I've shared before that the bulk of our holiday shows take place at local art centers. This set up works so well for us, financially and energetically, that we added more shows this year.
|Display in Anton Arts Holiday show, 2014|
Applications for these shows are posted online from mid-July until early October. I search for "art center holiday shows," "mistletoe markets," and similar titles. Sometimes, listings of holiday events near bigger cities are good resources, as they'll list these shows among the bigger holiday events. I also search for "art centers" in specific areas.
Most of these shows are fundraisers for the art centers, so there is an application fee (usually around $10-30). The art centers also keep a percentage of overall sales, anywhere from 30-40%. (Anything over that, I don't bother with the show. The mark-up is too high for me.)
|Another Anton display.|
While the fees might seem steep, for me it's balanced with the convenience of doing these shows. Most of the shows run from 3-6 weeks, ending right before Christmas. We deliver boxes of jewelry and scarves to the centers closest to town and mail out the others. We set our own pricing. The centers cover packaging and marketing. And, best of all, staffing. So our jewelry and scarves are available to shoppers for much longer hours than we could ever manage on our own. Then, in late December, early January, any leftover product is returned, along with wonderful checks for the sold items. So simple!
Since many of the art centers are in smaller towns with well-established art communities, there is a built in market. Plus, since this is the major fundraiser for the year, the art centers do LOTS and LOTS of advertising, as well as hosting various events throughout the run of the show. The photos above were part of a press release from Anton Arts that was featured in Detroit area newspapers - publicity I could never have arranged!
|Display at Lowell Arts, 2014|
Doing these types of shows has upped BrisingBeads Designs credibility as "art," as well. It's very very cool to be surrounded by other artists and artwork. It's also led to invitations to be a part of different artists co-ops and galleries. Our work has become much more recognized, first locally, and now, throughout Michigan. Nice.
So, of course, I added more shows to our already hectic schedule. :)
Last year, we did four art centers, one major arena show, one early fall show, and two private shows. This year, we are confirmed at seven art centers (and waiting on two more submissions), did two early fall shows, one private show, and the major arena show. Our fingers are wrinkly (from the felting) nubs (from beading). Most of the new shows are in the Detroit area, with one in the Chicago area. And, of course, I'm always looking for more! That's how much I love selling at these venues.
Look for BrisingBeads Designs at:
Anton Art Center
Flat River Gallery (Lowell, MI)
South Haven Mistletoe Market
Lubeznick Art Gallery (Indiana)
Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center
Krasl Art Center
Wings Event Center (first weekend in December)