Glen Ellyn: Highlights, lowdowns and wtfs

The key phrase for this show seems to be “mixed bag”.

So here’s the thing. I’d have had a totally crap weekend if not for two customers, both of whom dropped a wad on spendier things without blinking. Which is the sort of thing I keep hoping for in the western ‘burbs. People with dough who aren’t afraid of spending it.
Was this a fluke?

A painter I met at Custer Street was also doing this show. Her work is wonderful. Bright, accessible, happy. She did really poorly. And a lot of the other vendors I talked to were having a totally crap weekend.
On the other hand, a copper sculptor from Rockford was a multiple offender at this show, along with several art photographers who also did well there.
It’s definitely a more conservative crowd, but the age range is broad, which tends to be a better bet. Lots of retirees means lots of people on fixed incomes who aren’t spending money. Which, good plan if you’re a retiree, but bad for people trying to sell stuff to make a living if the show is mostly attended by people treating it as a museum rather than a shopping trip.

We managed to pull one out, but whether that was an accident or I’d do well to add this show to my list is yet to be determined.

As previously stated, the Lions Club are fantastic hosts. Endlessly helpful the whole way through. The vendor amenities alone are probably worth another go ’round just to see what happens. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to not have to load up my car each night. A locked boat house equipped with alarm system served as overnight storage for vendors, saving us the aggravation of having to deal with playing musical cars in the limited space there was for vehicles. When it started to pour, the volunteers came around and asked if anyone needed help securing their wares. During load out I had to shoo away several guys trying to help me tear down. I brought a booth monkey, so I aimed them at people who were alone, or having a hard time with the heavy lifting, because my monkeys are brawny and I myself am a seriously burly chick who has no trouble flinging 200 lbs of tent weights around. Though when I’m making my third trip to the car with Rubbermaid tubs and milk crates and I’m watching a jeweler with one suitcase containing all their stock, I get kind of jealous.

So, bottom line is I’ll probably give this show another shot. Once is a fluke (Saturday I sold one of the big collages, which made my nut despite the crappy forecast), but twice may be a thing (Sunday a couple came in and bought three spendier pieces, FSM love ’em).
I aim to find out. Talking with one of the Lions guys after packing up, I was told that Glen Ellyn is actually not un-hip, and there may be a market for me there. This after he asked me what my demographic is, and I told him that I do best in Rogers Park, where the population is mostly a lib arts educated blue collar one, and that the farther I get from the city the less it’s been worth the schlepping for me. He was also like the sixth person who told me I’d probably do really well at the Boystown show in September. Clearly Lakeview strikes people as my kind of weird. Note to self: Recon Lakeview show.

So that’s all my big shows for this season.
The score as it currently stands is;
Schaumburg – Small, conservative crowd in a fixed income age group. Hardly any real buyers. Not worth the schlepping for me. Someone with fewer skulls and less glitter may have done better.
Custer Street, Evanston – More flea market than art fair despite their claims otherwise. Bigger pain in my ass than it’s worth. The size of the crowd should have meant better sales but somehow didn’t. Something wrong there. Artists don’t seem to do well there, but sellers of cheap manufactured shite seem to do just fine.
Glenwood, Chicago – Epic win, just like last year. Great crowd, tight organization. Not juried, but definitely curated, as there was careful consideration given to placement of vendors and how much of what kind of art was represented. Great volunteers.
Glen Ellyn – Not too shabby. Not too impressive either. Crowd somewhat thin but well mixed age and education-wise. Worth the price of admission and the organization made up for a lot. There’s a balance between profit and pain in my ass, you see. Since pain in my ass was very minimal, I’ll probably give this one another go next year and see if my two whales were an isolated incident or if I can count on at least a couple of bigger ticket sales to make up for the thinness of the crowd.

I’ve got three smaller shows and a gallery gig coming up, but that’s my big shows for this season.
Tasks ahead, find spring shows that don’t suck.

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