This past weekend I participated in the Summit Art Fest in Lee’s Summit, MO. It had its ups, and it had its downs. Keep reading for the details!
I had driven to my brother’s place in SE Kansas Thursday evening, so I left from his place around 7:20 Friday morning to head up to Lee’s Summit. That got me there around 9:20. I got checked in, pulled the truck up to my spot, and got everything unloaded. After parking the truck in the artist parking lot, I started getting stuff set up. It was in the low 40s and windy while I was setting up, but thankfully my spot was fairly sheltered from the wind, so it wasn’t too bad setting up. Set up went much better than the Joplin show last month. Having it fresh on my mind and the learnings from the Joplin show helped a lot. I tried a little bit of a different layout than Joplin, and I really liked it. I’ll probably stick with that going forward. My custom print rack worked pretty well. It’s a little bit higher than I would like, but I’m not sure how I’m going to fix that.
I did get pretty lucky with set up though. The tents are set up on the sides of the streets, and since the streets are fairly narrow, I couldn’t have my stuff sitting in front of my booth since it would block traffic. Thus, I had to set most of my stuff behind my tent. Thankfully I was able to get my tent set up and get everything moved around the front and into my tent before I had people set up on both sides of me. Had people been setting up on both sides of me while I was setting up, it could have been a really frustrating set up.
I finished set up shortly after 1:00, and left to go grab lunch and try to check into the hotel. I got to the hotel around 2:00. Check in started at 3:00, but thankfully they let me check in early. I got stuff moved in, changed clothes, put some food together, and then headed back to the show.
The show started at 4:00. It was a fairly slow evening. I’m sure the weather didn’t help. By the end of the show at 8:00, I had on two jackets, gloves, and a beanie, and I was still a little bit cold. As I mentioned before, though, I was pretty well sheltered from the wind, which I was very thankful for. Some art show volunteers came by during the evening giving out a free slice of pizza to each artist. That was nice. Since it was fairly slow, I was able to chat with a few of the artists around me. It was great getting to know them a little bit. The show ended without making any sales. That was a bummer, but I had heard several artists say Saturday was their best day last year, so I was hopeful that Saturday would be better. Overall the weather was much better than I was expecting. I was expecting it to be a pretty miserable day, but it wasn’t too bad, other than getting a little cold at the end of the show.
Saturday morning got off to a rough start. As I was walking out to my truck to head to the show, I thought to myself I was glad none of my windows were broken out on the truck. However, after I opened the door, I realized that someone had been in my truck and stolen several items (tool boxes, sunglasses, rain suit, etc.). So I had to wait for the police to show up to make a report. The show started at 10:00, and it was 10:45 before I made it to the show. That put me in a sour mood the rest of the day. I tried to put on a happy face, but inside I was in a pretty bad mood.
There was a fairly steady stream of traffic most of the afternoon. It wasn’t super busy by any means, but steady. I used my food truck coupon for lunch, and ate my normal PB&J, fruit cup, and pudding cup for dinner. We got another free slice of pizza for dinner as well. I finally made my first sale around 6:00. The evening was pretty slow, which allowed a lot of time to visit with the artists around me again. The weather was much warmer than Friday. Still a little bit chilly by the end of the show, but better than Friday evening. The show ended at 8:00, at which point I closed down and headed back to the hotel.
Sunday morning I woke up at 6:45, and it sounded like there was an elephant walking around in the room above me. I wasn’t able to get back to sleep, so I got up a little while later. The show didn’t start until 11, so I spent some time looking up the value of the items that were stolen out of my truck so I could provide a final list with values to the officer that took the report. It came out to about $500 worth of items. It could have been a lot worse though. I got everything packed up and loaded into the truck. Before I left the motel, I looked through the security footage to see if I could see when/how it happened. I was able to find it, and took a video of the video with my phone. A huge thanks to the clerk for helping me out and letting me do this. After that I stopped by Dicks Sporting Goods to see if I could find some sunglasses, but didn’t find any I liked. After that I headed to the show and got set up. I got the email sent off to the officer with a link to the video.
The Chiefs game was pretty much during the entire show, so I wasn’t expecting many people at the show. It wasn’t near as busy as Saturday, but there were more people than I expected, which was nice. We got to see the flyover for the Chiefs game, which was pretty cool. The weather was absolutely beautiful on Sunday. Perfect art show weather.
The show ended at 4:00, without making any sales. I got stuff torn down and packed up, and hit the road shortly after 6. I was on track to get home around 11:30, but something had traffic really backed up between Tulsa and OKC, so I didn’t get home until 12:15, and didn’t get to bed until 12:50.
The show itself seemed like a pretty good show. I’m new at this, so I don’t have much to compare it to. The hospitality tent was nice. It was in a neat setting in the downtown area. There were booth sitters if needed. The free pizza and food truck coupon was a plus. I was really happy with the spot my tent was in. And for once it didn’t rain. Also, there were a lot of dogs. Sometimes I was wondering if I was at a dog show instead of an art show. Haha. They were all really well behaved dogs, though, so it wasn’t a problem.
I left the show not quite knowing what to think though. On one hand, I was really frustrated that I only made one sale and didn’t come anywhere close to breaking even. This is despite person after person coming through my booth commenting how beautiful my work is. All three of my shows have gone that way. I wonder how long I’ll keep trying this before I decide my money is better spent elsewhere (aka backpacking trips, new vehicle, etc.). And having the stuff stolen this time definitely didn’t help. One of the artists at the show encouraged me not to let it get me down, but it’s hard not to. On the other hand, it’s great hearing all the compliments. I’m not much of a social person outside of the shows, so it’s great to get to interact with the people who come through the booth, and to get to know the artists who are around me and see their work.
So for now, it’s on to the Houston area in about a month for my next show. I’m sure I’ll keep trying shows through at least the middle of next year as long as I can handle it financially, especially since I’ll hopefully get to do some local shows the first half of next year. And, as I keep telling myself, maybe I’ll be surprised one day from by something that came as a result of doing one of these shows.
Finally, want to give a shout out to Aaron Henry, Susan Kiefer, and Crystal Nederman for being great neighbors. I really enjoyed getting to know them over the weekend. I wish them the best of luck, and I hope I can cross paths with them again in the future.