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good shows/bad shows

updated mon 30 sep 96


Jeanette Harris on mon 9 sep 96

Hi, Clayfolk,
We are preparing to launch an annual show dedicated solely to the
sale/promotion of pottery and I would appreciate some collective input:

What are good examples of presentation/selling the show to the public?
(We have piggy-backed onto an established annual event in order to
tap into the
crowd that turns out. And, this is an inside show.)

What did the promoters do to make your participation in the show better?
such as,
information packets? What should be included?
local licencing information?
providing booth relief? Volunteers to sit booths for 20 minute
lounge area?
a *bank* to provide you with change?
take-down party?

What did the promoters do to bring in buyers and potential customers to the

Anything else that was done or that you would like to see done to make the
show better?
Entry fees (I know this has been discussed before and we have kept
ours down to a
bare minimum--enough for seed money for the next show in the early spring.)
Screening We have asked for photos or slides.)

you can answer either to the list or to me privately.

Jeanette Harris

Timothy N. Cusack on tue 10 sep 96

Jeanette - I suppose requirements etc. for a successful show might depend on the
size and type of show (is this a really competitive show with stringent
jurying?) you're planning on promoting. However, for local shows that I've been
involved in, there are a couple things that stick in my mind as being "vendor
friendly . 1.Many times I'm hauling, by myself, my own pottery and display and
those places that provide assistance - at no cost- to help me load and unload
my wares are much appreciated. Sometimes it has been high school students using
brute strength, other times it was tractors with trailer. 2. A Bank on location
for change would be great. 3.When you're setting up in the hours prior to
opening, free coffee and donuts for the vendors is always welcome. The best is
when they are brought to your site as it's hard to leave to go to an area to get
your morning fix when you're in the throngs of setting up. At one place, the Boy
Scouts came around with a wagon of juice, coffee and muffins for 50 cents. It
was a good fund raiser for them and convenient and reasonable for me to buy on
the spot. 4.One show that I participated in was running for the first time ever.
That morning, and again at lunch, they hired kids (cheap labor) to put small
flyers on vehicles around town and also at local restaurants & store checkout
counters. There were quite a few folks that showed up because of these flyers.
(There are always people that never read the local paper to find out what's
happening around town). 5.I always appreciate being able to fill out a vendor
evaluation of the show. However, these are only good if you truly intend to do
something with the results and change some things if the vendors collectively
feel strongly about something.
So good luck and have fun. Wish you were in my area!
Mary - in KC,KS

Norman R. Czuchra on tue 10 sep 96

At 06:29 PM 9/9/96 EDT, you wrote:
>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>What did the promoters do to make your participation in the show better
> local licencing information?(YES)
> providing booth relief? Volunteers to sit booths for 20 minute
>intervals.(YES-volunteer being the key) Most artists need to be in their
booths selling their work. This can be better accomplished if the show
committee designates "exhibitor only" Porta potties and "exhibitor only"
food lines.

Keep the show hours reasonable. Most show patrons come during whatever
hours you post.

10-6 on a Sat and 10-5 on a Sunday is sufficient.
>> a *bank* to provide you with change? (Exhibitors need to be their
own bank, a nice service if it doesn't drive up any exhibitior fees)
take-down party?(again, only if doesn't drive up the cost of the
fees and if there are a lot of local folk who won't be traveling after the show)

In the information packet, include a good map to the show site, detailed set
up info. a booth # and location map. If possible allowing set up the
previous afternoon.

Allow at least 10 x 10' with at least 2' between booths. Also don't put the
booths right up against the wall, or back to back without allowing storage
space. Design the space with easy access to set up and breakdown.

It is my experience that most artists show consideration in set up and
breakdown periods. However there are always those artists who believe that
the world must stop for them when they are setting up and breaking down.
Make it clear that one needs to unload their van, move it out of the way and
then set up. And then have someone around to keep people moving and to
enforce it. Or make sure there's pleanty of room to get around other vans
so no one gets held up.

Have exhibitors understand that if they bring children and pets that they
need to supervise them, keep them out of the booths and set up patterns and
understand that an art show is a place of business. It might be a fun
business, but it is also serious business for those of us who make a living
selling our work. Having children at an art show can be done to benefit
parents and their children as long as parents are responsible for them.

Ask exhibitors to leave the music at home. My passion for loud 20th century
serious music or opera is an irritant to someone with a passion for jazz.
>What did the promoters do to bring in buyers and potential customers to the
>show? Involved the local service and women's organizations. ie; at an
"apple festival" the women's clubs sold apple pies. Asked a local garden
club to arrange flowers in pottery vases. Offered a door prize. Combined
the event with a fund raiser for a soup kitchen. Sold soup in a handmade
donated bowl to raise $.

Newspaper articles about the "service"aspect of the show. Articles about
making a living as a potter etc. This is not paid advertising, just good
information. Have people demonstrate on the local "farm" morning shows.
Have the local classical radio station advertise the event using the "soup
bowl" sale as the way around the non profit show status. Involve the Boy
and Girl Scouts as a service project, unloading and loading. They have
parents. Allow other service organizations to sell food and drink.
>Anything else that was done or that you would like to see done to make the
>show better?
> > Entry fees (I know this has been discussed before and we
have kept
>ours down to a >bare minimum--enough for seed money for the next show in
the early spring.) Keep as low as possible. Get corporate sponsers. Phone
companies are rabid right now to access the public. Let them set up a booth
away from the art. They'll pay.
> Screening We have asked for photos or slides.
On slides, be aware that there are people who buy other potters work, take
slides of it and use them in a jury. Require the following:

l. the work must be designed and made (no buy - sell) by the artist
submitting slides.
2. Require that the artist submit the percentage of work typified by
the slides and that the slides represent the work which will be exhibited.
3. Ask for a display photo.
>Jeanette Harris

I'm sure that there are lots of other ideas from other artists which will
help. These are just a few things which I want to happen when I do a show.
Hope it helps.

Candace Young>
/Candace Young & Norm Czuchra /
/Bay River Pottery /
/P.O. Box 394, 107 Water Street /
/Bayboro, NC 28515-0394 /
/(919) 745-4749 /
/Email Address: /
/Specializing in Raku Seascapes, Carved and Pierced Stoneware /
/Studio hours by appointment, (if we're here, we're open) /

Don Sanami on tue 10 sep 96

I,ve read reams about "venders" and the "business " of pottery but
very little about how the viewer feels about the show or what the viewer
would like to see. Canadian shows are continuing the practice of charging
admission. Somehow,I doubt a family of four+ could afford $20.00 to see
wares they could view for nothing in the local department store or
gallery.At the very least,good entertainment should be provided. Earlier
pottery shows had as a basic premise the concept of education of the
general public to the advantages of hand made objects...especially as a
means of irritating mass manufacturing. For many of us potting has been
virtually a lifes work rather than simply a means of financially living
up to the expectations of our teachers,famillies and middle-class
society.Artists in every media have a special and distinct role to play
and it is not to produce the merely meretricious in response to
consumerism or at the demands of marketing analists. Don &Isao on wed 11 sep 96

What fun: Putting together all the good aspects of many shows into one
bundle! Mary's suggestions were great. here are some more:
1. Good Food! Healthy stuff with some variety for vegetarians. One show I do
has kids come around to take your order for lunch, then delivers a tray and
picks it up later......heaven.
1a. Express craftspeople's line at the food concession.
2. A good show program with full info about each craftsperson:name address
3. Music during set up and break down.
4. Pre-show displays of participating craftspeople's work in prominent
locations in the region.
5. Press releases featuring pictures of crafts.
6.Good LARGE signage directing traffic to the location.
7. Craftspeople only bathrooms not available to the public.
8. Storage space for craftspeople.
9. Notices in all local calendars of events.

Am I asking too much?
Jennifer in Vermont