My Booth at the OKC Festival of the Arts
It is always stressful to prepare and set up at a new art festival. A lot of the artists who do the circuit of art shows around the country have had more experience and are very familiar with the ins and outs of doing particular shows. They come in prepared, professional and are smooth operators about prepping their booth and maneuvering the show's unique methods.
I, on the other hand, stress and stew and worry about my display system, my print inventory, my artwork and how best to sell to the new clientele. A new show has new rules, sells systems and methods for managing reproductions, etc. This show managed all the sales and had a central location for customers to purchase reproductions/prints.
The OKC Festival of the Arts is a massive, well established show held in downtown OKC. OKC has experienced an incredible renaissance so the area is filled with great restaurants and events. I had no idea how exclusive it was to even get into this show and I was amazed at the constant crowds of people.
The show lasted for a full week which meant I had to take unpaid leave from my classroom in hopes I made enough money. This was the first show I've done without my husband since we couldn't afford to have both of us docked paychecks. My sister is a retired school teacher so she spent the week helping me in my booth. We had a ball together which made the week all that much better.
The show started each day around noon and went until 9:00 at night. It was my first show that required I have lighting in my booth for after dark viewing. The festival provided huge, beautiful tents for us which each housed four artists. They also provided metal, display panels and lots of hospitality and attention.
The first day of the show we had to open at 7:30 A.M. so festival patrons and supporters could be the first to meet us and make purchases. It was a great kick-start to the week and I made five sales to the early crowd of buyers.
The last 3 pieces of art left in my booth
The week was a tremendous success! I saw former students, visited with old classmates and had friends and family drop by from across the state. By Friday evening I had sold all but 3 of the 30 framed pieces I brought. In order to have much in my booth for the weekend, I hung images of my available prints on the display panels with some of those eventually marked "sold out."
This was my first major show of the summer. I have had three, short weeks to rebuild my inventory, frame it and be ready to return to OKC for Memorial Day weekend. I hope I can manage with so much going on at school as the year winds down.
Thank you, OKC, for making me welcome and for giving me such a great week. A HUGE thank you to my sister, Melinda, my husband and my daughters and son-in-laws who helped set up, tear down, package prints and give me a place to stay. This was truly a family enterprise.