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Ryan Tischer

Medium: Photography
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2014
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: 3
Facilities: 3
Ease of Participating: 2
Sales: 2
Overall: 2
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Okay
Estimated Attendance: 501-10,000 people

Good Things about this Art Fair:
It has a lovely location in a quant, yet affluent community. Boy scouts will help you load in and load out for a $20 donation each way...if your booth is a long cart I think it's well worth it. The food booths are of good variety (some healthy stuff as well as the usual).

Bad Things about this Art Fair:
This used to be a very good show, with strong sales and excellent quality artists, but the quality of artists has dropped as have the number of artists and the attendees. This is all due to the change in management, which began with the retirement of Debbie Hart in 2008 (or about there). Since the Chamber took over the quality has dropped as have the number of applicants. I was told from an inside source (an artist that was helping with the show) that this event used to receive over 800 applications for 250 or so spots. It had a wonderful artist dinner. Now the show no longer has the dinner (we received coupons to local restaurants for a few years, but now nothing at all) and it's down to about 150 artists. I'm guessing the number of applicants isn't more than double that.

This show has always been a major pain to setup at because there are limited parking spaces, which all artists must unload from and then cart to their booth locations anywhere from 20 yards to over 100 yards away.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show:
Now we get to what has really been getting under my skin since I did this show this year (June 2014)...on Saturday morning the show received some heavy rain and high winds. It was a little scary for some artists nearest Lake Minnetonka, and a few of the less prepared artists had their tents blown around and lost artwork. I feel very much for these artists, as it's terrible to lose your artwork. That being said, this sort of thing is quite common in our industry. It seems like every show I do where there's a good gust of wind, some unfortunate and not-so-well-prepared artist loses their artwork or tent (or both).

After the show had been open for a little bit over an hour the people running the show cancelled the event. Not just "close it up and wait it out" or even "close down for the day", but both days were completely cancelled and we were told to begin packing up. Their justification for this was the safety of a rtists and those attending the festival.

I understand that making big calls like this is never easy, but it is my opinion that this was the WRONG decision and a knee-jerk reaction to seeing damage to several booths. Several of us professional (and diehard) artists were not very pleased about this, as this weather had been predicted and we had already gone through the considerable work of setting up and already had money invested in booth cost, hotel, gas, etc.

Sure enough, about an hour or two after the show had been "cancelled" the rain let up and then stopped, as did the wind. Customers were coming down to attend the show, but saw all the artists packing up and many simply turned their cars away and drove off! Some of the die hard attendees still came into the show and then we had people taking down their booths as customers are trying to walk the show...talk about dangerous!

I ended up having a decent day, considering the weather on Saturday and was at least able to turn a small profit.

About 20-25 artists stuck around for Sunday. Sunday's weather was much nicer with only a little rain early on and then clouds turning to sun by the afternoon. A few artists reported some sales, though mine were not good on Sunday. I think the fact that about 25 booths were spaced randomly across an area meant for 150 booths was part of the reason.

Lastly, the people with the "duck rocks" were at the show. Every time I see them at a show, which is often, it's a different person selling the same product...they aren't making original artwork (and I've been told by others that the metal parts are made overseas).

Bottom line, with a new director in 2013 I was hoping this show would make a turn around from the damage the Chamber had done...I'm not sure this is the case. Had we gotten better weather in 2014 I'd be able to offer a more definitive review of the future of this show.

Ryan Tischer

Show Name: Excelsior Art on the Lake
City and State: Excelsior, MN
Your Medium: Photography
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2013
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: Rather not say
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: 2
Sales: 3
Overall: 3
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Good
Estimated Attendance: 10,001-50,000 people

Good Things about this Art Fair: For the past few years this show has been on somewhat of a downward spiral in terms of quality. The good news is that the new show director, Sue, reduced the number of artist booths from over 200 down to around 140 this year and did a much better job jurying the show. This also made setting up less of a hassle, as more load-in and load-out spaces were available. The volunteers at this show are simply great and I highly recommend utilizing the Boy Scouts to move your art from your vehicle to your space...it's well worth the $20 each way.

Bad Things about this Art Fair: This show is one of the more difficult set-ups that I do. Depending on your booth location, you have to dolly your stuff anywhere from 20 yards to over 100 yards.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show: Sales were up this year for me, despite Sunday being rainy all day...not bad for only a single day of sales. If you do this show, you better have a good cart with big wheels...things can get soggy on the grass when it rains. Or better yet, use the Boy Scouts. With the new director I think things are looking up for this show...certainly it's an event that the public likes to attend and is set in a very charming atmosphere.

Kari Erickson

Show Name: Art on the Lake
City and State: Excelsior
Your Medium: Jewelry
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: 10+ times!
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 4
Location: 5 (great)
Facilities: 5 (great)
Ease of Participating: 5 (great)
Sales: 4
Overall: 4
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Okay
Estimated Attendance: Not really sure.

Good Things about this Art Fair: Beautiful location on the shores on Lake Minnetonka, good crowds.

Bad Things about this Art Fair: Loading and unloading are a little more difficult than other shows. But doable... They do have Boy Scouts to help the Artists.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show: I have been doing this show for 12 years, took the last 2 years off due to personal reasons. I am so excited to come back and help with the new Co-Chair Sue, assist to make this show a fine craft & art show. I would recommend trying this show. I believe you will be pleased this year with all the changes being made.

Additional Commentary on this Show (or about this form): This show has always in the past been a really amazing show. No booths in the baseball field this year, The music & food vendors to be located in the baseball field.

Christina Plichta

One of our worst shows! Only one sale on Saturday. We packed up Saturday night and will never go back. We were in the section behind the baseball diamond. All the new artists were put in this bad section, even though we paid the same booth fee as everyone else. No foot traffic at all after the first 2 hours of the day in our section. We complained to the organizer and she didn't care. I saw some really questionable work on display as well. Load-in and out would be a nightmare for someone with things that can't get wet, like wood frames, watercolor paintings, cardboard boxes. Everything would be completely ruined. Way too risky for our set-up. I expected affluent patrons in this area, but the whole event seemed very "white trash". Definitely not the place for fine art.

David Barthel

Show Name: Excelsior Art on the Lake
City and State: Excelsior, MN
Your Medium: Photography
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: 4
Facilities: 4
Ease of Participating: 2
Sales: 2
Overall: 3
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Poor
Estimated Attendance: 501-10,000 people

Good Things about this Art Fair: Nice setting on Lake Minnetonka surrounded by the affluent western suburbs of the Twin Cities.

Amenities, such as free water and artist-only restrooms were provided. Booth transportation by motorized cart was available for a fee.

A severe thunderstorm was approaching during tear down and load-out. Promoters and volunteers were helpful and gave ample warning to artists about the storm. As one of the last artists still breaking down, the promoters allowed me to drive my vehicle right up to my booth (normally prohibited) so I could pack everything before the severe storm hit. Thanks to their graciousness, I had everything loaded just in time before the rain started coming down.

Bad Things about this Art Fair: Load-in is well-organized, but a major hassle, requiring carting in everything over a gravel/grass surface over an equivalent distance of 1-2 blocks for each trip. Once everything is unloaded, artists are required to move their vehicles to a parking lot several blocks away and ride a shuttle back to the park to start setting up. If you don't finish setting up until after dark, be prepared to walk the several blocks back to your car. Load-out procedure is the same, but reversed.

Attendance was much lower than I expected for a large and reputable show. This was likely due to the hot temperatures (90+ degrees) and compounded by the nearby Edina Art Fair, held just a week earlier, being well-attended due to near-perfect weather.

The weather was hot (as I had mentioned) and windy. The wind kicked up a lot of dust and dirt in the area, which collected on several of my displayed and matted pieces. I had to get several damp paper towels to keep everything clean and presentable.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show: Some artists have told me that this show has lost some of its former prestige in recent years and that jurying has become too lax. That doesn't mean that an artist cannot do well here; it is still generally regarded as one of the better shows in the Twin Cities metro area.

Bridget Donahue

Show Name: Art on the Lake
City and State: Excelsior, MN
Your Medium: Pottery
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show: 2012
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: < $500
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show: 10+ times!
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 2
Location: 4
Facilities: 4
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: High income area
12x12 booth some larger, free water and restroom facilities just for participants, good history
set up help available(not free),organized check in and out

Bad Things about this Art Fair: Booth fees have become too high. This should be listed as juried until full or open, buy sell and low end crafts, 204 spaces over 40 jewelry, the show was split into two areas, too much expensive food
too much focus on enterntainment, advertising was cut from past years, too many booths for the attendance, very hard setup, Artist parking farther away, and it was too far away to begin with if bad weather should hit.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show: My home show and I would say buyer beware.
I have changed my work so that could be the reason for my poor sales but others reported poor sales as well.

Additional Commentary on this Show (or about this form): The weather was very hot, in the 90's. Second major show in a week and the weather was very good for the Edina show the week before. This show was run by committee with artists on the committee in most mediums in the past, it is now run by the chamber of commerce, it is not to say that is poorly run it just has a different focus.

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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