Introducing the Art Fair SourceBook
Our Mission Statement
The Art Fair SourceBook (AFSB) exists to create an independent one-stop resource for artists and artisans that enables them to more confidently, efficiently, and effectively select the events most likely to optimize their profits.
We are also dedicated to working with art fair and craft show organizers to help them attract the top professional artists and make their shows the best that they can be by providing suggestions for potential improvements based on extensive feedback from exhibitors.
Who is Greg Lawler?
Since 1993, GREG LAWLER — for forty years a globe-trotting adventurer, photographer, rumrunner, gold smuggler and father of five — has authored the most comprehensive guide to juried fine art and crafts shows on the planet.
The Art Fair SourceBook was born out of necessity, created by a weary, itinerant artist who was tired of wasting valuable time, money and energy on unprofitable art fairs, and missing the deadlines for the most profitable ones.
First created as a personal road map, the SourceBook soon took on a life of its own. Now in its nineteenth year of publication, Greg Lawler's Art Fair SourceBook™ is the bible of the industry. You won't find a more thoroughly researched, up-to-date or easy-to-use source anywhere. It's the ONLY guide written from an exhibitor's perspective, by a fellow exhibiting artist who's still in the trenches with you.
Since beginning to show his photography at art fairs in late 1990, Greg has exhibited at over 450 events nationwide. He has tried out nearly every type of event, big and small, distinguished and highly renowned, as well as virtually unheard of. He has exhibited at such highly regarded events as "Cherry Creek Arts Festival", "Sausalito Art Festival", "La Quinta Arts Festival", Belleville's "Art on the Square", "MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival", Kansas City's "Plaza Art Fair", "Armonk Outdoor Art Show", Chicago's "Old Town Art Fair", "Ann Arbor Street Art Fair (The Original)", "Boston Mills Artfest", "Scottsdale Arts Festival", "Columbus Arts Festival", "Brookside Art Annual", "Sun Valley Center Arts and Crafts Festival", Milwaukee's "Lakefront Festival of Arts", San Antonio's "Fiesta Arts Fair", Madison's "Art Fair on the Square", "Port Clinton Art Festival", "Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts", Reston's "Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival", "Art Fair at Laumeier", "Mt Gretna Outdoor Art Show", "St. James Court Art Show", Beverly Hills' "Affaire in the Gardens", "Tempe Festival of the Arts", "Des Moines Arts Festival", "Ann Arbor's South University Art Fair", "Park City Kimball Arts Festival", Chicago's "57th Street Art Fair", Ann Arbor's "State Street Area Art Fair", Northampton's "Paradise City Arts Festival", Vero Beach's "Under the Oaks Fine Arts and Fine Crafts Show", "Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival", and scores of lesser events.
Along the way, Greg quickly learned that not all shows are created equal, and that it's essential to an artist's survival to quickly figure out which shows are most likely to work for him, and which will likely be wheel-spinners, or worse.
How did the SourceBook get started?
One day back in 1992 I woke up, rolled out of bed, and once again confronted the stacks of applications from scores of art fairs I thought showed potential. The flood of paperwork made me want to get back in bed, pull the covers over my head, and have someone else deal with the deluge. But with a hungry family of five to feed, I knew that was out of the question. I would just have to slog through the information jungle myself.
I knew I wouldn't be able to do all those shows, nor would I ever want to. However, the question of which shows would be most profitable and best suited to selling my work was a critical and persistent dilemma. So on that bleak December morning - even before my first cup o' Joe - I decided to take on the job of researching, analyzing, and organizing the critical information about that mystifying entity we call "The Circuit."
As an act of self-preservation, I created my own guide.
Now - 20 years later - I'm happy I did. As an artist and fellow exhibitor, I profit from all the SourceBook has to offer and so can you (to date over 10,000 artists have subscribed to the SourceBook over the years, and benefitted from its unique approach). Thanks to this powerful tool you'll be better prepared to deal with the mountain of applications, selecting only the best events for your particular style of creative work. I hope that it saves you valuable time, makes you more money, and smooths out the road to your success as an independent artist.
What is the Art Fair SourceBook?
The SourceBook is the most comprehensive guide to the top-selling art fairs and craft shows on the planet. This means that you know more about an event before you apply than anyone who is not subscriber. You'll learn where the best booth locations are, strategies that make set-up and take-down easier, whether you can expect generators at a show, how many artists applied last year and how many spaces were allotted outside the jury process.
Starting in 2010, we are no longer publishing the original print format SourceBook. We have "gone green" and now provide an even more extensive review of events online. This has several important advantages to you and the planet.
- Since we are not limited by page size, we can provide virtually unlimited data on shows as you can scroll down the unlimited web pages to discover more than any other source provides.
- The resource is now instantly updatable. Formerly, once the information was laid down on paper, it was a history book. Now we can update the information on the fly, at a moments notice. Suppose for instance an event organizer makes a change to their show dates or application deadlines. With our online format, we can instantly update the database of information that subscribers see.
- We are using far less of the planet's precious resources like paper, ink, plastic, and energy to distribute this information.
How does the SourceBook do all this?
For the past 20 years, the SourceBook has collected extensive data on sales and anecdotal evidence from the exhibitors at over 1,000 art fairs and craft shows around the country through it's AFSB Exhibitor Feedback postcards and online at our website. Greg has also personally visited over 800 events over the last 18 years, and continues to do so at the rate of 60-75 events each year.
This information is then read and analyzed by Greg, and presented to our subscribers in his annual "Editor's Commentary" on each of the shows in our "Top 600 Events" list. It's a daunting task, involving hundreds of hours of reading and summarizing literally thousands of reports from artists like you. This process allows Greg to draw from a vast pool of exhibitors' reports to gain valuable insight into today's art fair marketplace.
After 20 years, why is the SourceBook still relevant?
With the advent of the internet and Zapplication, JAS, EntryThingy and other digital online application systems, things have changed dramatically for the better. It is now infinitely easier to apply to shows. But, it is also infinitely easier to throw away money on events that may be listed with the big shows, but may not hold a candle to them when it comes to potential for sales. If you are applying to shows just because they are on one of those lists, you may well be risking thousands of dollars needlessly.
But, the essential problem remains the same... how does one choose the events that are most likely to be profitable and worthy of a substantial investment of time and money, and avoid wasting precious resources on the others. It's true that you can easily find thousands of events on the internet to apply to, but wisely choosing between the winners and losers can come only from the kind of independent research provided in the SourceBook.
Greg Lawler leads the operations and production of AFSB from Nashville, TN. He also spends enough time on planes each year to earn him Delta's highest Frequent Flyer Status (Diamond) on his way to over 60 shows each year. This is how he learns first-hand the good, the bad, and the ugly about the shows on the SourceBook's list.
Annie Turbin, Greg's wife and a currently exhibiting wearable fiber artist, provides valuable insights on improving the SourceBook business model, and keeping it viable in today's fast-changing world.
Barbara Yankee handles Customer Service and Tech Support and manages the subscriber database from her office in Southern California from 9 am-3 pm Monday through Thursday. Barbara has been with the team for over ten years.
Sara Hume facilitates marketing and communications from her office in Nashville, TN
Rae Frederickson, sells to Event Organizers and Subscribers from her office in California.
We Try Harder -- Your Feedback and Suggestions are Welcome
Our goal is to provide the ultimate guide to the best-selling juried art and craft shows nationwide. We are always trying to make improvements.
If you have suggestions, please feel free to share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or just call Greg at 800-358-2045. In the meantime, we'll keep working to produce the very best Art Fair SourceBooks ever.
I trust that this "About Us" page has given you a sense of who we are, what we offer the independent artist searching for information about shows, suppliers and fellow artists, and ultimately helps you succeed in this highly competitive arena we call "The Art Fair Circuit."
May the "Source" be with you,,
Greg Lawler, Editor and Publisher