It’s been four days since we set up our booth at SOFA WEST. A lot’s happened and a lot hasn’t.
Opening night knocked everyone’s socks off. The crowds were far larger than expected. Apparently they’d anticipated about 500 people for the opening night reception. I’ve heard that between 1500 and 2000 turned out. But who could count? I could barely move.
The response to the work was phenomenal.
“It’s really glass???” Was probably the most asked and answered question from Day One to Day Four.
“Oh no! Did you see it move?!” Was probably the next most frequent remark as visitors watched Heike Brachlow’s tauntingly rocking forms.
The award for Most Engaging had to go to Silvia Levenson’s works. Her wall of glass handgrenades inscribed with “Love” and its Spanish, German and French variations on each glass-faced box captivated everyone from janitors to society types.
In fact Silvia’s work likely received more press coverage than any other work at the fair.
From catalog essay….
To press kit…
…to THE Magazine.
I thought I’d never seen such phenomenal press coverage until I met the publicity agent for an artist at the booth opposite ours.
W.C. Fields’ warning about sharing the stage with animals or children exploded in my head when I met Willa. I hope her Dad had great sales because she sure made it hard for the rest of us to get any attention.
And getting attention is what it’s all about at a fair. The competition in Santa Fe is world caliber. Not only with the rest of the show; there are somewhere between 200 and 350 galleries – I heard both estimates and lots in between – in a town of roughly 70,000 people.
For that and many other reasons, it hasn’t been the easiest show. Enthusiasm has been through the roof, but sales have been challenging. It was three days before we made the first. But then the second happened only an instant later. That seemed to start a roll. Still not sure what “that” was – the weekend? Or “buzz”? We had a lot of personal referrals; there’s no sales tool as powerful as a friend telling a friend.
And Jess Loughlin’s meditatively quiet box “Inversion” had attracted enough buzz amongst the fair-goers to sell – not only itself, but its absent cousin, “Evaporate”, that had just returned to Portland from its time at COLLECT.
Today’s the last day. We’re taking a work out to a home for a private viewing this morning, then a brunch, then dashing back to the hall for the last day.
And then it’s breakdown time again. However it goes, we’ve loved Santa Fe. It’s a town with amazing soul, amazing people, great art, and THE best Grand Gold margaritas I’ve ever tasted. We’re all leaving a bit of our hearts here.