I think if every artist were honest we would tell you that in theory some events sound wondeful, but the results are often different than planned. Recently we were invited to the Shaker Heights Historical Society Garden Tour and Artist Market. The grounds of the mansion, located on South Park Drive in Shaker Heights are vintage, deluxe, reminders of a more gracious age. Situated in a neighborhood with million dollar mansions that date to the beginnings of development of Shaker Heights this gracious home for the historical society provides a beautiful backdrop. Tents sprung up throughout the back yard. And the posters were beautiful, advertising the garden tour, which begins and ends at the historical society.
And the company of artists was wonderful…. pottery and hypertufa pots, jewelry, baby blankets, antiques, tye dye, and ofcourse our soap, silk and so much more. The day was beautiful, bright and sunny, with temperatures in the 80s. And our spot offered some shade even without the tent, as we were under a large stand of ancient trees.
The event wanted to be brilliant. All of the right things were done – great promotion, well advertised, well planned, and carefully designed to create a fun and charming atmosphere. The weather cooperated well. Yet the crowds did not come. Oh, there were people streaming through, parking their bicycle and walking around. But the crowd that would make it profitable to be there just did not come.
I was talking with a few of the fellow artists and realized we all felt the same thing – we gave our word we would be here. We did our part to advertise, email, blog, post about the event…. yet in spite of all of the activity to bring people the thundering herds did not come.
We can say that our products will sell even when other people do not see sales. Soap is something people like. And as a consumer i know that was always something i would buy at events. More difficult might be the beautiful wood fire glazed ceramics, or the large hypertufa pots. Economics have hit almost every corner of the region, resulting in lower attendance at paid events, and still lower impulse buying of art, antiques and handcrafts. It is unclear what the solution is, however the economy needs to be strengthened, people put back to work, and the general perception that it is acceptable to buy things again needs to return. Until then, as an artist we will find ourselves sticking by our word that we are there, in spite of the mind numbing slowness some events bring. I am not alone on keeping my word.