Archive for June, 2009

Iowa City Summer Arts Festival 09

Okay, so despite the photo which might indicate to the contrary, the event was pretty good in regards to sales. (Note the clamp stuck to my awning to promote shedding of water)

Sales were better than expected and perhaps the best in the past several years. I think the largest difference I have seen in spending habits is that instead of folks buying framed prints, they just get shrinkwrapped prints, but often 2 or 3. In the end the sale amount is about the same.

It rained both days in the morning, but let up in the afternoon and was sunny. We had no major storms or winds so the rain was just fine with me. Last year if you remember was the weekend when the rains poured down and in a few days left the area under many feet of water.

About The Event

They expanded the site and added more artists this year. The expansion for the most part took the form and spreading the booths farther apart with more empty spaces between groupings.

The festival provided some stats so I’ll go ahead and share.

  • 170 artists applied for 134 spots
  • Artists from 15 differents states applied.
  • 81 artists are from Iowa (100 Iowans applied) with 20 being from the county in which the event is held.
  • Jewelry was the largest category applied for with 32 applicants.
  • Event Positives
    Easy loading and unloading
    When there was a thunderstorm warning, staff went around and told everyone
    Volunteer help to booth sit
    Booth Fees are reasonable
    Had a couple of artist lounges
    Provided coffee and donuts Sat.morning.
    City tends to support art events. (Iowa City is the only city other than Omaha that we consistently do more than one event in per year.)

    Event Negatives

    I don’t really have any real complaints. The perks are minimal here but then the booth fee is less. (There’s really no such thing as a free lunch. You pay for all those “free” goodies.)

    I think being downtown next to a bar and music concert tends to lead to trouble. (This is not just a Iowa City thing.) Homeless sleeping in booths overnight and drunks peeing and vomiting in and on booths happens. They have security but there is usually a lot of ground to cover.

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    The Big Event

    Today we leave for our first art fair of the summer. (Yikes) I woke very early this morning. I think I’ve got a tiny bit of anxiety. (How could I not after having my first 6 events last year stormed out.) Though I don’t feel like I’m fussing about it. Hmmm.

    I am going to Iowa City for their Summer Arts Festival. It is traditionally a good event. This year they have a new layout for booths and have increased the numbers of vendors. We’ll see how that all plays out. I’ll let you know everything as soon as we get back.

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    A Visit From A Fellow Crazy

    An inability to say no.
    So my evenings have been rather full as of late and of course it is the blogging that suffers. Monday was spent helping a friend locate her runaway yearling. (Turns out I found her 6 miles from her home.) And Tuesday I met for the second time as a committee member for Vision Iowa. (a government program to make funds available for beautification, historical and tourism improvements.)

    The thing about small towns is much of what goes on in the way of organizations is done through a volunteer effort. So I agreed, because as you know I have just oddles of spare time on my hands. Hard to say what will come of it. We are probably the smallest town to ever apply (I imagine there is giggling going on right now on a state level.) Most cities have paid staff of a dozen or so to do what we 25 or so volunteers are. Should be interesting at the very least.

    The Kaleidiscope Guy.
    One of my favorite artsy-fartsy types came to visit the other day. Leonard Olson is a talent with a piece a wood (he makes stunning kaleidoscopes.) as well as a marketing whiz. Don’t let his “aw shucks” attitude or his vague resemblance to Santa fool you. He’s as clever as they come.

    Leonard resides in Pomeroy, Iowa. It’s another small town about the size of mine. I think he (and a few friends) are all that keeps his little town from turning completely to dust.

    His current project is to create a museum. He was gifted a building by the city (a mall actually) which he plans to turn into a tornado museum. (Pomeroy was hit by a major tornado around a 100 years ago and had record making casualties.) At any rate he came to discuss some ideas for the museum with us.

    Leonard is one of those guys who always has something cooking. The College of Leonard was born from this ever creative flow of thought and generosity of spirit. It is classes offered by artists and teachers at low or no cost. (The cost is pretty much something to cover materials) He hosts classes on everything from Tie-dye shirts to fused glass jewelry.

    So while he asked questions about a few things we also asked questions about the Vision Iowa thing. And that’s what it’s all about my friends. Artists helping artists. Sounds corney I know. But out here in the boonies it is far and away the best network we’ve got.

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