Powers Crossroads Slipping...

Monday we trekked down to Powers Crossroads (PC) for the arts and craft festival. It was disappointing to say the least.

For years it’s been a must on my schedule.

I never leave the event without seeing some great talent, pottery I can’t walk away from and jewelry that I have to wear home. My wonderful husband, Greg, always buys me some sort of one-of-a-kind jewelry, usually earrings because that’s what I pick out and we usually find at least one piece of pottery or other work of art to carry home. This year I took home a pair of earrings, and while I like them a lot, I usually have a hard time choosing which ones I want and often get two or three different pair. This year, one pair, no competition.

So much of the art seemed to be… well, typical, run-of-the-mill. The same items that you’d see at any non-juried craft fair (as opposed to an ART festival that’s judged and juried). I’ve always gone to PC to see something a cut above. Not saying there weren’t some great talents at the show --- there just weren’t anywhere near as many. The overall quality is down. Way down.

I had an idea things might not be going well a few weeks back. A fellow potter friend of mine had missed the deadline for getting into the show, so she thought she’d try to get into the Moss Oak Plantation Craft Fair that piggybacks on PC traffic and fame. It’s not a juried show like PC. She saw the office for PC while down there trying to find out how to get into the other show, and on a whim stopped in and asked if she could by chance get into PC. She showed the lone lady in the office a photo of her work (or a piece of it, don’t remember which), and the lady said sure, there’s space and you’re in. So much for being a juried show. And this was almost two months after the entry deadline, and just a few short weeks before the show.

I remember when artists complained because they couldn’t get into the show as their work didn’t qualify. It was a little never-wracking hoping you’d make the cut. There was strong competition to get one of the booths. Could be my faulty memory, but it appeared that one whole section was empty this year.

I talked to a lot of the artists at the show as I wanted to make PC my fall pottery show. It’s close to where I live, which put it high on my list to target. Only one artist said they were happy with the show.

I saw many of the vendors who are usually in the Moss Oak Plantation area had booths at PC this year. Many of the regulars I usually visit weren’t there this year. It had more of a flea-market flavor.

I’m not sure what’s going on, whether gas prices are keeping artists at home or whether there’s something happening at PC. I know there are new people running the show this year. There were some glitches with that, long time booth spaces given to someone new, putting the same type artists next to each other, etc. But you have to give the new guy on the block a bit of a break, learning curve, etc., etc. and I doubt that affected artists wanting to come this year. It might affect them for the following year if ruffled feathers weren’t smoothed over.

PC did a lot of TV advertising. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great until Monday so walk-in traffic wasn’t as good as it could have been. Most of the artists I talked with took that into consideration knowing you can’t judge a show by one year.

I decided not to show down there next year. The artists I talked with said they were mostly selling things in the $15, $25 and $35 range. Most said they had to make $2,000 to break even (gas, hotel, booth costs, material costs, etc.). That’s tough to do when you’re selling small dollar items.

Just another quick side-note: I dragged Greg over to Moss Oak on the way out just to get some veggies (there's usually a fresh-product stand with great fresh fruit and products). Hardly anyone displaying at all over there. Maybe ten booths? As said, a lot of them were over at PC this year... However, my produce vendor wasn't anywhere to be found.

OK, I’ve moaned and whined enough! Hate to be so negative about the show, but I really find it sad that what was once a quality show is so obviously on the downward spiral.

I’m going on-line to see if I can get on some email lists for other local shows. I’ll be checking them out as I want to find a fall show for selling my pottery. I miss the Atlanta Arts Festival!

1 comment:

Camille Ronay said...

2010 is Powers Festival's 40th anniversary. The '08-'09 show director is no longer with the event.

I hear the volunteer team working on this year's event is going all-out to invite exhibitors from all of the past years; and to try to bring Powers back to its hay day when artists came from all four corners of the US, and happily showed exciting new work. That will take some years, since it took a while to get to its 2009 state.