I've been a bit behind with my blog posts, but with two big art shows to prepare for, I thought it best to focus on the artwork and catch up on the writing later.
Two weekends ago, I was in Appleton, WI at their annual Art at the Park event. It was my very first outdoor art festival and, man, did I learn a lot. I was incredibly nervous in the days coming up to the event because I had no idea what to expect or if I was truly prepared. Fortunately, my dad came along to help get my booth all set up - ready to problem solve at a moments notice. It was an incredibly windy day and rain was expected throughout most of the afternoon - the booth almost blew over (more than once!!) and we had to scramble to get the art out of danger when the wind gusted and rain fell. BUT despite the less than ideal weather, we had an amazing time chatting with our neighbors - New Light Mosaics, who jumped in to help hold down the tent. I felt very lucky to have been placed next to people so willing to share their experiences and lend a helping hand to a newbie in the art festival business. We went away with a lot of ideas of how to improve the booth for the next show and excited to continue to progress! I even exceeded my sale goal for my first show, which sent me into 'full-speed-ahead' mode to get a few more pieces done for the next weekend!
This past weekend, I was at the Loring Park Art Festival in Minneapolis, MN. It was a two day event and we had gorgeous weather! Mid 80's both days and lucky for me, my booth was perfectly positioned among several very tall trees and I had shade at all times of the day! I had a great time educating people about scratchboard and how it's done, as so many people have never heard of it before or haven't seen it since they used the rainbow boards as a child. I was so happy with my sales and commissions, exceeding my goals once again, and feel even more energized to keep going for this crazy dream of being a full-time artist!! Both weekends, I had fellow artists stopping by and offering words of encouragement and advice. My neighbor booths at Loring were as kind and fun to spend the weekend with as Anthony and his helpers from New Light Mosaics the weekend before. Nancy, from Soleil Designs, not only blew me away with her incredible jewelry designs, but she went tirelessly out of her way to give me all and any advice about what shows to enter, where to request a booth at shows, and offered to connect me with other graphite artists who have been in the business for 30+ years. I can't thank her enough for the time she spent compiling information for me and for all the help I'm sure she will give me down the road. Two more friendly faces that I met over the weekend were Jim and Julie from Vermeer Glass Art. They too offered input on good shows throughout the Midwest to apply for and where to find other resources, as well as checked in every now and then to see how my second show was going!
Now having two big outdoor art shows under my belt, I can tell that there is a community of creative people that stick together to make sure that artists survive and that attendees continue to have great artwork to see and purchase. I can already feel a strong connection to the wonderful people that I've met and know that we will continue to run into each other at events around the Midwest. I feel blessed to be so warmly welcomed into this community of artists and can't wait to continue to contribute and help other artists thrive!!
P.S. A HUGE HUGE thank you shout out needs to go to my loving, generous, and selfless parents who continue to cheer me on as I reach for this dream and who drive for hours, sit for entire days, and huddle in the rain to help make these shows a success. I love you both so much! Thank you!