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Steve Mineck

In:re 2017 Art in Bayfront Park. Beautiful setting, lots of people out to look, some to buy.I do blown glass, one of two in this show. Did pretty well (for me) approx.$625. Seemed to be older persons buying from us, as opposed to younger reported by another reviewer. Had a couple of warm fuzzies- a retired professor bought a piece on Sat. and returned Sun. for another. Also got festival favorite-glass award from organizers-includes free booth next year,we'll be back. I think the new management is doing a good job, though I have no prior experience here so it's hard to compare.

Lawrence Sawyer

Medium: Photography
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show:
2017
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: < $500
Price Range of your Work: $45 - $2,500
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show:
1st time
Number of Years You have been doing Art Fairs overall: 3-5 years
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 3
Location: 4
Facilities: 4
Ease of Participating: 4
Sales: 1
Overall: 3
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Poor
Estimated Attendance: 501-10,000 people

Good Things about this Art Fair:
As of 2017, this show is under new management, the same outfit that runs WeFest and the Stone Arch Bridge Festival, among other events. They are VERY good at events. I think they could be better at Art Fairs, but the logistics handling was very good.

Communication, load-in instructions, artist support in terms of water, snacks and booth sitting were all top-notch.

Not a ton of people attend but buyers were out in full force early Saturday. After that it slowed down.

What could this Art Fair have done better?:
I mentioned the following to the show staff and they were very receptive to feedback: Jurying in is perhaps too easy, resulting in at least half a dozen photographers all selling regional scenics on canvas and metal.

They need to snug up the curation a bit. The quality of the work at this show was quite good, but Minnesota is a very scenic place and there was just too much same-ness in the photography category.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show:
I am at a loss as to how to give advice after only doing this show once. There's good work here, the venue is very nice, it's well-run, and some artists did well here while some, like me, bit the dust.

I talked to at least half a dozen and it was a 50-50 split. If your work is truly unique and you can fully cover all price points, from $20- $500+, then this could be a good show. If you don't have fun, attractive pieces in the lower end, I'd stay away.

Patrons were buying starting early Saturday, and over the weekend I saw all sizes of work being bought, but there aren't 40,000 people attending, nor are there even 15-20,000, so your stuff needs to have appeal to a younger demographic. I would be surprised if there were 12,000 people all weekend, and the crowd seemed to skew toward age 20-30-ish, so "more affordable" I think is going to be the best strategy.

Additional Commentary on this Show:
Ignore the weather forecast. Lake Superior will do whatever she wants. You MUST have weights and stakes to do this show. You might not need both, but some booths are on grass and some are on pavement so be ready for either.

The weather can change for the worse really fast so bring warm clothes and have a way to rain-proof your tent.

Upper-Midwest, outdoors-loving folks are the patrons here. Keep that in mind, but be aware that you are going to be competing with a LOT of local and regional artists for limited dollars. Your work needs to be unique and affordable.

The new management is very good at running events so you should not lack for anything.

The URL of your profile on ArtFairInsiders.com. http://www.artfairinsiders.com/profile/LawrenceMSawyer

See my blog on ArtFairInsiders.com for additional commentary on this Show

Ryan Tischer

Medium: Photography
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2014
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) 4
Location: 4
Facilities: 4
Ease of Participating: 4
Sales: 4
Overall: 4
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Good
Estimated Attendance: 10,001-50,000 people

Good Things about this Art Fair:
This is a fairly new show, I believe this is the fourth or fifth year of its existence. I was hesitant to try it the first few year because I'd heard of poor sales and that the show hadn't figured out a lot of things with layout, etc.

The show is setup in Duluth's Bayfront Park, an area used for various events, including many concerts and the Bentleyville Tour of Lights in the winter. It's a beautiful setting in Duluth's harbor along Lake Superior and you can watch the ships going in and out under the famous Aerial Lift Bridge. Both locals and a large number of tourists attended.

The load-in and load-out were well coordinated and went pretty smooth, though some artists didn't abide by the 15 minute unload-and-move-out rule, slowing things for the rest of us. The volunteers eventually enforced it. After doing the show I was pleasantly surprised. My sales were good and it was fairly easy to do. I won the best in category award and had one of the best booth locations, so that certainly didn't hurt things either.

Bad Things about this Art Fair:
The quality of artists is mixed here. Some are veterans with great art and setups and others are just amateurs. The photography category had a real mix as did most other categories. The weather can be treacherous along Lake Superior with strange sudden weather and high winds at times.

Saturday afternoon brought high winds followed by sideways rain. At about 2:30pm the volunteers came around and said that if we had to we could start taking down. We got soaked during tear down...of course this is no fault of the organizers. Anytime you do a show along Lake Superior it's important to dress in layers and bring your parka just in case!

Of the artists I talked to most did so so, a few did poorly and a few did well. We were fortunate to have good sales, but my photographs are mostly regional and appealing to locals as well as those vacationing in Duluth. Others with less regional work tended to not do as well.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show:
We live in Duluth, but didn't do the show until this year. For the most part I had not heard good things about this show prior to doing it...most artists only did it once and didn't come back due to poor sales. After a few iffy years it looks like the organizers have really upped their game and figured out a better show layout.

The show was also very well promoted, probably the most promoted art event in Duluth. Hotels are very expensive in Duluth (particularly nearby in Canal Park, often $200+/night) in the summer months, so I'd recommend looking for something less expensive across the bridge in Superior or perhaps a few miles out of town, like at Black Bear Casino in Carlton. Several artists camped at Indian Point Campground, so that's an option if that's your sort of thing.

Regional art can sell well here, but if you have cutting edge artwork or especially expensive items it may not be the best market for you. Duluth has a LOT of really good potters and that category seems to always be saturated at our shows.

As far as booth location, the best spots are in the courtyard, which is reserved for those that have won awards or those with the nicest booth images. The only bad location would be on the lakeside, away from the courtyard, but not close to the food booths...I doubt they got as much traffic because although the path leads in a complete circle, the show would need to be about 300 artists to fill the entire pathway, so they're somewhat on a dead end. The parking lot side is the second best area, as it runs between the courtyard and food vendors.

Jedd Peters

There is No way there was 10,000 people there maybe 7,000. Sales were not good and I won best of show for ceramics and had plenty of low price items only SOLD $140 the whole weekend. The "Prize" for best of show Was $100 OF NEXT YEARS FEE. Not a great prize. I would stay away from this show unless you are selling Yard Art.

Art by Jen

Art in Bayfront Park Art Fair, Duluth, MN
Loved Loved Loved this art fair.
I had my best sales EVER! and to top it off a gallery took whatever I had left to their store - so I had nothing to haul home. It was perfect due to the fact that this art fair was held at the end of my selling season.

Bayfront Park where it was held was fabulous! I had an easy time getting in and setting up because you could pull your car right up to your tent location! The local news said there were over 10,000 people that attended.

Loved the fact that the artists were given an "artist lounge" which was locked to the general public. So artists had their own private bathrooms. Free coffee and donuts were a nice touch in the morning.

Irene Sherman

Show Name: Art in Bay Front
City and State: Duluth, MN
Your Medium: Glass
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2011
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) 1 (poor)
Location: 3
Facilities: 1 (poor)
Ease of Participating: 3
Sales: 1 (poor)
Overall: 2
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Poor
Estimated Attendance: 501-10,000 people

Good Things about this Art Fair:
For us, getting in and out was not a problem. For others it was quite a nightmare. Some of the spaces were so tightly grouped at the end of a path that there was no way to get in and out of your booth. Some spaces were 1/2 on grass and sidewalk with a tree in the middle.

Bad Things about this Art Fair:
Lack of facilities and those they had were over used and overflowed. No hospitality suite. Promoter more interested in beauty pageant. Very high quality artists next to importers.

This was billed as an Art Fair. 36 jewelers out of 160 exhibitors. Customers with hands deeply clenched in their pockets not letting go of their wallets.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show:
Don't bother. Duluth. Pretty. Been there. Done that.

Additional Commentary on this Show:
Don't know why but many artists stopped by unsolicited to my booth to talk. Seemed like no one made their $200 booth fee, not to mention hotel, gas and food. Very disappointing for all the hype. Obviously, will not return.

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

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