Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2017

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live isn’t going to San Francisco after all. Plans to hold the 2016 event there in October have been set aside.

The next Spectrum Fantastic Art Live will take place April 21-23, 2017 in Kansas City, MO.

Arnie Fenner explained why in a post at Muddy Colors.

Anything is possible if the desire is there, but everything comes with a price tag and the subsequent tough decision to back away from plans to hold the show in San Francisco in association with the AAU was not made lightly. Spectrum Fantastic Art Live has always been about benefiting the entire art community—the creators, the patrons, and the fans—and everything with the show has to make sense, including the dates, the costs, and the venue. We had heard from a great many exhibitors and attendees who enjoyed the convenient, casual and friendly atmosphere of Kansas City and were actually disappointed by the move out of the midwest, which pleasantly surprised us.

We’ve always known that doing a convention isn’t just about our bottom line, but about everyone else’s, too, and we pay attention to what’s happening in the marketplace….

As with past shows, sales of originals and prints at SFAL in May 2015 were great for some, good for others, and not so hot for a few—that’s pretty much the way it always is for every convention, big or small.

Last Autumn sales were reportedly very disappointing for exhibitors of Fantasy-themed art at several conventions. Many felt that the poor sales might have been due to a recent Heritage auction which included another portion of Jane and Howard Frank’s immense art collection. Personally, I don’t believe that one really had anything to do with the other.

Speaking bluntly (as is my wont), original art is a luxury item and sales are often tied to the cycle of confidence and stability. The current political climate and tone of the Presidential campaigns (the Brexit hasn’t helped) have had a significantly negative impact on art purchases as people worry about the economy and the future in general. Shoot, even the 1% have cut back on their buying. With a convention there is always the temptation to “keep going full steam” and ignore the lookout’s warning that there’s ice ahead, but rather than bull through and make SFAL happen someplace sometime in 2016 regardless, we opted to take a breather, let the dust settle, and optimistically hope things get back to normal after November.

More news about attendee ticket prices, hotel information and special rates, and activities during the show will be posted as available on the SFAL website  and the SFAL Facebook page.

SFAL 2017 guests

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4 thoughts on “Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2017

  1. Sure, because skipping the area with the most concentrated number of geeks with spending money is a great idea.

    If you just don’t have the money right now, fine. We all understand the economy. But don’t try justifying it with counter-factual BS about the location being the problem.

  2. If it had been possible in SF or one of the Bay-area cities, we would have done it: it wasn’t. Before describing the post as “counter-factual BS,” first take a look at the warehouse in the industrial district that the school wanted us to use for the convention during Halloween weekend:

    Then…go out and try to find event space in SF, San Jose, or Monterey that is 1] available on dates that don’t conflict with other “geek” conventions, 2] adjacent to hotels & restaurants, 3] easy for attendees to get to, and 4] cost effective so that we can make exhibitor space affordable for artists. When you find it, let me know.

  3. That’s exactly what I said: the money is the problem.

    The people who live in the area are not. They’re your target market.

    (Did you look in the East Bay? Much easier to get to than Monterey, much cheaper than SF. Even east of the hills would have been better than Monterey.)

  4. Yes, we would like to have an artist-centric convention in the Bay area at some point in the future if possible and yes, we looked at a number of different venues beyond the area mentioned.

    But, no, though a natural part of the equation for any event, money was not the primary factor in our decision. The cost of the space that AAU offered was fine, it was the location (and, to a lesser extent, the date that it was offered to us) that didn’t work. The lack of available space during the dates we wanted at other locations were the main reasons for the change. If the right exhibit space had been available in SF or adjacent cities on dates that didn’t conflict with other conventions the artists routinely commit to, we would have moved ahead. It didn’t work out for 2016/2017.

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