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Show Review Archives > 2008 > SEPTEMBER
 

July 4-6, Berkshires Arts Festival, Great Barrington, MA

July 4-6, Berkshires Arts Festival, Great Barrington. Contact: American
Art Marketing, PO Box 480, Slate Hill, NY 10973;
phone 800-834-9437.
E-mail: aam@warwick.net.
Web site: www.americanartmarketing.com or www.berkshiresartsfestival.com.
Application fee: $10.
Space fee: $465-$1,150.
Space size: 7x9 to 10x20.
Exhibitors: 165.
Admission: $10, $9 for seniors, $5 for students. 

By Shoshana Matthews

Maryland Reporter

E-mail: shoshana@handwovens.biz

Medium: Fiber 

   This was my first year at this show, and I have to say I was favorably impressed - with the promoter, the venue and the public. Most artists who had done the Festival in the past complained that the crowds were down and sales were way down. So what else is new this year?! But there were enough positive aspects to make me want to do this one again.

   Show organizers gave us excellent directions to the show site. It sounds banal, but that seems to be rare among promoters these days. I got one set of directions to another show earlier in the year that read in part, "... make a right turn and go a ways."¯ Anyone care to define "a ways"¯? Directions to this show were precise and accurate. That's a welcome feature for those of us coming from out of the area.

   The crowds, though thin, were art savvy and obviously there for an art show, not a craft show. And jurying was right along those lines. In a quick walk of the entire show, I saw little or no low-end crafts and some very fine art.

   Setup was pretty easy. There were three locations: outside in your own tent, inside large tents provided by the promoter and inside the ski lodge. The tent people could drive to their site, or to the side of the big tents, to unload. Those of us in the lodge could drive right up to the building and dolly in a short distance. And the same goes for teardown.

   Richard Rothbard, the promoter, was around all weekend checking on artists and solving most problems pretty quickly. Sure beats those shows I've done where I never saw the promoter for the duration of the show.

   Crowds, on the other hand, weren't spectacular. They weren't even great. Friday's crowds were steady, and they were buying, and most of the artists with whom I spoke were reasonably happy with sales. This turned out to be the best day of the weekend, however, as Saturday dawned wet and the rain continued pretty steadily until about noon. But I don't know whether this thinned the crowds substantially. Sunday's weather was good, but the crowds weren't. Sales for me and most with whom I spoke were slim to none on Saturday and Sunday.

   Total sales for most artists were not very good. Many were satisfied but not happy. Some didn't make any sales. Some didn't make back their expenses. That's the normal story for this year. Some were very happy, but not that many. However, most will be back next year, as the potential for this show is terrific. We just need to get this economy straightened out.