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Michelle Robison

Medium: Jewelry
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2014
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: < $500
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 1st time
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 3
Location: 4
Facilities: 4
Ease of Participating: 3
Sales: 1 (poor)
Overall: 3
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Poor
Estimated Attendance: 501-10,000 people

Good Things about this Art Fair:
Lots of people and luck to have great weather and close to bathrooms! Big wide open place, beautiful par...
Wish I'd had time to look around and money to spend, lots of gorgeous things.

Bad Things about this Art Fair:
Chaotic, they didn't have our name tags or "hey we're new signs", had to wait round a long time on set up day and next day to finally get them, took forever to get parking permit to load up, husband had to chase them down.

I'm not even sure judges walked by our booth, we were there the entire time, they never introduced themselves let us know...

Disappointed in production studios selling production work at how. Makes it really hard on us hands on artists to compete

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show:
Do this show if you have cheap items, tourist crowd... mostly the stroller and "kill an afternoon" crowd..

We have a lot of items between $100 and $1000 and we had zero sales,had people asking for $15- $25 pieces and asking if we "made this?"

Weight down tent really well, we had storms come in...fast..

Have your loading and loading plans down, you get one hour to unload stuff and haul it to booth space and unload and haul it to temporary parking spot. No parking in front or near booth,you gotta haul it! Bring lots of help to set up and break down... this is big city traffic.

Be prepared for high expenses everywhere,, food hotels and parking.. to pay a lot for parking. $72 for two days in parking garage near show and $35-$50 per day in a hotel anywhere in the city...
hotels run about $160 plus per night or more, not including taxes and parking and other fee....

Marc Lamm

Show Name: Gold Coast Art Fair
City and State: Chicago, Ill
Your Medium: Wood
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2013
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $501-$2000
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 1st time
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 2
Location: 2
Facilities: 4
Ease of Participating: 4
Sales: 1 (poor)
Overall: 2
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Poor
Estimated Attendance: Not really sure.

Good Things about this Art Fair: Amy Amdur works very hard. Amazing actually. The staff was great - accommodating and helpful and easy to find. Everything about how Amy put this on was first rate. That's the good part. Read below for the important part: sales.

Bad Things about this Art Fair: The crowds were not buyers. I have never had so few interested people. My neighbor artist said his saies over the last 4 years has steadily declined and won't do the show again. The story as I learned it is that the show used to be on the actual Gold Coast, an ultra wealthy area of high rise condos right on Lake Michigan. Major league art buyers. The crowds were big and the artists were first rate. But the show got kicked out of that area (you have to know Chicago politics to understand this) and Amy got Grant Park instead. It is a fabulously beautiful place on Lake Michigan, but in a commercial district which is quiet on the weekends and a tourist mecca. So, that's what you get, tourists and people who come down to enjoy the park. Not high end art buyers who are out to buy high end art. The booth fees were exhorbitant: $620 for me. It cost me a fortune to stay in a downtown hotel, park in the Millenium lot and eat in the area. No Mo tel 6 in this area. It was a beautiful event. I had plenty of time between customers to enjoy the beauty although it was hard to enjoy it. I won't do this fair again.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show: Maybe if you sell tourist stuff, you could do well. I don't know. My art is $500 +. Otherwise, I'd stay away from this one. It's sad, because Amy works so hard.

Carla Bank

Show Name: Gold Coast Art Fair at Grant Park
City and State: Chicago IL
Your Medium: Painting
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2013
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: 4
Facilities: 4
Ease of Participating: 5 (great)
Sales: 4
Overall: 5 (great)
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Great
Estimated Attendance: Not really sure.

Good Things about this Art Fair: You are exposed to all types of customers. Tourists, locals, suburb families that come to the show, City people with nice apartments. I did great connections. Saturday was more relaxed and it was cloudy but Sunday was a beautiful day and people had more buying energy. I sold OK Saturday. I sold 2 times more on Sunday.

Bad Things about this Art Fair: Well, I can't complain about anything. Probably some booths didn't look that professional but it is a big show in the city so you get all types of people and this could be actually good for all the diverse buyers. Weather plays a big roll in any show and we had the luck to have two beautiful days. Parking can get expensive but you are in the city so that is the price you pay.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show: I was afraid of doing this show because the reviews I read in the past. After 3 years of thinking about it I went for it. Set up and break down wasn't bad. I was expecting worse but it was actually easy. Just be ready with your dolly. Sunday was packed! All types of costumers. I will absolutely go back. Bring merchandise that people can throw in their suitcases. I got a lot of buyers that got smaller prints and paintings to bring home.

Additional Commentary on this Show : My add on items helped a lot to have a good show. Tourists were buying smaller items so take that in consideration. I also had locals so be ready for diversity.

Liza Norman

Show Name: Gold Coast Fine Arts
City and State: Chicago, IL
Your Medium: Fiber
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2012
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $501-$2000
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 1st time
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 2
Location: 1 (poor)
Facilities: 1 (poor)
Ease of Participating: 1 (poor)
Sales: 1 (poor)
Overall: 1 (poor)
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Poor
Estimated Attendance: 501-10,000 people

Good Things about this Art Fair: The producer, Amdur productions do a lot of advertising and try and make it easy on the artists

Bad Things about this Art Fair: Nobody is in downtown Chicago during the weekend, those that work downtown do not come back on the weekend. It was a crowd of casual strollers, not shoppers. Of course the severe heat did not help. I am sure some folks did well, but nobody near me did well. Load out was a bit brutal.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show: If you have a product that is easy for a traveler to take with them and you have an easy set up since you will be carting it in . There was mostly wall art and jewelry at this show. And uninteresting food vendors.

Additional Commentary on this Show (or about this form): The week before this show I did another Amdur show that was a dream I need a customer who is out to shop, so this is not the show for me, casual observors rarely buy from me.

Linda A Shields

Show Name: Gold Coast Art Fair
City and State: Chicago, Illinois
Your Medium: Jewelry
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2011
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $501-$2000
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 1st time
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 3
Location: 4
Facilities: 5 (great)
Ease of Participating: 5 (great)
Sales: 1 (poor)
Overall: 2
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Okay
Estimated Attendance: Not really sure.

Good Things about this Art Fair:
1) Amy Amdur and staff run excellent Art Shows.

2) Amy cares about her artists. Here is an example where I was involved: We had the first load time and before the fair opened, I was on my way to get some ice water which was available in the Artist's Tent. A woman had just been unloaded and was crying hysterically. She saw my Show badge and must have thought I was staff.

Her story: she was 26 minutes late for drop off and the security man (an overzealous off duty policeman) told her she could NOT be in the show. I said: "Let me get Amy or some staff involved." Staff immediately responded. They told me that "only Amy makes the decision who will be in a show." They carted her to her booth site as I was walking back to mine.

3) Drop off was a dream.

4) The music wasn't loud but melodious--a nice background.

5) Grant Park is a stunningly beautiful setting for an Art Fair. We had a view of the breathtaking fountain.

6) No bugs, no mud, no strong winds.

7) Security was fabulous. In the middle of Chicago no artist had to worry about anything overnight. I saw some painters and photographers just close up their tents and leave. I wish I felt that fearless about leaving thousands of dollars of jewelry. But if ever I could loosen that fear it might have been at Gold Coast!

8) The crowds were constant.

Bad Things about this Art Fair:
1) Because Chicago is a costly place to eat, sleep and park, our PROFIT was only $750.

2) The heat was terrible both days with no breeze off Lake Michigan or some relief from cloud cover. We registered 95 degrees one afternoon. The crowds passed our booth like robots with no packages in hand. I knew one artist who must have done well because I saw their wares numerous times (Lucky Dog!)

3) Location. We were not on the main drag. And it seemed that in the heat, the people just went around the main circle.

4) Check out JUST requires patience. There are 500 other artists leaving also. RELAX!

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show:
1) Give Gold Coast a chance to revive itself. In our culture we are so fast to throw things out. This is THE Grandaddy. I felt priviledged to continue it's history.

2) Something to caddy your booth from curb into the Park is required.

3) Bring your own food and water.

4) We found the Travel Lodge on Harrison to have great rates and to be close.

5) Try not to eat or buy anything on the Magnificent Mile. We had sandwiches and ice tea/water at an open cafe on Michigan Avenue and it cost us $87.

6) If you are from out of state, get an I-Pass for the tollways. You breeze through, never get a hefty fine and have security of mind.

Additional Commentary on this Show:
On ArtFairInsiders.com see my blog on this show entitled, "Gold Coast:LIVE" under my name.

John Leben

Show Name: Gold Coast Art Fair
City and State: Chicago, IL
Your Medium: Digital Art
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2010
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $501-$2000
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 2-3 times
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 2
Location: 2
Facilities: 2
Ease of Participating: 1 (poor)
Sales: 1 (poor)
Overall: 2
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Poor
Estimated Attendance: 25,001-50,000 people

Good Things about this Art Fair:
Big City art fair

Bad Things about this Art Fair:
New location in Grant Park seemed to degrade the quality of the people who come to this art fair. In the River North area, where the show used to be, lots of people who live and work in the neighborhood would come to the show. The Grant Park location seemed to bring a lot of tourists.

Another negative was that my booth location was inside the park while artists on the edges of the park seemed to get more traffic.

The weather was another negative. Lots of rain and mud making it difficult for some customers to even get into the booth. I can go on and on... too many artists (500). Amy probably had to pay big bucks to secure this venue and she had to fill up the spaces with as many artists as she could find. Seemed like the quality suffered. A Bears football game on Saturday forced the show to shut down at 3pm.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show:
It's a tough show to load in and out of, so bring a good dolly and leave lots of time to get work in and out. Bring lots of patience. Parking on the street and dollying in is even tougher when you can't find a place to park the truck.

Additional Comments on this Show:
Amy is a good organizer and she may figure out ways to overcome some of the problems... many of which were not the fault of the organizer.

The area of Grant Park that the fair was in is kind of undeveloped, which was the cause of all the standing water and mud. The Chicago police forced an early closing on Saturday. I'm not planning to do this show next year.

Oscar Matos

Your Medium: Photography
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2009
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $501-$2000
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 5-10 times
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 3
Location: 1 (poor)
Facilities: 5 (great)
Ease of Participating: 5 (great)
Sales: 3
Overall: 3
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Poor
Estimated Attendance: 25,001-50,000 people

Good Things about this Art Fair:
You can not ask more from a promoter. Amdur Productions (Amy) makes an effort to bring customers to the events and provide everything you can ask to make the set up and break down as easy a possible.

Bad Things about this Art Fair:
She was force to change location so it will take a while to bring the show back. Also 2011 she change the date for the better but now it runs against Howard Allan show.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show:
Stay away from the middle of the park, bring food and water, and the most important ready to dolly out and be calm about it.

A Jeweler

Review by a Jeweler:
Your Sales at this Show: $2001-$5000
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 1st time
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2009
Attendance: 3
Location: 3
Facilities: 4
Ease of Participating: 4
Sales: 2
Overall: 3
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Okay
Estimated Attendance: 5001-10,000 people

Good Things about this Art Fair:
It's in Chicago! The work was very good quality. Considering that set-up was in the middle of a huge city, it actually went quite well. There were ample knowledgeable staff people to guide us to our spot. There was an air-conditioned artists lounge with cold water and snacks. The hours were reasonable. Breakdown was well monitored by staff, too. Amy Amdur was around during breakdown to help with any glitches. She's very much involved, visible, and out there working.

Bad Things about this Art Fair
In 2009, the show was too spread out. In 2010, they changed both the dates and the location of the show, and we didn't do it because we had a conflict (local show). We just noticed that for 2011, the show conflicts with Howard Alan's Chicago show! We were considering applying to one of these (letting go of the local show for a year), but the fact that they are both the same weekend makes us think that maybe they'll dilute one another.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show
Talk to people who did it in 2010 and see how it went! Check to see if conflicted with Howard Alan's show in 2010. And . . . use your mailing list!

Edwin Schmidt

Heirloom Wood Toys
New location at Grant Park this year. City would not allow the show to be in the old location on LaSalle Street. Chicago Bears scheduled a preseason exhibition game after show date was set. Chicago Police initially would not let to show open at all on Saturday. After intense lobbying with the mayors office, show was allowed to stay open only until 3:00PM on Saturday. Attendance and sales were slow on Friday and just getting started good on Saturday when we had to close. Sunday attendance and sales were excellent. Will take a year or two for the public to get used to the new location. Total sales were not as well as expected but still acceptable. All exhibitors had to be out of the park by 11:OOPM Sunday or there was a fine. Thought tear down would be "NIGHTMARE" but most artists and security personnel worked well and everyone was out well before the deadline. All in all show went well. Some problems with mud and standing water from the rain Friday night. Amdur was limited by the park commission as to the remedies (no mulch, hay etc.). Put down topsoil and plywood and made the best they could of the situation.
(Read the rest of this review at ArtFairInsiders.com)

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