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Jim Sincock

Show Name: Lakefront Festival of Art
City and State: Milwaukee, WI
Your Medium: Photography
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) 5 (great)
Location: 5 (great)
Facilities: 5 (great)
Ease of Participating: 5 (great)
Sales: 3
Overall: 4
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Okay
Estimated Attendance: Not really sure.

Good Things about this Art Fair: I found it to be very well organized for the most part. Having the artist tents under one main tent is a great idea, especially during rainy season. The crowds were really strong even during bad weather.

Bad Things about this Art Fair: No real complaints.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show: You definitely need lighting for your booth. I didn't realize lighting was needed, and one person at the registration booth said they weren't needed... but they are. Luckily I had a friend helping out who was able to run and pick up a quick lighting setup for me.

Additional Commentary on this Show (or about this form): I was lucky to get in this festival on my first try, and considering I just started trying art fairs in 2012, and only did two that first year. I kind of expected higher sales than I ended up with, but did way better than I'd done at my shows in Colorado.

Candis Cole-Footitt

Show Name: Lakefront Festival of the Arts
City and State: Milwaukee, WIsconsin
Your Medium: Fiber
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show:2012
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $5001-$10,000
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 5-10 times
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 4
Location: 5 (great)
Facilities: 5 (great)
Ease of Participating: 5 (great)
Sales: 4
Overall: 5 (great)
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Good
Estimated Attendance: 10,001-50,000 people

Good Things about this Art Fair: The ease of set up and load out with all of us being under the one long tent. They stagger the set up and allow us ample time to unload. The support during the show is evident all the time and the director and staff are on site and ready to help when needed. Morning breakfast is a great way to help artists. We need the morning coffee and foods more than the big dinners!
Patrons are educated and the location of the show being attached to the Museum is excellent. It sends the right message to patrons.

Bad Things about this Art Fair:Not much bad to say. They set up an evening event which confused the public on the first night. Some of the patrons said that the publicity looked like we were going to be open late, but in reality, we were closed so that we could participate in the festivities also. That was the only confusing part of the show.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show:This is a good show and the layout is easy. 90% of the show is on concrete and only a few booths are on grass. All the booths are under a very secure tent structure with sides that move out of the way if the weather is warm, or back into place for the occasional rain squall.

Additional Commentary on this Show: If you get into this show, consider yourself very lucky. It is difficult to get into and well worth the drive.

SallyDullard

A great show in a wonderful setting. An increased marketing effort seemed to improve sales this year over previous years.
There is an "Artists Advisory Committee" made up mostly of a click of local artists who seem to not only get in every year, but also get the same coveted corner booths which are supposed to be given out by lottery. They help manage the set up and break down in exchange for favoritism? Please correct me if I'm wrong.

geri wegner

Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2010
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: 5 (great)
Ease of Participating: 3
Sales: 3
Overall: 5 (great)
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Good
Estimated Attendance: 50,001-100,000 people

Good Things about this Art Fair:
Year after year, this show has been all about consistent quality. There is a good turnover of artists while at the same time, a lot of favorites are there every year.

This show has resolved the problem of mixing vendor/sponsor booths and food with art. All the artists are in a large tent or in the museum while the food is on one side outside of the tent and the vendor/sponsor booths are on the other side. To keep the v/s booths happy, you must walk past them to get to the artist booth as you come into the festival.

Prices are all over the place. The economy the past few years has forced a lot of artists to offer price points that are lower than they used to be at this festival. This has made the show accessible to more people.

And then there is the setting. Set in front of one of the truly spectacular buildings in the US and along Lake Michigan, combined with available parking, this show is one of the highlights of the summer.

Nels Johnson

Photography
Well I did Lakefront this weekend. Had not been there for 10 years. Used to be a $6-10k show for most of us. I always had it as one of my top ten shows. This year most artists were lucky if they did $2-4k. To give you a perspective, I am basing my criteria on conversations with more than 30 artists that I know and who all can do the first set of figures I mentioned. This includes 4-5 of the biggie photographers, 5-6 of major blown glass guys, 7-10 painters who always sell,about 5 jewelers, 3 wood people and a bunch of ceramic persons and a handful of mixed media.

By the way there were 172 artists in show, with about 12 of them being invitees because of awards. About 1100 people applied for the show.

The committee does things right. They don't play favorites and you know, it works just great.

CONCLUSIONS. Lakefront is not the show it used to be. It is a nice show but I would not call it a biggie. Milwaukee has a thriving economy, low unemployment, not a lot of real estate problems, yet they were reluctant to buy. Yes, I know it is hard times, but people are still buying. The show is worth applying for. It is in a great location, in a great little town, with some really nice people. I will try for it again.

(See the rest of this review at ArtFairInsiders.com)

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