Monday, June 11, 2012

After the Festival, What Now?

So I did my first Columbus Arts Festival and I had a blast. Sold a lot of prints and got my name out there. It was truly a dream come true. Life affirming to say the least. Some artist paint because they can, I paint be cause I have to, creating is in my blood. Like oxygen I need it to breathe. The feedback that I received from the crowd was the best. The word I kept hearing over and over to describe my work was "joy," and  the feeling I experienced as I watched folks enter or pass my booth was "jubilant." My work, my thoughts, my truth, my little piece of heaven made people smile. It was affirming and humbling at the same time. Please allow me to share my experience with you.

First off I had spent almost every waking hour sketching, planning painting and framing. Suffering from occasional insomnia, I could barely sleep. Then the day finally came. Set up day was Thursday and my wonderful crew and I showed up at our scheduled time to the spot with our specially home made panels made of hollow core doors wrapped in felt. Sharp I must say. There were other artists around also busily setting up their booths as well. It was a cool evening and by the time we got our panels (walls) completely set up it was dark. Then the unthinkable, it started to rain. Talk about nerve racking, imagine taking your life's works, in which you have spent hours planning -painting -perfecting, out side in the elements. Trusting that a ten by ten canvas tent is going to hold up and be waterproof. We finished set up, carefully hanging every paintings just right and were heading home by midnight. I said a prayer asking for protection over my work and surprisingly feel fast asleep.

The first day I was open for business. It was cloudy but I felt acutely optimistic. As the day went on the temperature dropped and a constant mist laid above the festival. I made a few sales but as I looked around, no one seemed to be buying much of anything. It was a little depressing, my hair was frizzed up and I wore a coat,a  blanket and tennis shoes. It wasn't pretty but I never gave up and tried to keep a good attitude reminding myself that I was among a select few to be honored with the opportunity to be featured at the highly respected, Columbus Arts Fest. I calmed myself knowing that the forecast for Saturday called for sunnier and warmer weather and by faith, I claimed it as my own.

Saturday was 100% better. Just a perfect day. I met so many new people as well as being able to connect with old friends, many of whom didn't realize that I was a painter. My "Divine Grace of the Sun" series was the perfect way for me to introduce myself to the community.

Allowed me to get a better idea of what will work among the mass community as well as affirming for me that my work is I also made some great connections with other artists and a few media folks as well. Above is a picture of me and our fine Mayor, Mike Coleman, he has done wonders with our city. He now has two of my paintings in his private collection. It is always great to see him out supporting our community.

The other really important experience was that I was one of the only booths by a woman of color, and I feel I represented well. It was empowering knowing that my "Little Piece of Heaven" (my booth) truly did bring brilliant color to the Columbus Arts Festival in more ways than one. My work was met with many smiles, nods and thumbs ups. 

Since the arts fest I have spent this week so far attending to my day job as well as trying to get caught up on household duties that I had been neglecting. Giving myself a mental art festival debriefing, what worked, what didn't and what I will do next time. Overall it was a wonderful experience.

My next Columbus OH book signing and art showing will be June 22 at The Cavalier Club, 89 N. 17th St. My show will be the first of the Cavaliers summer series called "An Evening with My Sisters." I will be showing about 6 paintings, reading poetry and signing my book. We will also be featuring my wonderful spoken word kindred sister, Ms. Tanya Motley. Tanya is awesome and captures perfectly the spirit and tone of my work.  This promises to be an unforgettable evening of art, poetry and conversation. Please come join us!

What is next for me?, I am going to be researching art shows in the South to take the show on the road as well getting back on track with my book "An Umbrella in Case of Rain" My goal is to try and get it into mass distribution. I have a few "tricks up my sleeve to make this happen but I needed to give my full focus to the art festival, now that I have, time to slay the next dragon.  

Thanks to all who came down to support me, especially my loving family and friends Charles, Craig (Connie), April (Afro), my Dad, Tanya, Theresa and John. Special thanks also to those that actually purchased books or art from me. Also thanks to those of you that continually keep me in their prayers. You are all investing your time and energy graciously into me and my dream and I am ever grateful.

Until next time, always walk by faith!