My primary purpose was to look at Display. Both the manner of presenting the artwork itself, and the pavilion booth shelters. To the latter, we saw a fair amount of EZUp, and a lot of LightDome, plus a smattering of others. We made notes on a couple of those, and I've followed up looking for one of them. Site is book-marked, company is Undercover, and their setup is very intriguing.
Many of the artists are using the rigid styles of display. The carpet covered ones are common. Mesh walls are next most common, and the LightDome company sells walls. LightDome is interesting because they are in Ocala, so local. There is a change (one artist mentioned this) they may rent pavilions if someone is interested in trying them out. Quite a few artists made their own displays. These ranged from folding louvered doors to hard flats from 2x2 covered in luann door-skin ply. Most artists are using some type of rigid bin for matted work display/sale. Possibly a dozen used the folding racks of some style.
Interestingly enough, nearly all the pavilions at this show are set up very similar to what we did at Kanapaha Spring Garden Festival. To whit, open to the street, with some variation of both side walls and the back wall set up for display of hanging art. A lot of the back walls had openings, and back awnings on their pavilions for shade and a place for the artist to store additional stock as needed. We've known for quite some time we need something like this for showing in Baja Jorja. While it wasn't extraordinarily hot today, it did get hot (temps when we left Hoggetowne 30-ish C high 80's F). Hot enough, in fact, that contributed to our fatigue. Needed more fluid intake, we did. Bad us.
Notably, perhaps as much as 14% of the Santa Fe Show booth space (call it 100 of 700 possible booth spaces) were empty. This, for one of the major Southeast and definitely one of the major Florida shows, and I don't remember ever going before and seeing this many empty spaces. I stipulate it's been about five years or more since I've gone. And while we did see some people walking about with bags holding purchases, we did not see a lot of them.
We didn't buy anything other than lunch ourselves. Bad us. What we did see, often, were card sets made by the artists with their own work. I think you know what I'm referring to; mailing cards, thank you cards, thinking about you cards, those things. Something we've been thinking to make as well. For, say, $5 one gets a sample of the piece one admired, plus perhaps some others, and in something potentially 'useful' as in more than looking at and enjoying.
Considering this show, a juried show with a reputation for being one of the best, as mentioned, in the Southeast, and Florida in particular, to be that empty... quite a sign of the times. People aren't buying art, they're buying groceries (justifiable – I've said before I know I'm competing for the 'beer money' not the grocery money or the housing money). Thing is, I've had it in my head that this show is a challenge to get into, and I walked away from this year thinking, hey, could-a should-a. However, no regrets, as I'm not of a mind that I'm truly ready for such a show, if only for the amount of inventory to be able to set up and (potentially) sell. However, I am now thinking that next year will be the time to make my first attempt at getting into this show.
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