Friday, November 10, 2017

Behind the Scenes at the Holiday Art Show

I know, I know, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet and all the holiday bazaars are opening their doors to entice all the early holiday shoppers. Well not to be outdone, we have a unique opportunity for our “Unique Boutique” to support artists with disabilities and VSA Texas at the same time.

We started this tradition nine years ago at our ACCESS Gallery on 34th Street off Guadalupe. After closing the gallery, we moved our little bazaar to the AGE Building where our offices are located. We took the opportunity to transform our large classroom (Room 101) into a holiday bazaar filled with lights, music, arts and crafts of all kinds, and delicious holiday smells. We have knitted dresses, jewelry, braille cards, paintings, wood carved clocks, the cutest little spoons with designer spoon handles, glassware, and so much more. Artists get 70% of the sale price and VSA Texas gets 30%.

Here's a glimpse of just what it takes to produce this thing:

1. Before we even receive the art, we alert the media and begin to promote the show on social media.
2. We send out a statewide call for art.
3. Our Artworks Director and Executive Director review submissions and determine which pieces will work best in the show.
4. Selected pieces make their way here through the mail or hand delivery and down the hall to Room 101 where everything gets categorized and unpacked.

April hauls empty cardboard boxes out of Room 101.

5. We print the artist statements to be hung in Room 101.
6. Linens get steamed, panels go up, tables pulled out, shelves painted, lights strung (BLING).

Bright overhead lights shine on the art in Room 101.

7. Showcases for jewelry and glassware are lit up (more BLING).
8. We hang the art, and everything gets put in its alluring place.
9. Pizza figures into the weeks of set-up.

Pizza pie!

...and the box it came in

10. Signage arrives for the outside of the AGE Building.
11. The banner is printed (after finding out the file isn't right and having to rush the order, but it gets done, sigh).
12. Posters and postcards arrive (poster may have a problem, but it gets resolved, another sigh).
13. Signage assembled and ready to post outside
14. Lights strung around our stellar new banner at the entrance to the show
15. The opening reception is around the corner: food ordered, people invited, hair pulled, “where is that battery for our lights???”

Whew! And that doesn't even cover it. After several months of preparation and promotion, we finally open the show, and it’s MAGIC. We have over 70 original pieces on display with multiple replacements, so we are really looking at hundreds of items ready to be sold.

“Cat” painting by Allison Merriweather

Fused glass tray made by Jordana Gerlach

Be sure to join us for our Preview Party Monday, November 13th, from 6:00-8:00 PM in Room 101 of the AGE of Central Texas Building off 38th Street, east of Guadalupe. Look for the signs! Direct yourself to 3707 Home Lane for the most convenient entrance. All doors are locked for this secret event, but phone numbers will be posted so that we can let you in. RSVP and invite your friends to our Facebook event page here.

AND REMEMBER THE MOST IMPORTANT PART: This is an opportunity for these artists to showcase their talent, be recognized, and sell their art! Every year I have a favorite piece, and this year it's a wonderful Flamenco Dancer (below), but I also like the fused glass wind chimes. Hmmm...

“Flamenco Dancers at Fiesta” by Miguel Vasquez

Fused glass wind chimes made by Sue Lloyd-Ducette

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