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Marge Luttrell

Medium: 2D mixed media
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show:
2016
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: Rather not say
Price Range of your Work: $35 to $3000.
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show:
2-3 times
Number of Years You have been doing Art Fairs overall: 5-10 years
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 5
Location: 5
Facilities: 5
Ease of Participating: 4
Sales: 5
Overall: 5
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Great
Estimated Attendance: 50,001+ people

Good Things about this Art Fair:
Old Town: There is a reason it's #1...
This past weekend I was at Old Town, this year's AFI listed #1 show. I was a bit skeptical since I was there last year and just did ok, no great shakes. Not that it was bad, but sometimes when you do a show for the first time the payback isn't as good as your expectations.

That didn't stop me from sending in my money this year when I happily got accepted. The show is well organized and about two weeks before, you get a packet with all that is necessary to be able to understand what you need to do.

Chicago is a big place to navigate, especially solo. One problem this year was that there was a huge medical convention and the America's Cup this past weekend and because of that the hotels were outrageous. My hotel last year downtown was $150 a night through Hotels.com...right on the river at the Merchandise Mart. This year it was $325 a night.

There was nothing available, even Air B&B's were $250 per night. The only hotels around $125 were at O'Hare or farther out, which is a considerable drive from the show.

I was lucky....I was a teacher for a long time and I threw it out to the internet that I needed a couch or bed in Chicago and one of my former student's had an apartment on W.Orleans...which was one of the main streets on the show route. Let me tell you that it was incredibly nice to get up in the morning and walk over to Wisconsin where my booth was. That doesn't happen often.

I would hope that Old Town might consider in the future hosting like Winter Park or Ann Arbor. It would be wonderful if they did. They do send you a list of recommend hotels but they were still pretty high.

One of the hardest things about Old Town is set-up and parking. I was there at 4:30 am Saturday morning. I drove right up to my booth and unloaded on the sidewalk. Unfortunately, a car was parked in my and my neighbor's booth. The car didn't get towed until 8am.(ugh) By then it was a hot set up and I was drenched. I also had to find a parking spot and it was so far from the show that at night, when I had a delivery, it took me an hour to find my car again.

It's a confusing area if you are not from there...I swear the only way I found it was that I kept clicking on my key light hoping that it would revel itself.

Word to the wise-at 6a.m. write better directions for yourself (duh).

There is also a wonderful breakfast served everyday and a well organized booth sitting volunteer staff.

I had a husband and wife team that actually called me on the phone on Saturday because they had bought one of my bigger pieces and then came back later and bought two more pieces from me also. Thanks Linda! What more could you ask for!

The day was truly the hottest show day I have ever been at. I thought Georgia heat was bad at Decatur...this was worse. It got up to 100 degrees and it felt even hotter. Even then... the crowds never stopped coming.

For encaustic, it was a bit dicy but as long as nobody touched them everything was good. I am usually telling people to touch my work because it feels so different than a pigment painting but Saturday I was a bear if anyone even tried to get close to them (they get soft in the sun and can dent).

But they kept leaving the walls and it ended up being the best one day total I have ever had. Everyone around me had a good day too. It was a "5" level buying crowd.

That night I met two of my former students from Switzerland who now go to SAIC and we went around the corner to Renalli's for dinner. They have great pizza and wings and a helluva Bloody Mary (ah... my drink of choice) If you do this show I suggest you go and try their prosciutto and arugula pizza...primo!

Sunday, I felt like I had left Haiti and had ended up in Helsinki...the weather was in the 60's with a brisk breeze. I saw many people with down jackets and heavy sweaters. By the afternoon it had warmed up again and people came out in sandals and t-shirt's.

Let me rephrase that...Many People came out..Many, Many people came out! It was super crowed and I never left my booth except to run to the porto potty-which by the way was way too far away from my side of the show. (please Old Town redistribute them next year) I realize this is too much information... but honestly, it's important.

Well, anyway....Sunday was my next highest selling day ever. Guy's, not trying to act big or anything here, I have done many years of so-so and less than so-so shows...as I said before, I am no great shakes...but I had the magic ticket at Chicago this year.

Some of you have been talking on this blog about a recession and an election year downturn. Well, I am here to say that Chicago hasn't heard about that... It was more than good for everyone around me. I didn't hear of Anyone complaining....and you all know that you usually hear a few.

Load out was fairly easy for me. With a short wait and and a curb side load up. With as tight as the streets are and without any formal instructions and attendants...it went a lot smoother that most.

And finally, this show is the BOMB...plain and simple. There is a reason it's #1 and should be. They run a tight ship with numerous volunteers and support staff that makes it smooth going.

There is always someone near who can help you with whatever you need. I also love when the director's of the show come and talk to the artists and thank us for being there. With all they do, it's the least of their worries but at Old Town they make you feel extremely welcome.

Kuddos Old Town......it was a real pleasure....Hope to see you next year...

Bad Things about this Art Fair:
Nothing....

See my blog on ArtFairInsiders.com for additional commentary on this Show
Yes, please note that on my review

What prompted you to submit a review today?
It's just a great show and people need to know.

Approved Reviewer, name withheld by request

Show Name: Old Town Art Fair
City and State: Chicago, IL
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: 5-10 times
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 5 (great)
Location: 5 (great)
Facilities: 4
Ease of Participating: 4
Sales: 5 (great)
Overall: 5 (great)
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Great
Estimated Attendance: 50,001+ people

Good Things about this Art Fair: Always a great crowd and depending on the weather, almost always strong sales. The set-up is crowded and hard, especially for those who do not come very early, but tear-down usually goes smoothly and quickly. Sales were up and down for many, but still strong for most who I talked to. There is a reason most artists still consider it one to the top few shows in the country.

Bad Things about this Art Fair: The worst things about the show are very early morning set-up the day of the show, which can really be terrible is it is raining and the price of hotel rooms if you do not want to drive in from the airport area.

Christine Bartling

Show Name: Old Town Art Fair
City and State: Chicago IL
Your Medium: Jewelry
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: 10+ times!
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 5 (great)
Location: 4
Facilities: 3
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: Beautiful historic neighborhood makes a nice back drop for this show and the crowd seems to be better educated.

The Quality of the exhibitors is very high.

The committee supplies a continental breakfast both mornings and makes sure the artists are well watered and have plenty of munchies.

I give credit to the many volunteers and extensive organization it takes to successfully manage the load-in which can be challenging given the narrow streets and the Saturday morning only set up.

Many of the residents are very helpful and allow exhibitors to "plug into" their outdoor electrical.

Bad Things about this Art Fair: Parking is risky on the street without the resident stickers. The best bet is to buy the two day parking spot at the LaSalle School for $60.00. These passes are usually sold out on Friday night. There are other parking structures several blocks further away but the price is comparable to the school's.

Sales have been generally lower in the last 4-5 years due to the economy but remain O.K.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show: A little patience during set-up, but I don't think tear down is any worse than at many other fairs.

Expect to travel a little bit for more reasonable hotel rates.

Aaron Hequembourg

Show Name: Old Town Arts Festival
City and State: Chicago IL
Your Medium: 2D mixed media
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2011
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $5001-$10,000
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: * 2-3 times
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 4
Location: 4
Facilities: 5 (great)
Ease of Participating: 4
Sales: 5 (great)
Overall: 4
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Good
Estimated Attendance: * 50,001+ people

Good Things about this Art Fair: Smart crowd, sold there for three years so far having good weather on only maybe two days

Bad Things about this Art Fair: tight loading, often rainy but not too windy due to the buildings around

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show: be prepared to get wet

Approved Reviewer; name withheld by request

Show Name: Old Town Art Fair
City and State: Chicago, Illinois
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) 4
Location: 4
Facilities: 4
Ease of Participating: 4
Sales: 5 (great)
Overall: 5 (great)
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Great
Estimated Attendance: 50,001+ people

Good Things about this Art Fair:
-quality exhibitors
-quality patrons
-sales
-well run, well organized show

The sales have been down at this show past couple of years like most, but this year was up for me and most artists I talked to--considerably.

Bad Things about this Art Fair:
-early morning set-up day of show
-lodging expenses

Amy Flynn

Show Name: Old Town Chicago
City and State: Chicago IL
Your Medium: 3D mixed media
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: 1st time
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 5 (great)
Location: 5 (great)
Facilities: 4
Ease of Participating: 4
Sales: 5 (great)
Overall: 5 (great)
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Great
Estimated Attendance: Not really sure.

Good Things about this Art Fair:
Probably the most sophisticated and affluent crowd we've ever experienced--most of our sales were in our mid to upper range.

Very well-organized. Even the dreaded 6am setup went smoothly and efficiently. Tear-down could have been awful, considering the narrowness of the streets, but again--no problems at all. They have been doing this for a long time, and have all the bugs worked out.

Great volunteers. Our Old Town "neighbors" were as sweet as could be, and very gracious, especially considering that we're basically taking over their front yards for the weekend.

Bad Things about this Art Fair:
An expensive show to do. We got a fairly reasonable deal at one of the airport hotels, though--no problem with traffic since it's the weekend.

Parking is not cheap--$60 for the weekend at a nearby school, and worth every penny.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show:
Don't let the high costs scare you off--this show is one of the best we've ever done, and the only one for which I will endure a 6am setup. I am NOT a morning person...

Chicago weather can be blistering hot or freezing cold--often within the same weekend. Be prepared.

A hard show to jury into, as the street jury invites back a high percentage of artists each year. If you get the chance, jump on it, and bring your best work.

Additional Commentary on this Show:
I saw a lot of high-end painters at this show--other categories seemed more evenly represented. And the painters I spoke with were either doing really well or really poorly. No repros, no functional art of any kind.

Kathleen Eaton

Show Name: Old Town Art Fair
City and State: Chicago Illinois
Your Medium: Painting
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2011
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: Rather not say
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 10+ times!
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 5 (great)
Location: 5 (great)
Facilities: 5 (great)
Ease of Participating: 4
Sales: 4
Overall: 5 (great)
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Good
Estimated Attendance: Not really sure.

Good Things about this Art Fair:
This is a very well run show with an appreciative audience and excellent art. I feel very fortunate to have been included. Sales are consistently among the best of any show I do.

This year they had lots of volunteers to help to bring refreshments and booth sit.

Bad Things about this Art Fair:
Set up and tear down are both a little difficult. With everyone cooperating it goes well. Artists are juried on the street for the next year and there are not a lot of openings for new exhibitors.

Jay McDougall

Show Name: Old Town Art Fair
City and State: Chicago, IL
Your Medium: Wood
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2010
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $5001-$7500
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 3-5 times
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 5 (great)
Location: 4
Facilities: 4
Ease of Participating: 4
Sales: 4
Overall: 4
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Okay
Estimated Attendance: 25,001-50,000 people

Good Things about this Art Fair:
This is a very consistently good show for me. The crowd is very urban sophisticated, they are generally quite art savvy. Another bonus is that it is a younger/"acquiring" demographic which also has some disposable income.

It is also a show that enforces a fairly strict original art and no reproduction policy along with an extensive list of what is not allowed to be sold. This works well for me.

The neighborhood is very supportive and proud of their show and the proceeds go to a non-profit community art program.

Bad Things about this Art Fair:
Load in and out is tight. This is a downtown city street location. Load-in has to happen at about 6AM rain or shine.

Lodging can also be on the steep side if you want to be near the show. Staying out of the area (eg: O'hare) can mean a very long and unpredictable commute. This is one of those shows that I will take a past customer up on an offer to stay with them.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show:
Very few available spaces up for jurying every year. If you get in then bring your 'A' game as you can be street juryied in to the show for the following year. Overall the work at the show is very, very good.

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