American Craft Show / Contemporary ArtFair E-mail



DATES:  November 19-21, 2010



BOOTH COST (10x10):  $1,385.00





I must admit that I really didn’t expect too much of this combination craft/fine art fair going in. Not because I didn’t feel there would be an ample promotional campaign to attract shoppers; American Art Marketing always puts a strong effort advertising their shows.


American Crat Show 2010

Not because there was another show going on a short cab ride away; New York City is the home to 7 million people – I’m sure there are plenty of prospective shoppers to go around. And not because of the effect of a slow economy; that’s become a given.


My expectations were low going in because I just never believed that a craft/art retail show located on the banks of the Hudson River at the Javits Center, operating without any additional draw, is going to attract a very large audience.


New York City is a city of neighborhoods. I lived there for six years and can tell you that I, and most of the people I knew who were art enthusiasts, rarely ventured outside our neighborhood to shop for craft/art gifts. We could count on the many gift shops on nearby or street fairs to find what we wanted.


To produce a successful show anywhere you have to reach beyond collectors/enthusiasts and attract regular shoppers. A show like this one in the suburbs is an event, in New York City it is just one of thousands of events.


I guess the mentality is why travel all the way over to the very Mid-Town West Side when you can find something over here on the East Side, Upper West Side, SoHo, etc., especially when just getting in will cost you fifteen bucks.


Which made it a bit shocking to me on Saturday afternoon when, as I was riding the escalator down onto the show floor, I was greeted with rather busy aisles.


Sure, this show was a victim to some of the cosmetic problems you get when you have an intermediate-sized show in a very large space. The floors were concrete, the back of the show was large gap and then a row of draping, and the aisles were so wide that even when there were an acceptable number of shoppers walking them they could tend to seem vacant.


American Craft Show 2010

But for someone looking to buy a well-made gift of handmade craft or fine art, this show has plenty to offer. Unlike many first time shows, the producers were able to attract seasoned, top-notch craftsmen and artists who offered an affordable to expensive range of work.


When I visit craft/art shows I do so as a shopper. My budget doesn’t allow me to be a collector, although through the years I’ve put together a pretty decent, albeit inexpensive, collection of work.


This show was tailor made from me – affordable work offered by top-notch artists.


For artists thinking of applying to next year’s show, you would have to be encouraged by the level of success of this first-year show. If the producers can build on the attendance from the 2010 show, which means getting the promotional wheels rolling now, the show could achieve some staying power.


The producer offers enough booth packages to make it worthwhile for those artists that are even bit apprehensive about applying. And walking the show I noticed that there was enough diversity in styles to make it a possibility for a wide range of artisans and artists with talent who want to apply.


American Craft Show 2010

I must admit I wasn't quite sure about the  special salon/sections – particularly in the Craft Show. Even in larger retail shows this doesn’t have much an impact to regular shoppers except to notice, as I did with the furniture salon, that there are a lot of similar work congregated in one section.


As great and creative as most of these artists are, they still offer much of the same types of products (ie. a table, a necklace, etc.). The difference is mostly in style/medium, etc. If I were shopping for a coffee table or cabinet in the furniture salon, there was some really good work to choose from, if I could get over the uncomfortable feeling of spending time with one artist talking about their work (including price) and then doing the same a moment later with a second artist while the first one clearly watches me. It can’t be too thrilling for an exhibitor to experience this either.


Personally I like the categories spread out as best as possible so, as a shopper, I can debate what I am going to buy without the feeling I will be watched by an artist who sells a very similar item from the next booth over.


I don’t know, maybe that’s something I should share with my therapist . . .


All in all, from my own personal experience and from what I heard from some of the artists that I spoke with, this show was a success.


It would be great if a show of this caliber could get a foothold in NYC and just keep getting better. It takes a lot of work, and a very loud voice, to be heard in this city.




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