Most artists I know have had to face the reality of being more selective and discerning about what art shows they do. Travelling 800+ miles to do a show, paying an exhorbitant show fee (cuz the organizers are getting greedy - $1200 for one outdoor show in Michigan which is preposterous!), with no guarantee that you will even make expenses is just not feasable. Some people I know who still travel away for shows try and be smarter by clustering their show bookings, but even then, one person I spoke to last summer, who did 3 shows on one trip, said his gas alone was at least $800.
In an attempt to be creative and get something going in our area for artists (which hopefully for some will mean less travel), our group The Coastal Artisans (a collective of 13 artists formed last year) in conjunction with the Museum of Mobile (the history museum) , are presently working on putting together an art market (official name yet to be announced) right in downtown Mobile, across from The Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center and the Museum of Mobile on the SW corners of Royal and Government Streets in the green space where the old city hall used to stand.
Our mission is to benefit art, culture, and tourism in the city of Mobile and surrounding area, while at the same time providing self-representing working artists with a quality local event where they can show and sell their work. Like the Coastal Artisan show at the Botanical Gardens in December, the market will have an eclectic mix of invited artists presenting in a range of mediums. It will run the 1st Saturdays of March through June. I should have more info soon on the Coastal Artisan blog/website.
Just a few of the Other attractions downtown: On March 3rd (the first day of the art market) is The 18th Annual American Cancer Society Chili Cook-Off over in Bienville Square, just a couple ofblocks west. The Museum of Mobile has an exhibit on the "Transatlantic Slave Trade" starting Feb 7 that is supposed to be very good. The Exploreum has a wonderful exhibit "A day in Pompeii" running through June, and in their IMAX Dome Theater will be "Greece: Secrets of the Past"