18 June 2009

Show Report: Wells Street Art Festival

This past weekend, June 13-14, was the Wells Street Art Festival, just north of downtown Chicago, and put on by Special Events Management.  This was my first time at Wells Street, and my second show with these promoters.  Like the nearby Old Town Art Fair, held on the same weekend, Wells Street has an admission fee ($7-$10), which is supposed to be a "donation", but I don't think you can get in without paying.

Saturday was a very long day for the artists, as booth set-up could only occur in the morning.  I got up at 5 AM to drive into town for my 6:45 time slot.  In theory you can drive right up to your booth to unload, but once inside the street barriers, all traffic came to a complete stop.  I sat for 25 minutes before deciding to dolly my stuff the 40 feet (didn't realize I was that close!!) to my booth.  Twice I had to move my truck up as the line moved (I drove about 30 feet each time, seriously!), but overall the unloading was rather painless.  When I was accepted to this show I had the option of spending $60 for a spot in a reserved parking lot, which I did, and that turned out to be an excellent decision.  First of all, I did not have to spend any time or mental anguish trying to find a parking spot where you can leave your vehicle for 12 hours.  Secondly, the parking lot was only one long block from my booth, which meant that at the end of the weekend, I could dolly my stuff to the truck rather than waiting for the street to open up to traffic.  

Saturday also became a long day because of the weather.  The morning was rainy and cold, and I know several people, including me, got wet shoes in the morning, which meant that by the end of the day (8PM) we were quite chilled.  Thank goodness I thought to bring a fleece hat and gloves!  I have made a note to myself that in similar situations in the future that I need to pack at least a spare pair of dry socks, if not a complete change of shoes.

So, other than the cold rain for the first half of Saturday, how was the show?  From my perspective, it was a good show.  Other than a few booths which should NOT have been juried in, the caliber of artist was quite high.  I had pretty good sales, considering the weather and the economy.  I had mentally prepared myself for an arduous set-up and tear-down, but both went more smoothly than I anticipated.  I will definitely apply to this show again.

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