Move-in How we can make it better
Posted 24 May 2009 - 03:16 PM
I know things were not as smooth as last year, thus I apologize.
Badge pick-up and move-in were a bit choppy this year, that said I have created this poll.
This poll is only for Artist's in the Artist Alley and the information that will be collected will be used to determine our next years course of action.
Exhibit Space Assistant Manager 2007 & 08
If you have any Questions, Comments, and/or Concerns, Feel Free to Contact us by using one of the emails below.
ArtistAlley@ACen.org - ArtShow@ACen.org - ExhibitHall@ACen.org - ExhibitSpace@ACen.org
Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance & Promotes Premium Productivity
"The optimistic way to look at your own art, performance, or results when someone tells you that you're not good enough, is to think that there's still room to improve. When you believe your artwork, performance, or results are perfect, it's the end of your career."
Posted 25 May 2009 - 02:01 PM
Thursday night check in and setup is a wonderful thing, because it make me feel more prepared for the whole weekend and there's less rushing around on Friday. I wish we had made it there in time this year (we missed it by 15 mins). If for some reason it's not available for longer hours, I would suggest starting check in much much earlier on Friday or delaying the opening time another hour. Of course being open longer would also be a great thing.
As far as the isles go the walking room for the convention goers was great. I do think that the tables on the outer edges had trouble getting into and out of their tables since you had only two ways out from behind them. I would suggest periodic gaps between the tables so people can get out from behind them eaiser. My husband also has the suggests not mixing half tables with full tables in table groupings. It makes things much smoother.
The way badges ran this year was okay, but I wonder why you guys didn't have them pre-printed. I never heard that story as to why you had to print them at the reg desk. That's one suggestion. Having them included in the price of the table is good, but so is having them paid for separatly. As long as we can get tables at the lowest cut off we can (meaning having AA reg up early enough that we can get one of the better rates). So in other words, that badges work great either way as long as we get to pick them up at the same time as the table. Acen is one of the few conventions that does that and it makes life soooo much simpler. Thanks for asking for our input.
Posted 25 May 2009 - 02:02 PM
1) The Artist Alley is HUGE. There was plenty of room (maybe almost too much!) but it's better to err on the side of caution so that people with disabilities can get around. I am sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities, both temporary and permanent, so this is a big plus for me. I appreciated our proximity to at least one good bathroom. The aisles were spread out enough that people could take pictures of cosplayers without bumping into artists' tables or interfering with sales, and that was also helpful.
2) The quality of work and variety were both excellent. I continue to be amazed and enthused by the sheer amount of artistic talent in AA/AS. I was thrilled to see some of the same folks back again, even if I didn't get a chance to chat with them as much as I would have liked. I have seen a greater and greater variety of work over the years. It doesn't seem to matter what media or type of artwork people want nowadays, they can find it in AA/AS. The quality of drawing and craftsmanship were really spectacular. I found myself more willing to spend money among the artists than I ever have been before. And thanks to AA, I have a new mantra now: she who leaves the con with the most buttons on her badge wins!
3) Sad to say, we had an attempted theft. (More on this later.) On the bright side, IRT was both responsive and understanding, and did a phenominal job of making us feel like our booth was once again safe from sticky fingers. All I had to do was spot them (and they patrolled regularly so we didn't have to wait long to find someone!) and call out "IRT!" and they were on top of things like white on rice. They patrolled the corridor behind us and the area around our booth after that and we had no further problems. They also asked us regularly how things were going and I appreciated that personal and yet professional touch.
4) I know there were some problems getting badges at the beginning, but as always, the Artist Alley staff were helpful and communicative about it, so it wasn’t really an issue. They even let IRT know what was going on, so when an IRT members would see one of our studio members without a badge on Thursday setup and Friday morning, they knew what was going on.
My main negative observations have to do with 1) The location of AS/AA and 2) the open hallway in the back of AA that led to an attempted theft.
1) While the amount of space was great, the location was comparatively bad this year. A lot of people walked right past AA and right into the dealers' room. I have heard a lot of feedback from people saying they couldn't find us (despite the high volume of signage both by our booth and by many other booths in AA) or that people just went straight to the dealers' room and forgot about AA/AS. I believe that a lot of artists could have made a lot more money if AA/AS were set up as it has been in the past, in a linear fashion, with the dealer's room at the end of the line, so that people are forced to at least walk past and acknowledge the existance of AA/AS. Given what ACen charges for Artist Alley tables, I think that we should not be placed in a location where we are so easily overlooked. If it becomes unprofitable for us to come due to our location, sad to say, we will not be able to keep coming back year after year, as we have been for almost as long as ACen has been in existance.
2) I would like to request that AA/AS never back up against an open corridor as it did this year ever again. At the very least, I would like to request that our studio's booth never be placed in that position because of the aforementioned attempted theft. (I know that in general, the AS/AA staff cannot take requests, but I hope this is understandable given what happened to us.) We were in the back corner backing the corridor between the two food stands, and the only thing separating our booth from a lot of con-goers was a thin blue curtain. Someone reached through that curtain and tried to make off with a hand-painted wooden plate. We have those priced between $65 and $95 because of the amount of work involved in making them. If it weren't for the fact that two of our studio members were walking back from the bathroom and happened to see the guy sticking is hand between the curtains, he would have gotten away scott-free because those of us in the booth had our backs turned to the shelf to help customers. Fortunately, our two studio members chased the guy off, and IRT started patrolling around there a lot. But there are just too many people who want to use that 4'x8' space as a place to display or keep extra inventory to afford having only a curtain between that and the regular con-goers.
All in all, this was not a bad year given a downturned economy. I think the location of AS/AA made it less profitable than it could have been, but we are still happy with what we made and the customers that did make it back to us. I continue to be impressed with the artists and with the staff who work hard to put the whole thing together, and I am quite happy with IRT's professionalism and responsiveness.
Thanks for a good time, and we hope to see everyone around next year!
~Sayaka Katsuyama, Katsuyama Studios
Posted 26 May 2009 - 02:48 PM
Here are my cheers for this year's Artist Alley!
1) Location. While we were not on a direct line to the dealer's hall I feel this year's location was excellent. The con-goers could see the alley clearly as they entered the hall and could choose to turn left or right according to what they wanted to shop for. The advantage for the alley and goers is this: Goers who are not into the alley and have complained in the past about being forced to walk though the alley can now avoid it if they wish. This prevents people from racing though the alley to avoid the artists which I've seen interefere with shopping (especially those who are just trying out the alley.) However, it wasn't totally impossable to avoid or miss because of the highly visable location of the space in general. It was a good compromise between making the artists visable while giving the con-goers the chance to choose to enter the alley.
2) Layout. I can honestly say that I don't think there was a single bad spot in this year's alley which is a first in my 10 years of selling in AA. Orienting from the rear of the alley, facing the dealer's hall: The people on the left side had an outlet from the dealer's hall, the people on far right were close to the entrances and exits. Center bays are always good spots for being in the thick of things and the artists in the back of the alley where we were had the art show and car show to draw people to the back. The super wide isles meant that cosplay photo shoots didn't interefere with sales and shopping like they usually do. Our spot, on the left in the corner facing the front isle was right in front of the art show and we were the first thing people saw as they came down that left isle from the dealer's hall.
3) Courtious and visable staff. Staff was visable at the alley and at thier table. They were especially willing to help with the snafus that we encountered to everybody's satification. Kudoes on them handling my cranky self and my cranky studio mate with tact and courtesy.
We had a few table issues and our badges weren't ready but all the problems we had were resolved by lunch on Friday and we were able to go about our business hocking our wares. We did end up selling under goal but got very close. A lot of people appeared to be on a tight budget this year and were conserving funds for planned purchases. But at least a lot of business cards went out so in all we did as well as could be expected given the state of the economy.