Well, I survived the Arts Market for the month of May and had to admit that it wasn’t bad for my first run. To quote Miami Herald columnist Dave Barry on the day of the event, “I spent a lot of time productively being nervous.” You can solicit tons of advice from people but at the end of the day, you really don’t know what to expect. I could have really kicked myself for not visiting the Arts Market back in March so I could get a feel for the space. While I had been to the Neighborhood Theater before, that was only for a concert.
This was a popular venue. Space was pretty tight. I had a pretty good spot out in the open, but my booth, or should I say table, was backed up right into another artist’s table. There was enough space for me and my booth-mate to slide back and forth behind our tables. I also had artists on either side of me which forced me to really make the best use of my space.
Since your art is an extension of yourself, you are basically out in the open for everyone to see. There were times when I wanted to retreat as people walked past my area. I watched as some people glanced at my work and would walk away disinterested, but then there were others who really spent time at my booth. Over time I became a little bit more comfortable but in the future I definitely need to work more on interacting with people.
What I liked most about the whole experience was the comradery among all of the other artists. Someone was always there to help if you needed an extension cord or lamp, or assistance with carrying items into the Theater. I so appreciated the encouraging words and advice from them.
The other fun part was visitations from friends and coworkers. It’s always interesting to see who comes out. The support was greatly appreciated and it also helped to pass the time when there were slow moments. Big ups to my volleyball crew for supplying me with a margarita and a couple of bottled waters on the second night.
There were a lot of, “I didn’t know you were an artist,” statements that came from friends. This surprised me because after all I KNEW I was an artist, therefore everyone else should have known. I did a few art projects for my church such as program covers and occasional shows with other artists at certain events. I am involved with the Visual Art Ministry at church. I even discussed potential projects with a small group of friends and coworkers on the regular. So in my microcosmic universe, everyone knew. I certainly didn’t get the word out as much as I thought.