Eight weeks ago I had 5 paintings stolen from an outdoor art fair.
I don't show at many art fairs any more, although I do think it's a good way for an artist to get started marketing.  But every season I choose one, just to get my paintings in front of some people that might not be familiar with my work.  
Art fairs aren't easy.  Loading and unloading, setting up a display tent and portable walls... It's a lot of schlepping and a lot of driving.      
I have done a lot of art fairs since opening my business in 1999.  I have never had anything stolen.  It is optional to unload your tent on the Saturday night between show days.  I never do.  All shows hire security and I always trust it.  So Saturday at 5:00 I zipped up my tent and drove back to Southampton.
When I came back Sunday morning, I opened my tent and immediately noticed that the painting I had been working on during the show- yes, they took a WET painting - wasn't on its easel.  It wasn't long before I also noticed gaping, empty spaces on my walls and it began to dawn on me what had happened.  My reaction wasn't subtle.  I let out a moan that brought people running.  After about an hour, I calmed down and filed a report with the police.  Then, although I hated to give up a whole day of a show, I packed up and went home.  Just wasn't in the right frame of mind. 
When I woke up Monday morning - well, I didn't really sleep - I started making calls.  It was pretty discouraging.
The show sponsors were not liable - I had signed a disclaimer when I applied.  My insurance company was pretty firm too - no claim could be made since I don't have a separate policy covering my artwork.  (Something I am currently in the process of changing.)  And when I went online to get a copy of the police report, I found out it would take 6 - 9 weeks.  (Eight weeks later I have never been contacted.)  At the risk of sounding like a whiner, I really felt no one cared.
But I had to do something.  So I reached out to the media.
Colleen Reynolds, the reporter at my local paper The Southampton Press, wrote the following article:
December 3
I've been approached by a lot of people since the article came out.  I guess that makes it kind of a bittersweet experience.  I haven't recovered any of the paintings, but I have repainted "The Golden Pear" and I have a show coming up December 1-7 at 4 North Main Gallery.  Not exactly how I would have hoped for publicity, but it certainly cushions the blow.  

add a comment

Please type the number exactly as it appears