Back in early October the Advocate Tribune spoke to a number of artists following the 2012 Meander and received a mixed bag of opinions as to how well this year’s Upper Minnesota River Valley Art Crawl fared in terms of attendance and economics.
Responses ranged from slightly down due to the cold weather to slightly up in spite of the weather. But it turns out that both points of views paint a picture of a glass less full than the final tally has determined it to be. With 42 of 45 artists reporting, the total art sales for the 2012 Meander stands at $94,067, a 9 percent increase over 2011 sales, according to the Upper Minnesota River Valley Development Commission (UMVRDC).
“We are extremely proud of this event, which is looked at as the premier art crawl in Greater Minnesota,” said UMVRDC Community Development Planner Kristi Fernholz. “This summer, Mayor R.T. Ryback called the Meander ‘One of the five great events in Minnesota’ and added, ‘You should stay overnight.’ The Meander continues to catch the attention of people throughout the state as well as out-of-state visitors.”
Additional information obtained through 387 “passport-type” surveys returned by Meander participants showed further increases to metrics such as the amount event-goers spent on food and lodging in conjunction with what was the region’s ninth annual Meander. According to Fernholz, individuals are offered prize incentives for filling out and returning the passports, which require attendees to visit at least eight studios to make the questionnaires valid.
Below is a tabulation of the results derived from the 2012 artist and customer surveys.
$94,076 – Total reported Meander art sales to customers during the Meander weekend. (An increase of 9% from 2011 w/ 42/45 surveys reported)
$2,240 –– Average reported art sales per artist (an increase of 5% from 2011)
91% –– The amount of money raised to organize the Meander through sponsors and artists that was spent on products or services in the five county area (printing, paper, advertising, graphic design, staffing)
70-1100 –– Reported total number of customers at individual studios for the entire weekend
12 –– Average number of studios customers visited
3 –– people per travel party (on average)
71% of customers said the quality of the art was excellent
78% of customers said their overall experience was excellent
53% did NOT attend last year
81% plan to attend again next year
14% maybe plan to attend next year
44% came from within local 5-county area
20% came from greater Minnesota (outside 5-county area)
Page 2 of 2 - 23% came from the metro area
13% came from out of state
Average Expenditures per Customer (387 reporting in 2012 vs. 273 in 2011)
$98 on Meander Art ($103 in 2011)
$41 on Food/Gas ($36 in 2011)
$14 on Shopping, other than art ($15 in 2011)
$12 on Lodging ($8 in 2011)