A small miracle took place on July 4th. Near the end of last year I was involved in the formation of a new art organization, Cass Area Artists, in the southwest Michigan and northern Indiana area. One of our fearlessly optimistic members decided that we should host an outdoor arts and crafts show on the next fourth of July. We didn’t even have a website at the time. So we embarked on the mission to set up a website, create a comprehensive set of bylaws for the group, get donations and sponsors, arrange for publicity with local news media, print signage and post cards, publish a call to artists, set up a bank account, finalize a location with one of our sponsors, and get the artists juried in–all in only 6 months.
My personal challenge was to find a way to reorganize my horse portrait booth to accommodate much larger paintings. I knew if the weather was good (totally unpredictable in the Midwest) I could extend my racks out in front of the booth and free up the walls for the larger works. So the watercolors were planned for both sides of the racks and large framed oils to hang from the tent support rails inside. I also had to find a way to display a bunch of watercolors that I matted and shrink-wrapped (note to self: shrink wrapping will work a lot faster with a heat gun than a hair dryer!). I didn’t have a ready-made display bin, so I fudged it with a steel frame originally purposed to hold huge bags of grass clippings and such, and then I took some spare fabric I had and fashioned a sling to fit over the frame. Amazingly, it worked. The curious can sort of see it in the top photo at the right side of the table.
Our fledgling efforts rounded up enough exhibitors to show a variety of products, the sun shone brightly but not too warmly all day, we had a steady stream of visitors through most of the day, and…most importantly…the venue’s automatic sprinklers did NOT come on while we were all perched on the grass! For a first attempt by folks who were working their way through the mechanics of this large of an event, I have to say we did a pretty darn good job. We learned a lot in a very short time, all of which will hopefully be applied to the second annual show next year!