CraftWestport 2011 E-mail




DATES: November 19-20, 2011


ATTENDANCE: 4,000 (Artrider)

BOOTH COST (10x10): $545




craftwestport-1As you drive in and around Westport – as one tends to do if they totally ignore the voice on the GPS and decide to “wing-it” - you can easily see why this area is a ripe location for a craft show.

You can almost hear the historical homes and developments call out “I need something handmade by an artisan to fill an empty nook I have in the corner of the living room . . . and I need it now!”

Since this was my first trip to this show in Westport, I relied heavily on speaking with artists that have been exhibiting here over the years for some input on how the show has or hasn’t changed since Artrider took over the management of the show from the Westport Young Women’s League (who are still involved in sponsoring the show) and the overall quality and attendance of this year’s show compared to others.

One of the things that stand out to me about this show is that it represents a confluence of styles; mainly a large representation of contemporary crafts with more than a few traditional/country exhibitors mixed in.

According to some of the artists I spoke with, this has always been the case. Although most Artrider shows are juried towards contemporary crafts – and are promoted as such – it’s a good move to maintain a style mix that has been successful in the past and is what the regulars of CraftWestport expect.

On the Saturday morning (around noon) that I attended the show, I could tell show was just starting to get it’s legs. The parking lots at Staples High School were beginning to fill. craftwestport-2It’s kind of an interesting parking setup because shoppers enter from a side entrance, and the lots are on both ends.

Artrider makes it easy on its show visitors by providing a school bus (appropriately) shuttle between the lots and the show.

The only negative comment I can make regarding the show is that before you enter the craft/art section of the show, you pretty much have to go through the Specialty Foods section.

It’s got to be pretty much a downer for an artist to see shoppers with bags full of “goodies” and munching on free samples walk past their booth.

Nowadays, most shoppers shop a craft show on a limited budget, and much of that can be eaten up (pun intended) by the time they walk in the hall.

That aside, if you are an artist thinking of applying to this show, there really isn’t a downside. The show has a history and has continued to be successful in attracting visitors. It’s a show that attracts high quality work and is affordable; and it is a two day show (there is no wasted slow day) which helps keeps the cost down.

craftwestport-3If you do this show though, in addition to your expensive work, you have to have work that is affordable. This a show where shoppers are looking to buy holiday gifts, so having a diverse line sure ups your chances for a successful weekend.

Finally, the folks at Artrider have a solid reputation of putting together quality shows, and treating artists well; and since they took over the management of CraftWestport have proven that this show is no different to their others in that regard.




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