Howard Alan Events

Florida firm pro­duces out­door art shows, this year plans 85 ex­hibits

Cape Coral Living - - Cape Departments -

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.

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