An Artist's Thought's on Surtex: Jane Sarah Staffier

My Experience at Surtex by Jane Sarah Staffier

-Great people, very nice experience with the artists & reps, in fact wonderful on that score. I truly enjoyed talking to each and every one of them.

-I am glad I didn't buy a booth & won't until they bring the price for entrace back down.

-I went 3 years (2007) ago and paid $50 for both shows. Why $100 hike? Especially for artists, in these times.

-That may be why I had the aisles to myself, the event was sparsely attended compared to 3 years ago, when it was packed. I less then 2 hours I had time to go around & around. Again, let me say the artists from all over & the reps made the show for me. I was worth it for me to meet them.

-There simply was not the foot traffic or the buzz of 3 years ago.

-I would like to know why the 3x price? Do they want only the merchants?

-The price made me reluctant to go for the 1 day, but I threw myself on the bus & arrived Monday noon.

-Waiting in line I had 2 guys behind me who, it turned out, knew something--who stepped up for them & they were given a Day Pass for free right in front of me and went right in as I stood in line & shelled out my $150 bucks! I'm an artist & owner of my own business. Why isn't there a day-pass for us?

-Perhaps the classes were worth it & I'm sure I missed something. But on top of the entrance fee, I couldn't justify another 300 +200+ etc. I don't know many who could afford that.


sue z said...

Kate thanks for sharing different points of view from artists and exhibitors. I thought I would answer Jane's question.

"I would like to know why the 3x price? Do they want only the merchants?"

Well YES if you mean manufacturers walking the show, but they also encourage artists to walk the show who might purchase a booth in the future.
Myself and some others artists think Surtex should create a program that if the artist pays the $150 and comes back the next year and rents a booth they could put the money towards that.

The Surtex trade show is designed for those who decide to pay for the booth, and the attendees who license and buy art from them.

In general all of the artists who I spoke to were delighted with the traffic from the manufacturers, they are who we are paying to see when we decide to exhibit.

Sharyn Sowell said...

Sarah, I'm an artist who has done the show for nine years now. For a single artist buying a booth, it's a major commitment. I hope I don't offend anyone but my perspective is different than yours. I loved meeting artists walking the show but if I'm completely honest, it can be an awkward problem for us. We pay GLM for a booth with the goal of having meetings with manufacturers. I do everything I can to reach that goal and the success or failure of my business depends on that. So when other artists come by my booth I want to be friendly and cringe at the idea of offending them, but I have to wonder if they don't understand that they are hurting me. Show etiquette is that if someone is in a booth, nobody else will come look. If I am talking to another artist having a lovely visit, the manufacturers i need to meet with will walk right by. I have a dilemma; do I be polite and chat with artist friends or do I ask them to leave me free for manufacturers. This year I bet I offended at least a dozen artists. In some cases they were actually paging through my portfolio (a serious breach of etiquette though I know they didn't realize they should have asked first.) I missed a couple of manufacturers before deciding I had no choice but ask artists to only visit when it was slow. A couple actually yelled at me. My perspective as a booth occupant was different than yours as far as the show's vibe, too. Almost all exhibitors were just thrilled. Most of us had great meetings, thought it was the best show in a long time. I hope I don't sound ungracious, but when we pay the big $$ to fund the show, it doesn't seem right that artists would ride our financial coat tails. Paying $150 to get in and be able to have meetings seems fair to me. I paid thousands, and I was not unhappy about it at all. Please forgive if i sound ungracious, I don't mean to hurt anyone but thought a different perspective might be valuable.

Sharyn Sowell said...

I forgot, I should have also said a huge thank you to Kate for giving us all the opportunity to share our opinions and viewpoints. You are so gracious, Kate, and it is much appreciated.