Nationally recognized for many reasons, Bend can add another feather to its cap. Art in the High Desert has taken its place in the Top 25 events nationwide for sales of fine art in 2012. Greg Lawler’s Fine Art Fair SourceBook has ranked Central Oregon’s premier juried art and craft festival as the 14th best fine arts festival in sales in the nation. Art in the High Desert takes place the weekend before Labor Day weekend in Bend’s Old Mill District, August 23, 24 and 25.
“We’re number 14 in a list of 600 shows the Art Fair SourceBook ranks,“ says Festival Director Carla Fox. “The Art Fair SourceBook is the consumer reports of art shows, aimed at artists. This is a very big deal. We’re in there with some very long running, large shows, with huge budgets, in big metro areas,” she adds.
The ranking does indeed put Art in the High Desert in the big leagues with other top ranked festivals such as La Quinta Arts Festival (number 1) near Palm Springs, California; Art on The Square (number 2) in Belleville, Illinois and the Cherry Creek Arts Festival (number 3) in Denver, Colorado. Portland’s Art in The Pearl (number 4) and Salem’s Salem Art Festival (number 20) also made the list among other top 25 festivals in St. Louis, Houston, Sausalito, Scottsdale, New Orleans, Fort Worth, Chicago and Atlanta.
“Having done shows from Florida to Texas to California and Washington, Art in the High Desert is one of my absolute favorites,” says artist David Bjurstrom of Austin, Texas. “It’s in a gorgeous setting and the people of Bend are so welcoming. Carla and Dave Fox are just about the best show directors in the business. It’s a true testament to their hard work that this show, only five years old, has risen above some of the biggest, oldest art fairs in the country.”
The Art Fair SourceBook (AFSB) exists to create an independent one-stop resource for artists and artisans that enable them to more confidently, efficiently and effectively select the events most likely to optimize their profits. Now in its nineteenth year of publication, each year the SourceBook collects 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 their website (http://artfairsourcebook.com/).
Over the last 18 years, AFSB has visited over 800 events and continues to do so at the rate of 60-75 events each year. This information gleaned from these visits and collected from exhibitors is then read and analyzed by AFSB, and presented to the subscribers in Greg Lawler’s annual Editor’s Commentary on each of the shows in the Top 600 Events list. “It’s a daunting task, involving hundreds of hours of reading and summarizing literally thousands of reports from artists,” says Lawler. “This process allows us to draw from a vast pool of exhibitors’ reports to gain valuable insight into today’s art fair marketplace.”
Art in the High Desert is a juried show and asks applying artists to go above and beyond the usual and takes selecting artists very seriously. It is also a festival that is created, managed and run by artists and art patrons, just one of the many reasons Art in the High Desert was all the buzz among artists right out of the gate.
“The first art festival I ever participated in was Art in the High Desert. It happened to be the festival’s first year as well,” says artist and board member Cameron Kaseberg. “That experience set the hook and I began asking other artists for advice. I was told that even in its first year Art in the High Desert was an anomaly. The quality of artists and management were extremely high and not to expect that at other shows. After five years of art festivals and on the job training, that advice was right on.” Cameron was invited to join the Art in the High Desert board two years ago.
The festival is considered a relatively young festival moving into its sixth year. With an early upward trajectory, the national ranking bestowed upon Art in the High Desert is huge — not only for the festival but also for Central Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Drawing top artists from across the United States and Canada, Art in the High Desert’s national ranking will increase applications, quality, buyers and public awareness of Central Oregon’s importance in the art world.
Art in the High Desert showcases over 100 amazing artists each year and uses the ZAPP application system (http://zapplication.org). The application process for Sixth Annual Art in The High Desert will close on February 18. www.artinthehighdesert.com.