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Wendy Merkle

Medium: Painting
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show:
2016
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $501-$2000
Price Range of your Work: 40 - 2000
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show:
1st time
Number of Years You have been doing Art Fairs overall: 5-10 years
Attendance: (1 is poor, 5 is great) 3
Location: 1
Facilities: 3
Ease of Participating: 1
Sales: 3
Overall: 1
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Poor
Estimated Attendance: 501-10,000 people
Good Things about this Art Fair:
You are about to read the most honest review of a show ever!

LOCATION: Elmwood Ave is an eccentric area of Buffalo with wonderfully arty people. This is a city show, so there are one-way roads and round-abouts to deal with. This small show extends a few blocks on a narrow Elmwood Ave. neighborhood.

One thing that really struck me was that while this neighborhood is very art savy they are very bold about taking pictures of art images with camera phones and SLRs. Even after reading signs that advise against it. Of course this is not everyone but I had one person per/hour trying to do it when it is normally one or two a show.

HOURS: 10am – 6pm Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sunday. I think the times of the show are just right.

Bad Things about this Art Fair:

SHOW COST: High for what you get. $325 when Allentown which gets over 100,000 in attendance is $285 and gives over $15,000 in awards. They charged the Food Trucks nearly $1000 for a spot off the main drag, so this is on the high side for all vendors.

SETUP: There is no Friday set-up which makes Saturday am set-up very difficult because there is not enough room for everyone to get their vehicle on to the street to unload.

The volunteers are high school kids looking to get their community service hours to graduate. Nice kids but I think they were asleep on their feet in the morning and more interested in shopping during the day.

Setup is from 6am to 9:30am. If you arrive after 7:30am prepare to wait in your vehicle to get near your spot. Many were very frustrated with this on the way in, and on the way out.

The tents were not on top of one another which was very nice. Oh and remember your fire extinguisher as the fire department and rules demand you have one.

ARTIST PARKING: The festival appropriated two school lots but they are a distance from Elmwood and many had to dolly their things in 87° weather. If you have a trailer this is going to be a major challenge. I had someone steal the little scrap of red paper showing that I was a vendor after the first day, which really speaks to the parking.

WEATHER: Hot as balls. Yes, Buffalo can be hot. Like all shows this is a crap shoot.

ART QUALITY: There was a nice variety of arts and crafts. However, the Allentown Art Festival remains the one to beat. This show is for the people who can’t get into Allentown which has very high standards.

Santa stabbing a baby while Jesus watches was the image of one painting I saw. There are no artist awards, and most of the local artists who are really technically accomplished have told me this is one of the reasons they do not attend.

The displays were very casual and amateurish. The guy next to me had a tent that was held together with duct-tape and I was hoping it was not going to come apart and blow into mine. Luck shined on me on this score.

ATTENDANCE: This show says 100,000 above and that could not be more wrong. No way! The road is narrow and only 4 blocks so if there was 100,000 people they would have been standing on top of each other, three deep. I would say there is 20,000 at most.

MANAGEMENT: Joe DiPasquale in my opinion, is the worst show director I have ever had the chance to work with in 35 years of doing shows. This was the first time we have done this show, and I sent him an email one week before the show to ask if he would have any objections to my daughter doing a painting demonstration. She sets up an easel in the tent (it requires no additional space from the show – we just organize differently) and does a quick watercolor. While he explained he did not want crowds to gather around the booth and hamper any sales for neighbors, he was openly hostile about being contacted one week prior and told me “There is no time for any of this!”. What??? No time to answer a question?

For someone who had no time to answer a question, he spent the next two days sending me nasty grams via email. I was taken back at his response because so many shows fall all over themselves for her to demo and this show has many art performances going on. Whatever, we were cool with not packing all the additional equipment to do that, but he just could not leave it alone because he read a “tone” into my emails that simply were not there. I apologized for upsetting him. He decided that he no longer wanted to talk to me as I wasn’t the artist, and frankly I wasn’t kissing his ring after he ripped me a new one in 3 emails.

However, I handle all the show entries, follow-up, marketing, website, billing, shipping and supply orders so that she can simply create. Most artists need an assistant of some kind to make the wheels on the bus move.

When he realized I was still in the picture, he trolled my and my daughters Facebook pages. Since my daughter had not changed her city of residence since graduating from college he sent her an email saying that she needed to send him a drivers license and utility bills with her name on it to prove she was a local resident in order to maintain her spot in the show. Knowing she had just graduated and had no utility bills in her name, it was clear to me that his motivation was to boot her from the show and keep her $325. I called my attorney, whose firm by chance is also a major sponsor of the show. He fired off a few emails to Mr. DiPasquale and he was forced to relent and leave her in the show. I did call him an ASS on my Facebook page and he wanted me to delete it. :) The only way he would have seen this is if he trolled my personal page as I did not tag him or his show. I did delete it for my daughters sake, however I stand by my comment.

Oh and in communication with my attorney he actually told him that his law firm has received a “spotlight of attention” based on their advertising in the festivals program for 17 years. What? Amazing chutzpach to say that to a sponsor. For someone who didn’t have time to answer a question he took a lot of time to be nasty and vindictive. Once we got there, he avoided us, because bullies’ are typically cowards in person, and he was no exception.

Lastly I will say that I did talk with all of my artist friends there, and I was stunned by all the people who told me that this did not surprise them. They had heard things about this guy but most were still exhibiting because they had kept their head down and :) didn’t ask any questions.

SALES: We did well because my daughter had a lot of press prior to the event, which the director, told me was because of her participation in his show – having nothing to do with her talent or my marketing skills. That media attention did not come about because of her participation in this show on any level…. We just timed it that way.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show:
BOTTOM LINE: If you have something off center, this is a good place for you. If you have done non-juried shows and want to begin with a juried one, this might be a good one to start with since the displays are more casual.

Additional Commentary on this Show:
We personally will never do this show again as long as the Director is involved in the show as being a volunteer does not give anyone the right to be malicious. Additionally I have spoken to a number of artists who all have told me that they too have had run-ins with the Director and have chosen, like us, never to do it again.

The URL of your profile on ArtFairInsiders.com. http://eafa.techriver.net/

Felix Eddy

Medium: Painting
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show:
2015
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $501-$2000
Price Range of your Work: 50-1000
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: 4
Ease of Participating: 4
Sales: 5
Overall: 5
Booth Fee vs. Your Sales Ratio: Good
Estimated Attendance: 501-10,000 people

Good Things about this Art Fair:
Great location, good neighborhood in Buffalo (bit nicer area than the Allentown festival there in June).

The variety of artwork is pretty awesome, and you get a greater mix of attendees (more young people)than some shows. The artwork is very varied, with more outsider and edgy artwork than you often see at shows, and it makes for a nice varied mix! All high quality, and well organized.

Nearby to a whole foods co-op where there is fresh food (in case that is important to you), and indoor bathrooms.

Bad Things about this Art Fair:
Load in and out and parking are a pain. The volunteers are abundant, but seemed mostly clueless and very young (HS kids).

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show:
It's a great show, especially if you have more contemporary work that appeals to younger folks, it's not a landscapes and flowers crowd.

Be ready to hike a long way to park your vehicle, and if you have a super large vehicle or trailer, I suggest getting in and out very early.

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?
Good show, I like it!

Nicole Johnson

Medium: Sculpture
Year you most recently exhibited at this Show:
2015
Your Estimated Sales at this Show: $2001-$5000
Price Range of your Work: $20-$300
Number of Years You have Exhibited in this Show:
3-5 times
Number of Years You have been doing Art Fairs overall: 3-5 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:
The crowds are pretty good rain or shine and I find sales to be great.

The volunteers are very helpful and often stop in your booth to see if you need a break.

Bad Things about this Art Fair:
Set up and break down can be pretty stressful. Tight street makes it even harder.

Advice to Other Artists Considering this Show:
This show offers a nice variety of work to the customers. There is a lot more edgy/whimsical work at this show than I have seen at other festivals which I find to be a nice change.

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

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