I mentioned that I was in Atlanta, GA last weekend, but the weekend before I was in Belleville, IL and the story of patron buying was quite different. Before the show opened, $116,000 had been sold in Art Cash to be used only for purchasing art at the show. This meant that each artist could potentially have a $1000+ in Art Cash sales before they opened shop. Patrons could have a blast spending it... they had to or they would loose it...turns to confetti on Monday. The Art Cash program is in place year round and art cash gift certificates are given as gifts during holidays, birthdays, mother's day, anniversaries, etc. The result, people come to Belleville's Art on the Square to buy art.
My neighbor at the show was a painter. So far this year he had zeroed at 10 shows and desperately needed a good show. Belleville patrons love his work and more importantly, spent their Art Cash dollars. At the end of the show he had sold almost all that he brought and was overtaken by emotion... good for him and good for the patrons. For me, $1600 of my sales were the result of this program... actually more. several patrons added a few more dollars to their art cash to cover their purchases.
Promoters, please direct your attention and promotion dollars toward building such a prepaid art cash program within your shows. The strategy of only directing promotion dollars toward bring patrons to the Field of Dreams isn't working. We need to make buying at shows fun. Building a significant Art Cash program to encourage patron participation and buying should be a primary objective of most art festivals. .