Sunday, August 3, 2014

Navigating Art Fairs and Fine Arts Festivals

Summertime art fairs and fine arts festivals are popular in various communities. It’s a celebration of art and a way to bring the community and artists together.

Be inspired
If you have an artist in you waiting to be born, be inspired by what you see. Many art pieces are made from repurposed and/or found items, and you can make something similar or have fun trying. For example, one artist made jewelry and boxes from dominoes. I noticed that the earrings and necklaces had a hole drilled in the top of the dominoes. Then a wire or chain was inserted through it to make the jewelry. I can do that! I noticed an interesting purse made out of two berets sewed together with an opening at the top and a strap attached to the sides. I can do that! I also saw some beautiful serving utensils wrapped in colorful beads on a wire. I can do that! So, don’t buy it if you can do it.

Buy smart
Some artists were selling framed and unframed work. To save money, buy the unframed work. You can always go to Michael’s Arts and Crafts or JoAnn Fabric and Craft stores and purchase a frame with a mat at a discount price, sometimes 50% off the retail price. One-of-a-kind and personalized items make perfect shower, wedding, anniversary, and/or birthday gifts. It’s alright to splurge a little on these items. The recipient will appreciate the unique gift, and you won’t have to worry that someone else will be giving the same gift. Nearby stores take advantage of the art crowd by having sidewalk sales, so shop beyond the festival.

Have fun
Live entertainment, contests, games, and face painting are popular activities at fine arts festivals, but find out the times before you go. There’s something for the whole family. Some local restaurants even set up booths to sell popular menu items. Be careful though. It was 85 degrees when I went to the most recent local fine arts festival, and I saw a vendor selling fudge. I wondered how long the fudge had been sitting under the hot sun.

On second thought
If you’re not sure about making a purchase, ask for the artist’s business card. Many artists include their phone numbers, locations, and websites on the card. One artist also had a flyer with a list of the upcoming fine arts festivals in which she will be participating. Contact information is also necessary if you would like a personalized gift that can’t be made on the spot.

How does art inspire you? This is the story in you. Share it.


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