Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Flipping For Flagler Fine Arts Fest - PART 1

Never afraid of a challenge I decided to participate in this Sunday's Flagler Fine Arts Festival. Mainly because I love Flagler Beach, am fond of and trust the festival director and, knowing my mother used to do this almost every weekend during her Cape Cod summers, I wanted to give it a try. I mean, how awesome to hold an art event directly across from the ocean, on a Sunday, in the heart of one of the best small towns in America, FLAGLER BEACH!?! Yessir, I thought, I'm in! Oh wait, it's outside?! Will I need a tent? Doh!

And so I begin to open the door to my studio just a bit and share some of the funny and just plain stupid things I am doing to prepare. Let's start with the easy stuff - just two, very simple things....


#1 - Getting A Tent 
No, it's not mandatory but gee you do want to look like a professional, right? I first went to The Flagler Fine Arts Festival website and found a vast amount of helpful information and options. Then I went on Craigslist and looked for used tents and was immediately met with a) sticker shock and b) shock at how quickly they sell. Three tents I bookmarked were gone the very next day. But because of the price and the fact that I have no idea if this is something I want to do beyond this event, I decided not to buy one anyway.

The good news is a very close friend said she spoke to a mutual friend who has a Trim Line tent (see photo) and was willing to let me borrow it for the day. Yeah! So I replied to the Festival director that I would commit. I mean, hey, I have a tent! No worries!

#2 - Displaying My Paintings
The tent is absolutely gorgeous and looks even better than the one in the photo as it has stabilizer bars (we learn why) and "windows" front and back (again, we learn why in a bit). There is just one small problem: she used the tent to sell her handmade jewelry and thus does not have any of the professional "walls" that you buy to put inside these tents to professionally display your paintings. So, back to Craigslist I went only to find the "mesh" walls and other alternatives I had bookmarked a few days ago only to discover that these, too were also all...sold! So on to plan B = renting panels.

Another artist friend said she was looking at panels to rent the next day and offered that I go with her and maybe we could share the expected cost of $150.  We met at the woman's very organized garage  filled with boxes, tools and supplies used during her twenty years of being on the art show circuit. We are thirsty for information and pepper her with questions and feel like complete dorks at our lack of knowledge. As she talks though we immediately pick up that she loved the vagabond life and learn that she made a great living at it (she's a photographer). And our ears perk up when she talks about a few disasters when "other people" didn't know they needed stabilizer bars, heavy weights and room for the wind to flow the walls and one time a few tents were picked up by the wind and flew like tents through a crowded show injuring others and destroying artwork and then she stops abruptly and asks, where's your festival again? Is it windy there?  Gulp. It's right next to the ocean!?  The silence swung between us like sheets on a clothesline.

We leave this wonderful woman's home feeling more overwhelmed yet after looking at the pro panels we are filled with confidence that we can build something on our own and for a lot less. So we head directly to plan C...Home Depot. Stay tuned! Part two to follow.


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