American Craft Council - Baltimore show E-mail



DATES: February 24-27, 2011



BOOTH COST (10x10): $1,360.00 and above




This is the best retail show on the East Coast.  Unlike any other large retail show, the qualityaccretail-1 of the work represented in Baltimore and the sheer number of artists exhibiting, pretty much assure any collector or shopper an ample choice from which to find something to buy.

The public show is so popular in Baltimore that one artist told me they that the serious collectors visit on Thursday and early Friday just to avoid the crowds on Saturday and Sunday.

And on the Saturday we visited the aisles were jammed.

For artists exhibiting at this show or thinking of applying, the size and popularity might be so excessive as to be a turnoff. Too many exhibitors mean extra competition, too many visitors usually translate into a lot of wasted time spent selling to people who aren’t really there to buy.

I get that, and as much as I think this show is great, it is too big. It’s probably the biggest retail show in America – at least the biggest I’ve seen. With 675+ artists, this show can be accretail-2overwhelming. I believe the show should end at the overhang where the “Alt-Craft” exhibitors were located. It’s kind of weird while walking through this bright, high ceiling exhibit hall, to suddenly find yourself make faced with the dark aisles where “Alt-Craft” is located.

My suggestion would be to move the “Alt-Craft” section into the main show section and incorporate them with the other artists. Don’t label them “Alt-Craft” – because this show is filled with other artists outside that section doing similar work – and have them pay the same amount for a booth as the other artists in the show.

The work by the artists in the Alt-Craft section this year was equal in quality and creativity to the other artists in the show.  The thing that sets them apart in the show is that they are selling their work from small tables, in a section that looks like a flea market, under a darkaccretail-3 overhang.

As much as I understand the marketing angle of an “Alt-Craft” section and “Green” artist designations, if I were one of the artists not in the “Alt-Craft” section, I would have a problem paying twice as much for a booth as those “Alt-Craft” artists.

Besides, for shoppers attending this show to buy a gift, as I was, it’s about finding something you like (and can afford) then it is about labels.

The support that the city of Baltimore gives this show year in and out – and the costly marketing program put forth by the ACC - is evident in the show’s attendance figures; an exhibiting artist can pretty much count on seeing upwards of 20,000 potential buyers walking the aisles in the four days the show is open.

So if you are an artist thinking of applying to this show, and who has the work that will be accepted, that alone should convince you to send in your application.




#2 bruce erdman 2012-03-14 10:26
I did the 2012 show and have to say that had I not sold two high ticket items the show would have been a bust. Few in my aisle were happy with their sales. People were there but they were clinging to the center of the aisles.

I hadn't done this show since 1983 so it was more of a sentimental trip than anything else. I was amazed at the extremely well done work in many media just like I remembered it from back in the day. Being there was a good thing and I would go back if the gods of fine craft allow it.
#1 bruce erdman 2011-03-19 22:52
Great sounding review. I'm gonna try to get in next year.

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