Niagara Gazette

February 11, 2014

Artist & Crafters Boot Camp aims to help prepare newcomers

By Jill Keppeler
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — So you’re an artist. 

You make beautiful or interesting things — whether that involves taking photographs, painting, quilting or designing jewelry. And you want to share those things with other people — and, of course, make some money while doing so.

What next?

That’s a broad question — and one Bob Gregg is hoping to answer with his upcoming Artist & Crafters Boot Camp, planned for Saturday at Partners in Art Studios in North Tonawanda.

Gregg, a watercolor artist who lives in the City of Tonawanda, has taken part in art shows throughout Western New York, including those in Lewiston and the Elmwood and Allentown sections of Buffalo. He’s also taught art marketing at Daemen College.

In those roles, over the years, he’s observed many art-show newcomers and the common mistakes they make. Put that together with a recent conversation with one of the organizers of a major Western New York art show ... and Gregg drew the conclusion that there’s a real need for a helping hand.

“Everything clicked all at once,” he said. “Now’s the time for people ... if you want to do shows, you better start preparing. So let’s give this service to other artists and crafters so they don’t have to have this anxiety.

“It’s something that when you jump in, you better be ready for it. To get into shows, you have time and effort and money you invest in your business or your craft. People look at what you have, how it’s presented and all that.”

At Partners in Art Studios, where the class will take place, co-owner Joan Horn has also observed a need for practical education for new art- or craft-show vendors over the years.

“It’s hard when people are newer artists and they want to start doing something like this,” she said. “They don’t know what to bring, what equipment they need. Or they build these elaborate racks  and things and they’re too heavy and too hard to transport.

“This gives people an opportunity to pick the brains of someone who does this all the time. There are so many things to think about. You have to have a tax number, hooks to hook things up so they’ll stay in place. You have to be prepared to deal when things are windy, so things don’t blow around. There’s a lot of things to think about ... and it’s a lot of work.”

Gregg said he will touch on practical matters related to shows, including dealing with customers, display, pricing, security, setting up (and tearing down). The boot camp is also applicable to crafters as well as fine artists, he said.

“I want the crafting community to know there are a lot of shows out there,” he said. “And it’s not any different than a fine artist doing a show. We just have different wares.”

Those differences can sometimes mean a difference in choosing shows, however, Gregg said. And it’s important to scope out their locations, including the lay of the land, where to park, where to stay.

“They don’t tell you that stuff,” he said. “It’s just experience.”

Horn agreed.

“It’s a good thing and I think it’s needed,” she said of the class. “We have a lot of art people in Western New York, and the more people we can expose to things like this, the better off we are.”

IF YOU GO • WHAT: Artist & Crafters Boot Camp • WHEN: 10 a.m. to noon Saturdayfeb15 • WHERE: Partners in Art Studios, 77 Webster St., North Tonawanda • COST: Price is $20; $10 for students under 21 • RESERVATIONS: Contact Bob Gregg at 481-1786 or