possible and use of all the space contracted for. Often, a potential exhibitor will rework the booth and reapply. 

When you look at the next decade - what do you see for this industry?  We see the future and well being of fine art and fine crafts shows to be our hands, and the hands of other show directors and promoters, by giving the public the experience of being able to interact directly with the creators and by being diligent in the jurying process to keep out buy/sell and imports.

We are seeing younger exhibitors applying and know that nurturing them is clearly looking toward the future.  With today's internet focused culture, exhibitors should think about why people go to fine art/fine craft shows. We emphasize to our exhibitors that they are the hook to get people to look up from their screens. Personal contact with the artisans in a beautiful setting can not be duplicated in a device in one's hand. Our message to the public encourage them to interact with the exhibitors: learn about the processes, the thought behind the creations, make special requests, etc.

A handmade piece of jewelry, clothing, furniture, fine art or photograph bought directly from an exhibitor is a wonderful experience. When one looks at purchased piece, it often brings to mind the artisan and the event. That creates an extra dimension to that piece.

This is the reason shows will continue to be a successful selling venue for the artist and craftsperson in the future. Shows must highlight the personal over the sterile buying experience of internet purchases. 

Jury Process for An Occasion for the Arts,  Williamsburg, VA.  Leo Charette, Executive Director
Artists Selection for An Occasion for the Arts 
(two jury panels, one 2D and one 3D)
Leo Charette_ Executive Director
In the past, we used an onsite jury panel of 5, meeting for one day in Williamsburg to review and score applications. Zapplication is our application management system. The problem with the onsite jury approach is it relies on jurors who live nearby. If we want to change our jurors each year (believing this is the fairest approach for artists), we would soon exhaust our resource of local jurors. I began considering other approaches.
One of the benefits of using the Zapp system is that artists' applications can be accessed remotely from anywhere with an Internet connection. This year we embraced the Zapp technology and instead of an onsite jury approach, we used a computer monitor approach to jury artists. Jurors accessed artists' applications from their home locations.  They jury through the Zapp system.
After a review of best practices from other shows,  I was intrigued by the  La Quinta Arts Festival (CA) approach to jury applicants. They use multiple jury panels, a panel for each of their 12 artistic categories. Their process was much grander than our need but I liked the multiple panel system. In the end, it was decided on a two-panel system, similar to the approach used by Boston Mills in OH.  Our Jury consists of eight members (4 jurors reviewing 2D art categories and 4 jurors reviewing 3D art categories).
Each jury panel included a combination of art professionals (museum curators, gallery owners) and peer artists (award winners from AOFTA and artists highly respected by their peers who may not have participated in AOFTA).  A benefit of jurying online is that each juror is able to review applications multiple times and can spend several days evaluating the categories of art they have been assigned.  Applicants remain anonymous during the jury process. Artwork, booth image and submitted artist statement are all that is considered by the juries.
Applications will receive 1-7 points per juror (#4 omitted) resulting in a score that could range between 4 - 28 points. Applications are scored on these criteria:       
  • Creativity, original thought and intent, going beyond the expected, the unusual
  • Identity of design, consistency of style and professional presentation
  • Strong overall concepts
  • Excellence in artistic craftsmanship 
Once scoring is complete, we start with the highest jury scores. A few other criteria are applied to balance the show:  
  • No art category should be greater than 20% of the show
  • There should be a mix between new and returning artists. We hope approximately 2/3 returning and 1/3 new but this is not firm.
  • The show should include local artists who live within a 25-mile radius of Williamsburg. We attempt to have between 10% and 15% of the show comprised of local artists.
The final step, and probably most difficult and time consuming, is to vet questionable artists, insuring that "pretenders" do not get into the show and thereby take a spot from a true artist. Pretenders would include:
  • Those who buy work elsewhere and resell, pretending it is their own
  • A sales representative from large organizations. The work may be fantastic, but the individual at the show is pretending to have made it. 
The number of 'pretend artists' applying to shows each year is growing. Last year eight applications were disqualified from my applicant pool after spending time researching. Many artists believe this should happen in during the jury process, but given the number of applications and time allotted, it is not feasible for jurors to adequately vet artists. Jurors, particularly artist jurors, do flag some applications in their comments, but this is the duty of the Artistic Director and much easier to remove offenders at the selection process then at the show.
When all is done, the artist selection takes about a month to complete.

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Let us know what topics interest you and Art-Linx will work to include them in the next Art Festival Newsletter - Published  January 16, 2019

Contact Robin Markowitz 

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