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Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

Fancy 5 Star Hotel - Community Recreation Hall - Hay Field

To you, as an artist considering a show, does the VENUE make a difference? Not the geographical location, just the type of facility at which the show is held.

Let's say, for example, this is a one day show an hour's drive from your home that will be heavily advertised throughout the community and bear industry.

Please share your thoughts...

bearlyart Canna Bear Paint
NY
Posts: 749

I wouldn't make a decision to attend a show based on what building it was (or wasn't) in.  But I think the venues affect other things that are important... cost, security, ease of parking, local accommodations, and so on.  Obviously some venues will be less expensive than others for the promoter, and I would hope that savings would be passed to the artists.  And some venues offer security, while others do not... the artists can set up the night before, the door gets locked and everything is safe. 

I still love the thought of having a bear show in a mall, which would be completely insecure but have loads of parking and other advantages.  Think of all those wonderful masses of people walking by that could learn all about artist bears <drool>...

And do let me know when you set up a heavily advertised show an hour from my home  bear_grin

Hugs,
Kelly

chrissibrinkley Posts: 1,836

Fancy 5 star hotel:  Cost is my first thought. They never have great lighting, and I can't stand the curtains and carpeting most times :lol:

Rec Hall...depends on the community.  Some are amazing, some not so hot.  A nice hall within an active and enthusiastic community could be fantastic.

Hay field:  I live in a "historic" touristy area with lots of events taking place in/on "fields/grounds" or historic parks, so as long as the weather is cooperative outside events can draw in great things. 

An hour drive away from me with heavy community involvement...I'd sit in or outdoors.  In my area...being stuck in a hotel could really ruin an event.  Something held in any one of the foot trafficed historic towns, even coinciding with another event, could be golden.  Malls in my area would be horrid.  Unless you were smack in the holiday season chances are you'd see more teens than collectors.

I'm only going off of what I've heard and read...but I'll say it again... I think shows aren't doing so hot 'cause they're the same thing in the same town with the same tapped out consumer. The wells runnin' dry situation.  Tradition is one thing, but beating a dead horse is just painful for all involved.  I think there are too many untapped markets and collectors to not try new venues and new approaches.

:hug:
~Chrissi

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413
Website

Daphne..I absolutely think it matters..because let's face it most folks go out for the day and if it's in some scummy dive with a sticky carpet and a faint smell of lager hanging in the air ( oh yes ..I have done that fair) it's not conducive to a family day out.

I think that it's nice to exhibit where there is something else interesting..and perhaps good food on offer. A reason to stay..rather than a reason to go.

lemmonbears Lemmon Bears
Oregon Coast
Posts: 303

The venue would make no difference to me.  If the bear show was within an hours drive and well advertised, I would be there.  We don't have many shows in my area and I wouldn't care where it was held. 

Joan

Aleta - The Silly Bear The Silly Bear
Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,119
Website

Here's an idea I've been tossing around for a wee bit.  What if you were to hold a bear show in an artist's home.  Of course, there would have to be plenty of parking.  I know there are other things to think about too......

What gave me the idea was having our GBW, Portland Paws Summer Picnic at my home this past summer.  Everyone was so interested in seeing my studio.  I've been thinking about doing a private, "By Invitation Only", show ever since.   

Collectors get an up close and personal tour of an artists studio and perhaps really "get connected" with the art of the bear. 

Warmest hugs, :hug:
Aleta

edie Bears by Edie
Southern Alberta
Posts: 2,068

Well, as some one who has had to drive or fly and stay overnight at every bear show I've done, to me it is MUCH more convenient if the show is in the hotel where I am staying - no driving around in strange (as in unfamiliar  :crackup: ) cities, or trying to get everything from your hotel room into a cab to get to the show - to say nothing of all the things I inevitably forget in the hotel room and then you can't just run back upstairs to get it! If it is a weekend convention, being in the same place can give you a bit more "down" time too if you need it.
I also like the idea of it being in a secure location so you can get all set up ahead of time. I've done a mall show - and wouldn't be in a hurry to do another one! Too many lookers - AND TOUCHERS! - who haven't the least interest, or respect for the work in bears! The fact that we were right beside the food court too didn't help any as far as trying to make sure your bears stayed in the shape you brought them - think all the little kids and sticky fingers, or adults with a cup of coffee or a pop in one hand as they are bending over to look at something! Yikes!

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

Edie... I have to agree with you on the mall show. I've done two shows in malls and am done with that. It does sound like you'd attract a lot of new collectors into our corner of the world but there are indeed more sticky fingers and touchy feelies and looks of horror on peoples faces when they see the price tag than I care to deal with.

Perhaps in a wealthy area at a classy mall???

Chrissi... I agree with you as to why good shows are not doing so hot now. I think a bear show in historic PA along side another event would be so wonderful... early fall maybe... just gorgeous! I'd do it just to go to 'historic' PA.... amish country??  You find the venue, I'll organize the show! bear_happy  bear_grin  Kelly... are we getting any closer to your neck of the woods?

Queen... we must have been having the same thought at the same time... I was just sewing and thinking that I'd like to do one more show locally, a craft show even, before Christmas. Then I got to thinking, I have enough crafty friends that we could put an open house together right here at home! I know of 3 bear artists who'd do it along with some other crafts to draw in more people. Laura Lynn and I talked with Jared while in Schaumburg about having an open house in one's home. He had tons of great ideas!!! Hmmmmm......

Jenny... good point, and food always makes 'em stay!

Joan
... that's the spirit!

psichick78 Flying Fur Studios
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,073

Great question Daphne! i was wonder the EXACT same thing myself of course.

jenny, I really like your idea of something else being there, a reason to stay. love it.

As I'm trying to think of where to hold a bear show in my city, I'm wondering where would be good and everyones imput has helped GREATLY!

keep the feedback coming, and Daphne, keep the good questions coming LOL

melissa Honeythorpe Bears
Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 1,789
Website

As long as the venue itself is clean and adequately lit - I don't mind.  I think a key consideration is can people get there easily, is there somewhere for them to eat/sit/talk with others that is comfortable if they are visiting for a day.

As a collector or buyer at a craft/bear show....yes if it's a conference centre/hotel it does "seem" flashier than if it's a school or community halland I might not go to a show that I think is hokey but my honest opinion it's all about atmosphere and long term planning.

You can't expect to put on a show and have it be an absolute sell out blast the first time it's in town....but if you create something with great atmosphere and product, word of mouth will spread and the next year those people's friends will come and so forth.  Equally, if you're doing a long-term show and it is stagnating -people will stay away - their expectations will be that if it was worse last year than the year before, then it will be as bad or worse this year.  Been through it both ways and I know that a "bad" show can be turned around, just as a good show can lose it.

and that completely doesnt answer your question.....sorry!

I Love Teddies South Florida
Posts: 1,684
Website

I know you asked for artists' opinions, but I'm offering a collector's opinion too.  I think the location does make a difference.  I've been to some shows that are depressing.  The room is drab and there's just no life.  DH and I went to one show and he couldn't even stay in the room because he said it was depressing.  Maybe if there were decorations, music or something else, it would be better?

bearlyart Canna Bear Paint
NY
Posts: 749

LOL!  I read the question as more of an "all other things being equal" question, not as a "would you rather exhibit in a clean, well-lit hotel, a dumpy tavern or a sewage treatment plant?".  Yes, of course, basic things like lighting and cleanliness WOULD affect my decision, that being the case.

OK, better skip the mall idea, too.  The thought of introducing that many people to the artist bear world was just too appealing, but I suppose that attacking the general bear-fondling public with Handi-wipes is not an option.

bear_tongue
Kelly

chrissibrinkley Posts: 1,836
Aleta - The Silly Bear wrote:

Here's an idea I've been tossing around for a wee bit.  What if you were to hold a bear show in an artist's home.  Of course, there would have to be plenty of parking.  I know there are other things to think about too......

What gave me the idea was having our GBW, Portland Paws Summer Picnic at my home this past summer.  Everyone was so interested in seeing my studio.  I've been thinking about doing a private, "By Invitation Only", show ever since.   

Collectors get an up close and personal tour of an artists studio and perhaps really "get connected" with the art of the bear. 

Warmest hugs, :hug:
Aleta

This is a great idea.
There was a group who did this in my parents neighborhood.  They did by invitation and minor advertising.  The whole entrance and first floor was turned into the showcase.  I was really young, but I remember thinking how cool it was.  I've thought about doing it myself. 
I've done jewelry home shows...you'd be surprised how many persons you can invite to an event when you sit down and think about it. Mail simple informative postcards ...asking each to bring a friend is an added bonus.  Those who bring a friend are added to a "raffle..maybe a basket with a small bear in the middle (???)"....there are TONS of things to do with a home show.  And aside from the cost of postage, drinks and a few basic seasonal finger foods (away from furry ones) the cost for a weekend or evening event is minimal....can't hurt to try...even if you only make a couple connections. I was thinking of doing it with 2-3 other artists, not necessarily bear artists.


Kelly ~ images of attacking mallies with handi-wipes is too funny!!! :crackup:  :crackup:  If I did do something in a mall the bears would have to be behind plexiglass (little bears hiding behind Starbcuks and Cinnabon smudged plexiglass would be ok) :crackup:

:hug:
~Chrissi

bearhug07 Strange Bears
Sydney
Posts: 444

For a few years running I actually held an "exclusive" gallery show. Each artist could only make 3 bears that one OOAK's and they had be kept strictly secret. Only a small number of artists were "invited" to exhibit, the show only went for about 4 hours and there was great competition among the collectors to buy these bears.  The bears were set up on small tables and the artists were NOT to stand behind but free to mingle as all sales were handled at a central table by me and small "adopted" signs were set on the bears which could not be taken until the show closed.

This background is to explain that the show was considered to be "exclusive", "expensive" etc BUT I held it in a wedding marquee admittedly in the grounds of one of our historic buildings but is was still a glorified tent..........but the natural lighting wa great and the wooden dancing floor was perfect and so was access......also as it was a historic tourist building the parking was terrific. One point the marquee was permanent so id did have heating and paths etc too it and a as I said before a full wooden floor.

But compared to other sites it was not expensive at all.......plus I took the mid morning to mid afternoon so they could still set up for a night wedding which they thought was great and they costed it for me on that basis.

Plus the collectors thought is was great and often ask me when I am going to restart that show at that venue........they loved the venue and the lighting to see the bears.........

So no venue doesn't make a difference the quality of the traders does set the credibility of the show.

bearhug07 Strange Bears
Sydney
Posts: 444

Oh I just thought I'd add another point I provided heaps of chairs for "the other halves" and free tea and coffee..which everyone had to sit and drink..not wander around the bears with ..I put aside a small area for this. It was actually near me and one year I had a wonderful time listening to two husbands, who's wives I knew were big spenders at bear shows, comparing notes as to how they coped with, 1/ their wives spending habits, 2/ living with bears and 3 the general boredom of the bear shows. I had to admit to being chuffed that they gave that show as the top one to attend.........but then I considered it wa because it was over the quickest of all shows and they got to sit througout and get coffee!!!

Oh well ........... my head did expand for about 30 seconds!!!

carsoncreations Carson Creations
Macomb, IL
Posts: 252
Website

Daphne,

Yes ... venue is important.    Personally, I like a show that is held in a very nice atmosphere ... most collectors and artists too, love to see nice, clean facilities that are "special"  ... after all, the collectors have saved their bear money to go to a show to choose "the one speical bear" and are expecting to be entertained with beautiful surroundings, something that might be a bit "nicey nicey" even ....which makes the chosen bear even more special as it was purchased at this magnificent showplace.   

Seating and refreshments are nice too, but should be separate from the bears.  A comfortable place should be available to rest and contemplate teddy bear purchases and visit with fellow collectors to compare their "prizes".

I feel a show should make both the collector and artist feel special ..... and one way is to have beautiful surroundings that compliment the artistry of the bears.

Hey, I want to go see something really nice that I don't get to see every day in my hum drum life.  I want excitement, color, lots of smiling faces and so many wonderful bears that I can't make up my mind which one to take home!     

Hugs,

Wanda

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

Thank you all for your thoughts.....

I ask only because artists gripe about the cost of a table at a show. I won't pick here to do a break down of the cost to put on a show but if they truly realized that everything one does for a show has a price attached to it they'd understand that most if not all of their booth fee goes into putting on the show.

I will say this, and I don't speak for the entire US but in New England, for example, it costs on average $3000 to $5000 just for the rental of a ballroom in a 'nicey nice' or even just 'nice' hotel. That includes MAYBE 20 or 30 6' tables if they have them, if not the promoter pays to rent them. Most hotels won't let you bring in food for morning set up refreshments so you pay through the nose for their coffee and muffins.... easily $300 for a small show!

(OK, so I'm doing a partial breakdown of costs here.)

Then there's advertising which is a hefty amount if the show is promoted properly. And the cost of having copies made... copies of applications, flyers, postcards, show programs, door prize drawing slips, name badges & holders, etc. And postage for mailing out apps, reminders and 100's of postcards to a promoter's mailing list. Not everyone like to communicate by email only. Sandwich boards or large signs that go up around town the day of the show are costly too unless one gets out a piece of cardboard and a marker.

There's more ......

This stuff adds up.... I have the spread sheets to prove it!
And if I billed by the hour for my time in planning.... holy, moly.... the booth fees would be $900 a table!

Also keep in mind that from year to year, and especially the way things are going with shows, a promoter has no idea how many artists will actually sign up for the show. So the booth fee has to be based on the expected minimum which increases cost. If more artists participated in shows the booth fees, in many situations, would come back down instead of continuing to increase. But I'm not here to point fingers!  bear_original  :hug:

That's why I asked about venues.

There is a show in Massachussetts every August that takes place on the town common, it's a lovely setting. The show has been going on for years and is well attended. Folks set up tents on the lawn for their individual booths and stick it out no matter the weather (and it's usually very hot and muggy then!). I've never done the show only visited, but if a show can be done in a park the fee is likely to be less than $5000 and that savings can be passed on to the vendors. And the show I took over in Maine used to happen in a hot, sticky high school gymnasium. They only charge $500 and lots of artists used to do the show and there'd be a line of collectors at the door!

So, I'm just trying to get a feel for what artists and collectors want, trying to find ways to bring down the cost so more artists can afford to do a show yet not sacrifice on surroundings and atmosphere too much.

Heather, have the answers above helped you at all???????  :crackup:  I'm thinking we're never going to please everyone no matter what we do!!! But feedback is important and all of you have given very interesting and helpful viewpoints and ideas. Now we just have to go forward with a plan that keeps the best interests of the artists in mind....

psichick78 Flying Fur Studios
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,073

Sure they've helped Daphne.  Although, still have to go venue hunting.

I really like the idea of a place to sit and eat/drink. So that will help narrow down my choices, but like you say Daphne, will all the other costs involved in putting together a show, I think it's also important to keep things cheap. I dont' think I can expect people to pay through the nose for a table at a bear show in it's infancy, but at the same time, if the first year of the show feels shoddy, no-one will come back.

Also, i see that it is important to have lots of loading and parking for the artists, and I will for sure have a feedback sheet for them after the show. Guess that's the best I can do, that and tonnes of advertising.

Tough choices........it is hard to please everyone.

But yes, this has helped. You should my notes already........LOL

MerBear MerBear Originals
Brockville, Ontario
Posts: 1,540

Here's an idea I've been tossing around for a wee bit.  What if you were to hold a bear show in an artist's home.  Of course, there would have to be plenty of parking.  I know there are other things to think about too......


In our area (Thousand Islands, Ontario) there are three annual artist tours, Fall, Christmas & Spring. They are held in the different artist studios and the artists range from painters, potters, sculpters and some fabric artists. This is a juried process and the studio locations are juried as well. There is a central group that organizes it and it costs about $250 - $300 to take part. It is also well advertised both local and regional. The tours on scheduled for two days over a weekend and the advertising includes a map of all the studios and you can drive to visit the ones you are most interested in.

Marion

AndreaM Drea's Bears
Ontario
Posts: 576

As both an artist and a collector, I have been to shows in many different venues from hotels in major cities to  small 19th century homes/bed and breakfasts n small communities, from our local Legion to the artists home.  My favorite by far are the shows done in homes.  The bed and breakfast was a fun show to do, it was a 30 minute drive from my home.  They closed down the bed and breakfast part for the weekend and rather than renting a table, they rented a full room to each artist plus filled the kithchen, and hallways with artists, it was inexpensive and well advertised, plus for a small extra fee you could sleep there for the weekend .  This show ran for 7 years and was very sucessful. 
I've also gone to shows in artists home where the entire first floor was filled with bears.  It was by invitation only but new guests were welcome.  The kitchen was open and had lots of seating coffee tea juice and goodies whch were kindly asked to stay in the kitchen.  The kitchen was also filled with the artists' promotional material so the guests would have somethig to read and get to know the artists better.  There was also at this show survailance or the suggestion of it anyways to provide the bears with a bit of protection.  I always loved this show because I found the collectors felt more comfortable and we had more time to talk.  It wasn't 'obvious' we were trying to sell like standing behind your table at a show it was more like visiting some old friends in their home for the day.  You could see the bears in a home setting and imagine them in yours more easily, sitting on the back of a couch or in a bookcase.  The only trouble with this show was the travel, in the winter it was not a nice drive I had to take a two lane highway to get there passing open feilds and through blowing snow.  BLEH!

Anyways these are just some of my thoughts I thought you might find useful????

AndreaM

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

OH, I love the idea of a B&B.....each artist with their own show room.... and getting to sleep with the bears??? bear_grin  Perfect!! Hmmmm.... got my wheels spinning!

MKinsey/TBF Teddy Bear and Friends
Lancaster PA
Posts: 390

MKinsey/TBF Editor of Teddy Bear and Friends

For me, it's not the location quite as much as the work that goes into it -- the publicity, the judging of the exhibitors to create a good mix, the publicity, the organization of the room, the publicity, the creature comforts for exhibitors and collectors, the publicity... But, that said, some locations are more conducive to success than others.

- I prefer hotels, because they are so convenient, but understand that convenience comes with a price. And the decorations can be eradic.
- The one high-school gym show I went to was very hot.
- I've never exhibited outside, but the two outside shows I've been to were either hot or rained upon.
- Went to one at a fairgrounds for years. It was spacious and temperature controlled and had food, but it had no atmosphere.
- Loved a show held at a historic house in NJ and was disappointed when it closed.
- I like the idea of a show at a bed-and-breakfast or a private home. Earth Angels (north of NYC) does a show at the owner's home twice yearly. Her house is open and decorated, but she also gets a marquee for the yard. She does lunch, drinks, and lots of socializing, and the shows seem to be a rousing success.
- Malls are a nightmare of long hours, poor security, sticker shock, and sticky fingers (in every possible sense).
- Convention centers have food, parking, and space, but high prices and no atmosphere.
- Stores tend to be too crowded, though a couple of places have met with success through careful organization.
- Banquet rooms at large restaurants can work for a small show, as long as there's a separate entrance and the food smell doesn't carry.
(You're sorry you asked, aren't you?)

Mindy

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

Thanks, Mindy! You've probably been to more shows than most of us have! Your experience is very helpful! I'm SO GLAD I asked! Thank you, thank you!

psichick78 Flying Fur Studios
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,073

Mindy, that is great! I'm not sorry we asked at all! LOL

Wow, guess everything has advantages and disadvantages. Some good ideas there though.

Bed and breakfast sound a little daunting for me at this point, I'm thinking I like the hotel idea. I say that without knowing the price though...........

Mindy, great tips. please post again if you think of anything else!

All Bear All Bear by Paula
Kent
Posts: 5,162
Website

Artist designed bears should be treated as high end product.  The show should provide a venue which says to collectors, "these bears are special."  It should provide an opportunity for display which tells visitors to the show that they are taking part in an exclusive event, a real treat.  I like the idea of creative venues ... I've just been reading about a great show which took place in a museum here in the UK ... sales were good and both exhibitors and collectors had a fabulous time.  It's one of the most postive show reviews I've read this year.

When I've exhibited at large venues like the NEC here in the UK, it feels like trying to create magic in an aircraft hanger ... not an easy job and hard to convince new collectors that they are entering a wonderful world of artistry when the bears are displayed in a cold, uncarpeted space!

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