I've been really, really busy, you wouldn't believe how busy.
I'm working on it.
My pieces aren't ready yet.
I'll get you the information you need in a few days, I promise.
I didn't know there was a commission.
Is it that time already?
Can I have a few extra days?
And the list goes on. These are just a few of the responses the artists have given me as the deadline approaches (tomorrow) for them to get me their titles and prices of their artwork. The Annual Alaska Botanical Garden Fair and Gala is coming up next week and I have begun to herd cats as the Outdoor Art Show Coordinator. I have volunteered for a few years now in the position. All of the deadlines and dates were clearly stated in the Artists Participation letter, e-mails, and on the invitations that were sent out. I even sent out regular e-mail updates. This year the list of artists participating in the Outdoor Art Show were included "by invitation" to participate, rather than by an open call. This year's "by invitation" format was more efficient compared to assembling the juried committee, but has not helped me to get the information I need on time. Artists are still artists and "last-minute-late" seems to be the pace year after year.
The extremely popular, weekend Garden Fair is now preceded by a Thursday evening fundraiser called the "Midsummer Gala in the Garden." The Gala features Outdoor Garden Art and Sculpture works for sale, a silent auction, live music, incredible hors d' oeuvres & libations. Families are encouraged to co
me to the Gala because the Garden put together a special children's program that includes dinner for the kids and entertainment. The kids are kept busy so the parents can socialize, eat, drink, have some adult time and BUY ART! It's a great format. Tickets to the Gala are $50 per person or $100 per family and the weekend admission to the Fair is $5.
This "last-minute-late" pace artists keep can be frustrating for all of the event coordinators, especially the accounting, planning and marketing people. I volunteer to coordinate, site-place the art, create an artists brochure and all of the signage for the Show. I enjoy doing this and the whole family LOVES to go to the Gala
and Fair. It's become a standing commitment on our family calendar. Many of the artists are annual participants because the venue is beautiful as well as unique. Plus, we normally have a 80% sell rate, and most of those sales occur the first night at the Gala. There is a minimum $300 retail price on the works to participate and works usually average $1,500. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Gala and Fair patrons are feeling supportive of the Garden and artists again this year. 50% of the sales price benefits the Garden, which is up from the 35% commission that was taken last year. The Garden is a non-profit and had to make the increase in commission on advice from their tax professional. The increase was responsible for a couple of artists choosing not being able to participate for financial reasons but others have adjusted their prices accordingly.
So far, I have received one artist's information and more promised their information is coming. To be "fair" I am still working on one of my three pieces for the Show. The "Garden Mermaid" was finished yesterday and I'll have my final piece ready by this weekend. Working right up to the last minute is routine but I can assure you that I'll have my titles, prices and descriptions ready by the deadline I set, no excuses.