Greater Charleston Fine Arts Festival E-mail



DATES: October 29-30, 2011


ATTENDANCE: open gate

BOOTH COST (10x10): $375




What do you, a show producer, do when you plan a fine arts festival, find a nice outdoor location in an affluent suburb of a large city, attract quality artists, spend money on advertising, get decent whether and . . . . nobody shows up?

charleston-1Ok, not exactly nobody, but certainly not the crowds both the exhibitors and artists were hoping they’d see.

Paragon Events, the producers of the Greater Charleston Fine Arts Festival, experienced what a lot of producers experience staging a festival the first year – emptiness. But that shouldn’t stop them from pursuing this for another year.

From the artists we spoke with, there seemed to be a genuine need for a Fall show like this in the Charleston area – if not downtown Charleston (which was the suggestion of many). It’s proven that the residents of Charleston and the surrounding suburbs support the arts.

The Piccolo Spoleto Festival, which takes place over 17 days in May-June, and the craft shows that are part of the event, is attended by arts appreciandos from in and out of South Carolina.

So there is definitely proof that shows such as the Greater Charleston Fine Arts Festival can/will succeed.

While I didn’t have any problem with the location of the show – Patriot’s Point is a visitor’s destination in an of itself – many of the exhibitors we spoke with thought the show would be a success if it were held in downtown Charleston. It’s something I’m sure artists are now weighing in their decision on doing this show in 2012. The challenge for the producers of this show would be to find a venue and make the costs work.

If you are an artist considering applying for the Greater Charleston Fine Arts show next year there will probably be a good chance – provided you’re a skilled artist – there will be plenty of spaces available. Only one-third of those artists who responded to the CSN exhibitor survey stated that they would apply to the 2012 show.

This shouldn’t deter you, however, because many first time shows stumble out of the block only to find legs and become a success.

If your based near Charleston or are doing shows the previous/following weekend nearby, this show might be worth the stop. As it is now, there aren’t many shows that are slam dunks.

Contact Paragon Events and find out if they have plans to move the festival closer or into downtown Charleston - they are now researching different venues and partnerships. If they do, it could be the thing that jumps starts this show.



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