Howard Alan Events
Florida firm produces outdoor art shows, this year plans 85 exhibits
Howard Alan Events is one the nation’s biggest promoters of outdoor art shows. A former chiropractor, Howard Alan opened a retail shop in Plantation, Florida. But the business model shifted in the 1980s, the Jupiter firm operated by Howard and Debbie Alan to date having exhibited more than 10,000 different artists. TOTI Media asked Howard Alan about his trade.
TOTI Media: What’s the secret? Howard Alan: First of all it should be the most beautiful show that the patron has ever seen. It should be filled with color, excitement and contain some of the most creative work you could imagine. There should be something for everyone. The price points should vary from $25 for a pair of earrings to a $100,000 bronze statute. Our cardinal rule is that the person who created the masterpiece should be there at all times of the show representing their own respective work. Therefore, the art patron has the opportunity to meet the artists, find out what inspired them to create the work, the materials used to create the work and the opportunity to start a relationship with the artist. The venue is also very important. Our most successful shows take place in high-end retail districts that provide us with patron parking, great places to dine and are filled with artist-savvy patrons who love and appreciate art. These retail districts contain a high demographic audience that can support our artists. Our venues also attract what we refer to as “art show junkies.” These are art lovers who will make a weekend out of an art show. They create a mini staycation, whereas they shop for art, love shopping and love to eat and stay in nice places.
TM: Most successful exhibitors? HA: Jewelers do the best, as the walls may be filled up … but a woman cannot get enough jewelry!
First of all do not listen to a weather report; the show will go on rain or shine.
TM: Things are different? HA: When we started 35 years ago, Florida was not as busy as it is today. It was much easier to close down a major street to set up a show. There was no internet; everyone read the newspaper back then. Today in my office we now have a full-time social media specialist, publicist, digital media buyer, graphic artist, traditional media buyer, etc., to make sure that we can get out the word about the show.
TM: Single greatest thrill? HA: To be able to stand in front of my show and see a tremendous crowd walking around, many carrying purchased art in their arms, and watching our artists being successful. There are many exhibitors who depend on HAE to make a living.
TM: Special way to keep rain clouds away? HA: First of all do not listen to a weather report; the show will go on rain or shine. We find that in bad weather the diehard art-lovers will still come out with their umbrellas and buy!
TM: Eighty-five [annual] shows are difficult? HA: Yes, today to do this―and work with our cities, our artists, the police, local politicians and all our logistical services―you need to be a psychologist, social worker, mediator, anthropologist and have lots of Xanax!
Howard and Debbie Alan over 35 years have promoted more than 10,000 artists, many Floridians. Their firm is headquartered in Jupiter, Florida.