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If there was any better show organizer than Bob McFarland at Ridgeland, MS, I would love to hear about him. They had to have broken the mold when they made him! From the time the tired tires of my van hit the show site, he was sitting in a golf cart asking if we needed anything. 

For those keeping score, the Ridgeland Fine Arts show is an extremely well run, modest show held the first weekend of April. HC Porter (one of our own) was instrumental in organizing the event almost ten years ago and is still active in its implementation.

I don't think you could ask for a nicer crowd than folks that support this event every year. The are truly engaged and interested in the work. The setting is an upscale mall north of Jackson in a rather affluent area the seems to be growing a good pace. While limited in the number of artists, the work is very high quality and as I mentioned the patrons (many of whom are collectors) appreciate it. You can always tell a good show by the low number of first time artist participants. This show is no exception. 

Since the show setting is in a mall, it is an easy set up and easy break down. Sales we generally uniform where everybody got something. Ridgeland tends toward being a 2-D event with jewelry and fiber being less prominent.

A two-day show, Saturday the weather was unbelievable. Folks crammed into booths and the vibe was def. exciting. It was the better of the sales days, with be-backs picking up items they had already scoped out on Sunday. The weather turned on Sunday when 20% chance of rain turned to 100%. Winds picked up and at least one ez up was turned into an oversized metal spider carcass. 

This is where Bob's team really stepped up to the plate. Newsletters were circulated as the weather changed. Updates were being given out every fifteen minutes by his staff. Finally he left it up to the artists as to when they could exercise their options to leave. Absolutely fantastic! We got out dry just as the first drops of rain began to fall at 5:30. (This was the same storm the wiped out many in Austin.)

Again, kudos to the team at Ridgeland for taking care of us!

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Comment by Connie Mettler on April 3, 2017 at 12:14pm

Great to have a first hand report on this show, Paul. Thank you. I met Bob at an NAIA conference a few years ago. He is very interested in hosting a good event and "gets" that we need buyers to make this business go forward and understands the needs of the artists also. Good to know he is doing such a fine job. The show is also held on a good date, pretty wide open, that should insure that it is full of quality art.

Comment by Donald Golden on April 3, 2017 at 2:50pm

I second everything written above.  You can tell that this show is run by someone with expertise in directing with heavy input from local artists, namely HC.  The show was everything it was billed as and more & as word gets around, I expect it to continue to grow in both size and attendance.  Kuddos to Bob MacFarland, HC Porter, the mayor of Ridgeland who spoke at the awards banquet (name slips my mind) and the fine citizens of Mississippi!

Comment by Nels Johnson on April 4, 2017 at 8:57am
Is it held inside the mall or outside
Comment by Donald Golden on April 4, 2017 at 9:27am

The show is outdoors.  It is not a traditional mega mall inside one main building.  It is a gathering of buildings with a crossroads going through the center with a lovely clock tower.  Attached is a photo from the show.

Comment by Wallace Fuller on April 5, 2017 at 10:58am

I agree with all that Paul said. We have done the show for several years and Bob is always available and interested in how can he help the artist and how can he improve the show.

He can do nothing about the weather, it went from storms late Sunday night to rain about 2:00 and by Monday morning there were reports of 3 to 5 inches of rain.   

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