Hi Friends....Here is my review of Art in the Park in Columbia, MO...one note: I was originally scheduled to be at Summerfair in Cincinnatti, OH this past weekend, but chose this show instead due to a "gut" feeling. Enjoy!
I arrived at the show which is held in Stephens Lake Park in Columbia on Friday afternoon. The park is beautiful and an ideal place for a show. I checked in and due to recent rains, the park was not allowing any vehicles in the park or golf carts on the grass. In most cases, this would have been a dolly in by yourself set up, but not this show. I was met with 2 volunteers in a golf cart who helped me unload my van, placed everything on the cart and drove on the sidewalks to my booth assignment and helped me unload everything. It was the easiest and fastest load in ever! The volunteers were very nice and eager to help. I set up the tent, panels and shelves and due to the threat of bad storms overnight, opted to stop there and bring in the art Saturday morning. Fortunately, the area did not have the 60 mile an hour winds that were being forecasted, we got lucky, the storm took a southern turn and missed Columbia with the exception of some rain.
Friday evening was the artist welcome reception at the Columbia Art League Gallery. It was very nice with adult beverages and delicious pizza, salad and dessert. All complimentary and provided by the League.
Saturday morning was the remainder of set up and load in for many and it ran very smoothly. Some artists had to be relocated due to the mud and everyone seemed to be doing well. The show started at about 10am and the people came. I had good sales on Saturday and ended the day with all costs covered. Booth sitters were abundant and the show was cofortable to do.
Saturday evening the show held an awards dinner. The dinner was very nice in a reception hall that was beautifully decorated and the food was very good. Awards were given out in all categories with a Mayor's choice award and 3 Best of Show awards (1st, 2nd and 3rd).
Sunday was just as busy as Saturday with good crowds and good sales. I ended the show with a good profit and hopes of returning next year. Load out was similar to load in. After breaking down the booth, volunteers came with golf carts and drove everything to my van and I was loaded up in about 15 minutes and on my way home. It was amazingly easy.
Ok, now that the particulars are done I would like to talk about the show's Director, Diana Moxon and her volunteers. First of all, let me say that Diana is truly amazing. I have rarely seen a show director who is as involved and works as hard as Diana does. This show had its share of challenges due to the weather and having to deal with mud issues and the relocation of many booths. Diana managed to pull this off like a well seasoned professional. She was there late at night and early in the morning and worked all day long making sure artists were taken care of and happy. She truly values and cares about each artist and it shows. She was assisted by a staff of very caring and hard working volunteers who were as dedicated to the artists as she was. At no time during any part of the show, no matter how busy or tired they were, were any of the volunteers or Diana not friendy or attentive. They were all truly amazing. It was said many times that the people of Columbia look forward to this show all year and love it and they truly do. I was, as was every other artist I spoke with, grateful for and very impressed with Diana and her staff. If there was a show director award, Diana would surely win first place!!
I was able to meet many nice artists at this show and I bought a lot of art in Columbia. I felt the show was well juried and had just about everything I love in it. I was able to purchase an original piece from Lorraine McFarland, Pastelist, that I adore and have already hung it in my home. I met Lorraine earlier this year and she is also an AFI member. I was also fortunate enough to be approached by the Bluestem Gallery and offered representation with a 12 piece collection to start. I did not know this was such a well reputed gallery at the time, and am now thoroughly excited that they chose me.
Overall, this show recieves a grade of A++ from me for organization, Show Director and Staff, artist treatment and venue. Sales were good, I made a good profit and I will re-apply next year and hope to be accepted.
I will be doing Talbot Street Art Fair this coming weekend. My husband will be with me for the first time in a long time. Hopefully, we won't kill each other hehehe. Look for that review next Monday. Thanks for reading! Elle