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Meg Funk

This was my first year at this show; I was called off the waitlist about a month ahead of time (I'm a jeweler). Aware of all of the great reviews this show has received I was very excited to participate, and was not disappointed! I broke both my one-day and two-day sales records in Madison.

If you sell smaller items, I'd strongly recommend bringing a helper along. The heat was fatiguing, and by midday we were both selling as fast as we could count change. Unfortunately a few customers walked away because we couldn't help them quickly enough!

Parking: I was anxious about finding a good place to store the van - with the top rack it barely clears 8 feet. It wasn't as difficult as expected, I just had to pay attention to the ramp clearances and arrive early. $5 event parking, free street parking Sunday if you're lucky.

People were great, artists were great, I'm only sorry I didn't have time to thoroughly explore the rest of the fair.

liza jane norman

Just came home form this show, my first year, i was wait listed, but drove to Madison in hopes of getting in from a cancellation, A great many of us got booths friday night and a few more Saturday morning, there are something like 400 plus exhibitors, those that i saw were all outstanding! i mean really outstanding, it was a pleasure to show with them...the crowds are out Saturday, even though official opening is 9 AM by 7:30 someone was in my booth saying, I don't know why you aren't ALL set up early, we are here to shop. it was HOT if you have a way to run a fan, do... Loved the exhibitors and the shoppers, I did it alone, even though everyone says bring a helper, easier said than done, I had no trouble on my own...would go back in a heartbeat..

Cassius Callender

Show Name: Madison Art Fair On The Square
City and State: Madison, WI
Your Medium: Photography
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2012
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $10,000+
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 1st time
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 5 (great)
Location: 5 (great)
Facilities: 5 (great)
Ease of Participating: 3
Sales: 5 (great)
Overall: 5 (great)
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Great
Estimated Attendance: Not really sure.

Good Things about this Art Fair: Outstanding crowd that is there to buy and great location.

Bad Things about this Art Fair: Load in can be painful due to the large amount of artist with large vehicles.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show: I followed the rules and didn't show up until 8PM since I had a trailer. Bad move. They were not enforcing their "offload and move your vehicle" rule. People were setting up with the vehicle which made the process longer to get in. My suggestion is to arrive as early as possible.

Is important to remember that the back 2 feet of the tent are setup up on the curb. I built a wooden ramp for customers to walk up to the sidewalk and was able to fully utilize the 10x10 space for display.

Additional Commentary on this Show (or about this form): The Saturday crowd was outstanding. They were shopping before the show had officially started and did not stop until 3pm or so. Smaller crowd on Sunday (to be expected) and higher temperature. Sales were slower, but they were still there.

For more of my commentary on this show please click on my name below to visit my blog on ArtFairInsiders.com.

Penny Dobson

Show Name: Art Fair on the Square
City and State: Madison, Wisconsin
Your Medium: 2D mixed media
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2008
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $10,000+
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 1st time
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 5 (great)
Location: 5 (great)
Facilities: 5 (great)
Ease of Participating: 5 (great)
Sales: 5 (great)
Overall: 5 (great)
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Great
Estimated Attendance: 50,001+ people

Good Things about this Art Fair: It is all good. Great art, Great sales, easy set up/take down. Good food in the area. It is a beautiful area of the country.

Bad Things about this Art Fair: Ok, maybe the fact that the 2 feet of the booth have to be up on the sidewalk in the back of the tent.

Additional Commentary on this Show (or about this form): I would do this show more. I just can't get back in.

Vinnie Sutherland

Show Name: Art Fair on the Square
City and State: Madison, WI
Your Medium: Metal
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2011
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $2001-$5000
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 3-5 times
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 5 (great)
Location: 5 (great)
Facilities: 2
Ease of Participating: 2
Sales: 4
Overall: 3
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Okay
Estimated Attendance: 50,001+ people

Good Things about this Art Fair: Good crowds, knowledgeable patrons. People look forward to this fair and do come out for it. The show is very well organized, it has to be. Great volunteers.

Bad Things about this Art Fair: High stress, very difficult load in and load out. The block captains are very effective in getting vehicles in and out but parking near enough to the fair to be one of the first in line is very, very hard to do. I usually do the show alone-- bring a helper with you if you can.

Booths are set up partly on the street and partly on the curb.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show: Make sure you study the map, find your booth and pay attention to the street that you are supposed to drive in on. The block captains are sticklers for this and they need to be.

Additional Commentary on this Show (or about this form): I was invited back for 2012 and am, as yet, undecided. This show can be great but, as I mentioned earlier, bring help.

For more of my commentary on this show please click on my name below to visit my blog on ArtFairInsiders.com.

Ginny Herzog

Show Name: Art Fair on the Square
City and State: Madison, WI
Your Medium: 2D mixed media
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2011
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $2001-$5000
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 3-5 times
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 4
Location: 4
Facilities: 4
Ease of Participating: 4
Sales: 3
Overall: 4
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Okay
Estimated Attendance: 501-10,000 people

Good Things about this Art Fair: All booth locations are pretty much even with the layout on the city streets surrounding the state capitol. The crowds were good, in spite of the heat.

Load in and out were relatively easy. Sales were slow but not sure if it was the heat, the economy or my price range ($200-$5500).

Bad Things about this Art Fair: Load in line up was confusing. Setting up with your back two legs on the curb can be challenging.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show: Rather that trying to setup at the beginning of the load-in time, wait an hour and it will be easier to get parking near your booth location and not be rushed to unload and move your vehicle.

Additional Commentary on this Show (or about this form): I was invited back and plan to return, hoping that sales will pick up. This was my first time back to this show in nearly 20 years, so I felt that I was pretty much a new exhibitor here. The city has grown and changed a lot since then so I hope that I can grow a market here.

Approved Reviewer; name withheld by request

Show Name: ART FAIR ON THE SQUARE
City and State: Madison, Wisconsin
Your Medium: Photography
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2011
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $10,000+
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 5-10 times
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 5 (great)
Location: 5 (great)
Facilities: 4
Ease of Participating: 3
Sales: 4
Overall: 4
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Great
Estimated Attendance: 50,001+ people

Good Things about this Art Fair:
-always a great crowd, lots of buying energy, especially for smaller items. Large pieces sell too, however.

Bad Things about this Art Fair:
-load-in/set-up is hardest part due to number of people having to set-up in such a small area and beginning in evening.

Ryan Tischer

Show Name: Madison Art Fair on the Square
City and State: Madison, WI
Your Medium: Photography
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2011
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $2001-$5000
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 1st time
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 5 (great)
Location: 5 (great)
Facilities: 4
Ease of Participating: 3
Sales: 4
Overall: 4
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Okay
Estimated Attendance: 50,001+ people

Good Things about this Art Fair:
I've heard almost nothing but good things about this show, so was thrilled to be accepted this year. I decided to go big and sprung for a double booth...to the tune of $928.

Most of the things I'd heard about this show were true, with many educated buyers that don't bicker on price. They start buying by 8am, so be all setup by then.

An hour into the show we'd already sold over $1000, which had me seeing dollar signs for the first time in a long while, but then it got hot out and things slowed down. Saturday was a very good day, but not quite record sales for me.

Bad Things about this Art Fair:
No water is provided for artists and setting up with you back two legs on the curb can be little bit of a hassle. Not many bad things to say.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show:
Sunday was much slower, so no record setting sales for me, but still a healthy profit overall. Would I bother with the extra hassle and expense of a double booth again? Probably, but if I was called off the wait list and could only take a single I would still do it again.

Most everyone I spoke with said the show was down or way down from past years, which seems to be true for many if not most shows so far this year. Still, I was happy with my sales vs. expenses. I still have four or five customers that were looking at big purchases that may call me.

John Garland

Just left Madison. It was relatively great weather. A little warm Sunday. We can't compare crowds from past years since it was our first year.
Saturday sales were good, Sunday was slow until about 3 in the afternoon. Then all he__ broke loose. Sales were much better than Saturday. We sold the upper end of our price range, $500 - $600 pieces. We will go back next year since we got an Invitation Award.

Linda Shields

I worked the show last year with my artist/cousin and have attended it for many years. The weather last year was brutally hot and humid....but the locals were immune as the entire summer had been likewise.

Wise patrons attend early in the mornings because the farmers bring stunning flower bouquets and incredible fruits and veggies for sale. The afternoon sidewalks are jammed with customers. It was highly profitable but fast paced.

This year I applied but was not asked to attend. I am on the wait list which from what I can tell is an iffy proposition. Still, we live close enough to take the drive up.

The Capitol Square, site of the actual booths, is stunning. Midwesterners are a great crowd. Get a hotel early though!

nels johnson

Great show, they come out early and buy all day. Madison is a great town with a lot of youthful energy. Demographics are good, leaning towards people buying art that doesn't necessarily match the sofa.

Nels Johnson

Photography
Haven't done Madison in 12 years, used to do it all the time in the 80's and early 90's. So I was a little apprehensive. Was the show going to be as good as ever, or was the glow going to be off?

I will tell you right up front, Madison is still a killer show for a lot of us. You gotta love the people who attend. They are the most friendly and polite group I see in the biz. Nobody trying to get you down on the price, everybody just loving the good art and craft work being shown. Plus Madison is a great town to drink and eat in.

The show has 450 artists set on both sides of the street that goes around the state capitol in downtown Madison. There is another show one block off the square with about 150 other artists. Show goes 9-6 on Sat. and they are buying at 8am. Sunday, show goes 10-5. For most artists, Sat, sales are a lot bigger than Sunday, when the crowd comes later and the show ends one hour earlier. Even now, in these times, this can be a 5K show and larger for many of us. This was a great show for most artists that I interviewed, and I talked to more than 50 of them. You can't go wrong with Madison.
(Read the rest of this review in the Forum at ArtFairInsiders.com)

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