Sunday, March 29, 2015

Looking Back at ARTLando (plus a Gridwall Review)

Photo by Don Richards

ARTLando seems forever ago, and in a lot of ways it was. So why write about it now? I never had a chance to give it the reflection that an event of this magnitude really deserves. ARTLando was September 27th, two days later I started my new job as Collections Manager at the Orange County Regional History Center, seven days later was my 28th birthday, and two days after that my mom passed away.

ARTLando just got lost in the shuffle.

This was my first foray into a legitimate art festival, and six months of reflection has left me with the feeling of "Yeah, I could do that again." A day of reflection, however, left me with the feeling of "NEVER! Never again should I ever put my body through this!" I was bruised and sore and a little bloody, but it really was worth it.

Some big thanks go out to Dawn Schreiner who lent me her big fancy white tent and saved me a huge amount of up-front investment. It took me way too long to figure out how to set that tent up, and really all the credit for that goes to Kelly Gaiser and Joey Young- my impromptu set-up and tear-down crew that I egregiously overworked. The manpower needed to pull off an art festival is something I'll be giving some serious thought to before participating in another one. I'm so used to my husband being my partner in crime for art events that the addition of my daughter (and therefore the subtraction of my husband) really threw me off my game.

One big investment I did make was the Gridwall panels for displaying my framed pieces. It took Joey and I working together to get them up, but I was able to take them down by myself (with several seriously smashed fingers) and, with practice, I think I could become self-sufficient with the whole process. Once up, I was pleased (and surprised) with how sturdy they were. They also store fairly painlessly at home - something I was worried about due to our teensy tinsey house.

One of the components that set ARTLando apart was the live art making and the judging to be done on said live art project. I thought to myself "Sure, I've carved and printed a piece in one day before, let's give it the good ol' Whitney Broadaway overachieving try!" Needless to say, that did not work. I might have been able to finish my snake linocut if I wasn't busy talking to guests, selling artwork, and just not being rude in general. Might. Well, it didn't hurt to try, and I made a lot of headway into a new print. I don't think I'll miss dragging the Richeson Baby Etching Press to the next art festival I do.

One last thing that has to be mentioned: the people. The people at ARTLando were fantastic! The staff was incredibly helpful and nice (one helped out with setting up the tent which brings the total up to four people who could NOT figure that thing out!), the artists were talented and a pleasure to be around (I met so many new friends and was able to enjoy so many old ones), and the guests brought so much genuine interest and excitement to the day (many of which I'm still in contact with). I truly hope this becomes an annual event!

Me, my husband, and my daughter meeting one of the many puppies visiting ARTLando. Photo by Thuyvi Gates.