Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Home shows and studio tours

Having just participated in two home grown art shows in the last two weeks, I am full of ideas for next year, and am actually looking forward to the meeting tomorrow to share my ideas and hear others too.  We meet year round , on a monthly basis to organize and keep our show growing.

Our original "Sticks and Stones Festival" was  held outside of town.  The concept of sticks and stones being that art was everywhere, and those early shows always included rock stacking, and some stick sculptures with visitor participation encouraged. 

We switched this year to an in town location at the Kanabec History Center in Mora.  This change of venue gave us better parking, some indoor options in case of rain, more room for guest artists,and best of all, a permanent wooded spot for the Labyrinth, another feature of our event.   The wood fired pizza oven was completed by Paul and several volunteers and was a big hit with the crowd.  We had even more visitors this year at the new location.

We charge no admission fees, nor do we sell food.  The whole thing is based on donations  except for the Artisan wares.  We feel that the visitor will  have more money for buying craft work if they aren't obligated in other ways.   We have always been able to break even on food and entertainment just by collecting donations. 

The show Paul helped with this past weekend had a cider press running all weekend and it was a big hit.  We are thinking of adding a cider press next year, would compliment the pizza oven.

Reports are that the participating artists did well.  We added 20 artist booths to the show this year.
I love the concept of the Studio Tour / Home show, and the artists and craftspeople taking it back into their own hands to present their wares.

As we have expanded and grown over the years, the show has become less about my own sales, and more about getting people out and giving them a taste of what the local art community has to offer.  My Department has been booking the entertainment.   It was really gratifying to hear other artists saying it was a well run show and they wanted to come back.  I highly recommend that other artists do the same in their communities.

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