Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Taking Art to the Streets

The only independent show or fair I normally do outside of the Gallery shows, is the annual holiday Bad Girls of the North. Not knowing how the economic outlook would shape up this year I committed to do 3 (this Saturday, July 25 and Aug. 15) outdoor venues with the new Art on G Street in downtown Anchorage. "From Studio to Street" is their tag line and the very professional Anchorage Downtown Partnership has organized and sponsored the event. They are even providing me one of their colored tents, which is a good thing because we don't own one of those "vendor" tents. I am set-up to take credit cards, but am going to have to check into getting my vintage, slide-style card machine updated today with merchant services at my bank. I have a list of "booth" to-do's before Saturday am. Pull out and clean thegrid wall, get more cards, make new signage, make new business cards, tag and price everything, gather up the chairs and table and display pieces, etc. 

My friend Jana, the proprietoress of Cabin Fever, a very hip downtown gift store encouraged me to support the new Art
 on G Street event. I trust anything Jana says that has to do with retail. However, coming off of my huge annual show at Half Moon Creek Gallery on June 5, and the Alaska Botanical Garden's Gala and Outdoor Art Show, I admit I'm feeling a little whipped AND out of most of my "inventory." I did save some cool sculptures from the Half Moon Show production schedule but I'm a bit rusty to know what kind of inventory to have at this downtown, outdoor event that will be mainly tourists on a budget (or so the trends are telling us). I'm not used to making things with a price point of under $50 -because by the time I pay Gallery commissions anywhere from 35 -50% the prices of my work need to be a lot higher for me to pay the bills. However, these non-commission events are PERFECT for lower priced, smaller, lovely works...if only I had been making things like this instead of my larger steel sculptures! 

I have always tended to work backwards, in that I first decide what my monthly budget and bills are, set a goal(s), take a material and time inventory, then create, then sell. The whole clay and kiln idea was to support the "Art on G Street" kind of event... if I had been making more time to do clay work. The clay bisque and drying shelves are completely empty and there is no kiln to be loaded in the foreseeable future. I have a few sea tiles with the steel crabs that have been really popular at the Gallery when I was testing their "viability." I also resurrected a popular, lower priced wind sculpture of a Salmon with driftwood "bones." These were a big hit at Bad Girls the last couple of years and they are fun to make.  It's even more fun collecting the driftwood from the beach in Homer. But mainly, I've got the guys to help me load and set-up the heavier garden chimes and sculptures and we'll just have to offer free delivery for customers on Saturday who can't schlep their purchases several blocks to their cars.

I am a bit worried of the volume of people that will be downtown this Saturday. I learned that there is a HUGE Alaska Statehood Celebration and Hero Games going on in the same downtown location as the artists will be set up! I thought Summer Solstice was busy, holy cow, streets will be blocked off and there will be music, entertainment, food and vendors on
downtown streets again this weekend. I think our plan is to set-up EARLY, bring our chairs, extra clothes for weather and have the booth be our little piece of real estate to enjoy the festivities front and center! After set-up I think we'll keep Willie and his truck on the "outside" to let the poor doggies out mid day because I think we're in for a long day taking my art to the streets.


Linda Starr said...

Hi Cindy, that looks like fun, do you take a mini portfolio in case you run out of items to sell you can always show folks photos and do some commissions of work? I've been saving driftood for years, one of these days I will use it, love the fish.

cindy shake said...

Hi Linda, thanks for the post. Yes, I do have a couple of binders that I have put together over the years which are fun for customers to thumb through. It was more of a greedy thing for me to have enough inventory to make some extra $$ that wasn't cut by paying gallery commissions :o)

You could make clay fish heads and tails and use your driftwood like I did using steel...

Patricia Griffin said...

Wow Cindy, you have soooooo much going on.... I might steal a variation of the idea you gave LInda... We are in driftwood mecca here at the coast and this could be a fun project!