I pulled my body out of bed this morning, thinking, “Ouch. I feel like I lugged a bunch of heavy stuff, packed a car and climbed up and down ladders yesterday.” Because I did. I exhibited this past weekend at the Winter Park Art Festival, experiencing firsthand some of the best one-on-one possibilities for interaction between artists and art-appreciators.
Here are some things I (re)discovered.
There is no substitute for an experienced, well-run art festival. This is a good festival; the staff knew how to handle all the details including artist load-in and load-out, food, sufficient parking. Most of all, a well-established and well-advertised festival will bring in a lot of people. I saw and talked to people non-stop from 9am to 5pm for two days. Artists could not ask for more.
I learned again that people like fabric. They are drawn to textures and colors. It is still fairly unusual to see art quilts exhibited in an all-medium juried setting alongside painting, ceramics and more well-known art mediums. I was asked (and hope I answered well) lots of questions
I learned again that, as an artist, it’s sometimes hard to know how much emphasis to give to explaining the medium (the step-by-step how-to) as compared the purpose of a particular work and what it means to me. Of course, the medium is not really the purpose of the work. The purpose of the work is whatever it was that inspired or interested me. But, it is natural for people to ask how-to questions first.
And I learned:
People love color. (A good thing, since I love color)
Children absolutely cannot resist a hanging curtain in an artist booth. If there’s an curtain, by golly they’re going to peek behind to see what’s in there.
Being an exhibiting artist is hard work.
For readers who are artmakers, you already know this. In addition to the studio hours working out your ideas and your craft, there are many choices about how and where to show your work to people. Every artist has to pick the ones that suit her best.
For readers who are art-appreciators: THANK YOU. I am grateful for the respect given by festival-attenders to the exhibiting artists. I had a lot of deep and interesting art conversations and some great questions. And, of course, I am always grateful for those who support artwork by making a purchase.
I did not get rich this weekend. But I did not come home empty-handed. I have two festivals left this fall, and look forward to repeating the process all over again. (My achey legs should be better in plenty of time!)
Thank you for reading. I always enjoy questions and comments.
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