awards (5)

Who were October's Art Stars?

8869111890?profile=originalMany thanks to all of you who keep this community active and full of useful information and great stories about living the life of an artist.

Here are the people who won the weekly post of the week awards. Which one deserves to win "Post of the Month?"


8869081278?profile=originalWho has contributed the most to the community this month and deserves the Big Red Dot on their profile picture?

  • Scott Pakulski, Maryllis Wolfgang, Laurie Olefson, or write it in ...

Click here to take survey

Deadline for voting: November 14, 6 pm

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Dirty Little Secrets

I’ve seen a lot of posts lately from artists with the same concerns as mine.  Extended deadlines after artists have already been rejected.  Exorbitant late application fees.  Calls for Artists issued after certain categories are full without disclosure of the categories that are open, if any sometimes.  The number of available spaces and applications per medium not fully disclosed.  Unknown jury members.  Shows trolling artist websites prior to ‘blind’ jurying.  Sneaky Buy/Sell crap.  Application and booth payment deadlines almost a year before the show date.  Advertised award amounts that are never given out.  Unfair refund policies.  Rising booth costs, rising application fees, rising expenses, dwindling returns.   Shows that are all about the spectacle of a festival not about the art.  Blacklisting artists because of their outspokenness.  And the many other dirty little secrets that prevent artists from reaching their full potential.


Many artists wring their hands and lament there is nothing that can be done about any of this, it’s always been this way, you have to learn to fight within the system, blahblahblah.  Not me.  I want to make a difference.  I PLAN to make a difference.  It is my future and I will fight for it.  If you want to make a difference also, The Corner Booth ( is a good place to start.  Don’t come there looking for advice on tents or weights or good photos.  Don’t come to hear Cumbaya and violins playing while a show’s selection of bagels is lauded around a website.  Come for spirited dialogue about the really important stuff I mentioned above.   Call out the shows for their behavior, good and bad, and be specific in your examples.  Strong opinions are needed, both pro and con.  Your opposition will be just as valued as your approval.  Don’t miss out on the companion site if you haven’t gone there yet.  Lots of amazing ideas there.


One concept formulated on TCB is if artists know more about the shows themselves, they can make more educated decisions about which shows to participate in.  TCB has undertaken its first project to gather and analyze statistical show information obtained from polling a number of prominent shows.  Much of the information requested is currently available somewhere already, either on the shows’ sites or one of the online entry systems.  But the heart of the survey, how many spots are really available and how many applications are received per medium, is what artists really need to see.  And what many shows don’t want the artists to see.  Broad Ripple and Krasl are two known shows that already share this information with their applicants.  TCB just wants to make it available for everybody, and about as many shows as possible, hopefully all of them. 


The goal of this first survey is not to pass judgment, not to organize a boycott, not to embarrass or humiliate an organization.  It’s simply an attempt to get valuable information into the hands of the artists.  Knowledge is power.  Let’s get some.  No more just blindly throwing jury fees at a show hoping they’ll stick.  To be sure, we should all have the confidence to think our art is the best and we can beat out 21 other applicants for a show’s 5 spots.  But what if there were really only two spots?  Now how about 10 spots?  Don’t you just want to KNOW what you’re up against?  More surveys are in the works.   There are just too many issues to try to address all of them in one poll. 


I’m hoping what comes out of this effort is a little more disclosure and transparency from the shows.  I don’t care if a show has 300 booths, and gives 298 of them to its preferred artists.  AS. LONG. AS. THEY. TELL. ME.  I don’t care if a deadline is extended, but I do want to know why, what categories might already be filled, and how many applications they’ve already received in my category.  I want to know who their jury members are, and what other shows share those same jurors.  I want to know they jury out and/or kick out buy/sell crap because they are knowledgeable enough to do so.  I want them to value my art, not feel so threatened by my opinion that they blackball me.  I want all of these things and more.  I want it to be about the art, not the side-show.

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Another Year already!

Hard to believe that another year is almost gone! Where on earth does the time go? Although I do not post that often, I do keep up with what is posted and the various calendar of events, thanks to Connie.

In keeping with postings, and I know it's waaaay early, I would like to invite all out there to mark on their calendars the dates of October 7, 8, 9 and 10, 2011. Why, you ask, well it is the celebration of the 16th Annual Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival, that's why! This is a wonderful group of people who go over and above the volunteering to help preserve, protect and, in many cases reconstruct, our nation's lighthouses as well as those world wide. Lighthouses played, and still to in many areas, an important part of our maritime history and during times of war served as lookout points in some areas. There will be craftsman, artists, vendors, stainglass, clothing, authors, winery, interactive events, entertainment and FOOD! Can't forget that now, can I. ~2~ The GLLF has a number of scholarships going that go to our young and future lightkeepers and is our way of thanking them for volunteering their time. Hope to see you there.

This past weekend I was in Escanaba, Michigan attending a mini-conference for the Michigan Regional chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. It was wonderful! One of the events was a visual art competition between the chapters and the artwork and sculptures were fantastic, not to mention the performing arts that were put on. Quite a lot of talented people there. Believe it or not there were a large number of attendees in the 40, 50 and 60 plus age bracket there that are in the process of obtaining various degrees from community colleges and university. I myself was recently awarded a medal of achievement and made the All Michigan Academic Team, which was a very humbling experience. Now I know this has nothing to do with the arts; however, without the artistic dreaming and abilities of many of these individuals in graphic arts, oils, performings arts, writing and such, our craft and the beauty that is created could disappear or not grow to its full potential.

My hat is off to all of you out there who go that extra mile and never listen to the voice that says "you can't" because those words are not in our vocabulary. Well done one and all and thank you for providing the encouragement that help push the rest ofus on to keep striving to create, to dream and to achieve.

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Amy Baker, Downtown Community Alliance
(515) 286-4919 or (515) 577-7495

For Immediate Release

Des Moines Arts Festival is Recognized as
Best Overall Festival and Event in the World

DOWNTOWN DES MOINES – The International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) paid tribute to the Des Moines Arts Festival® with 21 awards in the prestigious IFEA/Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards competition on Sept.15, 2010 at the IFEA’s 55th Annual Convention & Expo in Saint Louis.

The highlight of ceremony was the Des Moines Arts Festival
winning the Gold Grand Pinnacle Award. The Gold Grand Pinnacle is IFEA’s highest award, reflecting the best overall festival and event in the world.

“We would like to congratulate the Des Moines Arts Festival for their outstanding
entries into this year’s competition,” said IFEA President & CEO, Steven Wood Schmader, CFEE. “The IFEA/Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards represents the hallmark of excellence in the festivals and events industry. Entries in every budget category, from every corner of the globe, allow us to recognize the best in our business while raising the standards and quality of media promotions and events across the board.”

In addition to winning the Gold Grand Pinnacle, the Des Moines Arts Festival also brought home 20 other awards including:

Eight Gold Awards
Best Commemorative Poster – Jodi Perry’s Summer Daydream; Best Single Magazine Display Ad; Best Event Invitation; Best Sponsor Follow-up Report; Best Environmental Program – Hy-Vee Green Arts Program; Best Community Outreach Program – Prairie Meadows Community Outreach Program; Best Children's Programming; and Best Press/Media Kit.

Eight Silver Awards
Best Outdoor Billboard; Best Sponsor Solicitation Package; Best Single New Sponsorship Program – Hy-Vee Green Arts Program.; Best Sponsorship Program for Individual Sponsor – Prairie Meadows; Best New Promotion – Best Event (within an existing festival); Interrobang Film Festival presented by Nationwide; Best T-Shirt Design; and Best Overall Merchandising Program.

Four Bronze Awards

Best Newspaper Insert/Supplement; Best Single Newspaper Display Ad; Best Sponsor – Principal Financial Group; and Best Hat.

Sponsored by industry leader Haas & Wilkerson Insurance, the professional competition draws entries from among the world’s top festivals and events. Winning entries came from organizations as diverse as the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Denver, CO; Borderfest Association, Festival of Lights, Hidalgo, TX; Shows Etc.-Idaho State Capital Building Rededication Celebration, Boise, ID; Kentucky Derby Festival, Louisville, KY; Saint Louis Art Fair, Saint Louis, MO; and the International VSA Festival, Washington DC. International contenders included such diverse event organizations as Baekje Cultural Festival, South Korea; Ludwig Van Beethoven Easter Festival, Krakow, Poland; Rotterdam Festivals, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Festival Lent, Slovenia and Sentosa Development Corporation, Sentosa, Singapore.

The Des Moines Arts Festival is produced by the Downtown Events Group, a division of the Downtown Community Alliance.


The Des Moines Arts Festival ® is presented by The Des Moines Register, founded by the Des Moines Art Center and produced by Downtown Events Group. The Festival is sponsored by Prairie Meadows, Principal Financial Group®, Aviva, BRAVO Greater Des Moines, Bank of the West, Des Moines Radio Group, GuideOne Insurance, Hy-Vee, Iowa Public Radio, Meredith Corporation, ME&V, Nationwide, U.S. Cellular®, and WHO-HD 13. For more information on the Des Moines Arts Festival visit

International Festivals & Events Association

Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) is The Premiere Association Supporting and Enabling Festival & Event Professionals Worldwide. In partnership with global affiliates under the umbrellas of IFEA A6frica, IFEA Asia, IFEA Australia, IFEA Europe, IFEA Latin America, IFEA Middle East, and IFEA North America the organization's common vision is for A Globally United Industry that Touches Lives in a Positive Way through Celebration," The Association offers the most complete source of ideas, resources, information, education and networking for festival and event professionals worldwide. For a complete list of winners and more information on the IFEA, go to

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How 'bout these awards?

Now how cool are these? Fiber artist Diane Tessman makes these one of a kind award ribbons in her studio in St. Louis. The fabric ribbons are handmade of fine quality fabrics, ribbons, and yarns. Each ribbon is an individual expression - no two are alike. Ribbons are embellished with yarns, buttons, jewels, and beads.

Lisa Konikow and I have been working as the art directors of Arts, Beats & Eats since its' inception in 1998, in the glory days of our nation's (and Michigan's) economy. Like show directors everywhere we are always looking for ways to make it better and different from the other art fairs and we are so pleased to have these ribbons made especially for us for our show next weekend!

This is an unsolicited testimonial -- just want the rest of you show directors to see these!

Learn more about Diane and on her website.
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