Artists vs. Vendors: The Great Art Show Debate

As I’m sure you all have noticed lately, Evelyn Brooks Designs has been at A LOT of arts and crafts shows and festivals.

I LOVE going to these shows and festivals, not only because of all of the new people I get to meet, but because I also get to meet other artists from the area and all over the U.S.

These past few weeks, Evelyn Brooks Designs participated in the 2013 Spring Occoquan Arts and Crafts Show and the 2013 Annapolis Arts, Crafts & Wine Festival with other artists — artists that were considered as vendors to the show coordinators.


Grape Vineyard earrings perfect for the Annapolis Arts, Crafts & Wine Festival!

But what’s the difference between vendors and artists, or are we one in the same?

In my old October 2010 issue of Sunshine Artist, letters debated whether or not it is correct to call artists “vendors,” or vendors “artists.”

In the letters, people said that calling artists and craftspeople “‘vendors’ doesn’t give them the respect that they deserve.” Others even said, “I’m an ‘artist,’ a ‘craftsperson,’ or at the very least, an ‘exhibitor,’ but please don’t call me a ‘vendor!'”

Bracelets, bracelets, and of course, more bracelets!

But then others were more relaxed about using the term “vendor” to refer to people like myself, who are artists and exhibit at many shows and festivals. To them, “vendor” meant “vendor” or “one that sells,” because let’s face it — that’s what we’re doing!

I consider myself an artist, but I also realize that I am a vendor…but which one I would rather be called?

Artist. Hands down.

Because that is, to my very core, who I am. I do not make unique jewelry JUST to make sales.

I make jewelry to make a difference. To give my culture a voice through fashion. To give good luck. To make a difference in our environment. To make my family proud. These are the reasons why I create, and why I should be referred to as an artist.

Will I take offense to being called a “vendor” at a show. Of course not! But if that was the only way people talked of me, then I have a problem with being called a “vendor.”

But no matter what people refer to me as at shows and festivals, I know that I’ll at least be making connections with some amazing PEOPLE — shoppers and artists and vendors alike! Which, everyone, is the most important part of being a part of arts and crafts shows.

Yes, I admit, sales are important. But listen when I say that the connections you make with other artists, vendors and shoppers is priceless compared to making a sale.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date with Evelyn Brooks Designs, and find out where we’ll be showcasing jewelry next! 🙂

Sincerely, Evelyn Brooks

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