Show Review of the Month Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show

July 2022, by Sunshine Artist Editor

Attendees look at artwork during September’s Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show, in Philadelphia. 
Photo courtesy of Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Association 

September 17-19, 2021; Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show, Philadelphia, PA. Contact: Rittenhouse Square Fine Arts Association, Steve Oliver, P.O. Box 2055, Philadelphia, PA 19103; Phone: 610-299-1343; Email: info@rittenhousesquareart.com; Website: www.rittenhousesquareart.com; Application fee: $35; Space fee: $475; Space size: 10x10; Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; 100% outdoors; Exhibitors: 143; Attendance estimate: 30,000 (various sources); Admission: free. 

Compiled from FastAudit reports 

The Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show is one of the oldest outdoor art shows in the United States. It was founded by artists in 1928, and a committee of artists runs it. 

“It’s a perfect 10,” said a painter, whose sales totaled $10,300, with the average item selling for $300. That artist rated every category a 10, except for artist amenities (7), load in/out (7), and parking (6). 

Another painter had sales of $16,000. The average item sold for $1,200. The artist would participate again, saying, “Lucrative, good audience, high quality.” The artist gave every category a high mark. 

One other painter also gave the festival a high rating and would participate again. The artist’s sales totaled $9,000. A sculpture artist made $16,000 and would welcome an invitation back. 

An artist who did not list a medium rated the sales a 3. This artist had $1,650 in sales, with the average item selling for $800. However, that artist rated most of the other categories a 10. The artist wants to participate again but wrote, “not sure why this is a three-day show.” 

A painter who had $4,600 in sales wants to be part of the festival again. “I love it, and Philadelphia is my favorite city,” said the artist, whose average sale that weekend was $1,200. 

Promoter Post Show Report

The September 2021 Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show was one of the most successful events ever for the fine art association that sponsors it. 

“Artists reported record sales and were thrilled by the enthusiasm of our educated, art savvy patron base. Artists also were very appreciative of the hard work and organizational efforts made by the show team,” said Executive Director Steve Oliver. 

He estimated attendance was 20,000. “Friday attendance was lighter than normal, due to office workers working from home. Saturday and Sunday attendance was strong,” Oliver said in response to a comment from an artist about Friday’s numbers. 

Artists said sales were exceptionally good this year, as the attendees showed up to buy. “Many artists reported their best show ever,” he said. 

Oliver said the best improvement made this year that other promoters might learn from was the Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Association instituted a prescheduled, staggered set up, with designated unloading zones. “This greatly improved ease of set up,” he said. “Additionally, we instituted a new breakdown policy that artists found extremely helpful.” 

His message to those considering the show in the future is that it is “one of the most consistently highly ranked art shows in the country. The show is run by a team of participating professional artists who are vested in the show’s success. The location in Center City is one of the most affluent areas in Philadelphia. As a result, our 95-year history distinguishes us as the longest running, outdoor, fine art show in the country.” 

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