This weekend was a difficult…in the journey of making work and getting it out into the world, there is a lot of disappointment and frustration. There are interactions with people that you think will lead to a big sale or interesting opportunity, and it just doesn’t pan out. Submitting work to gallery shows (and oftentimes paying for this chance) just to get rejected is standard. Same thing with art fairs – most of the “good” ones are juried, so you pay for them to review your work and then if you get accepted to the show, the booth fee itself is an additional expense. Then there is all of the time and financial investment leading up to the event – making work, restocking prints, promoting the event on your social media, purchasing things to display and transport the work, making sure all the ducks are in a row. All of this is for an event that could be a total bust. Maybe attendance isn’t high, or your work is just not a good fit for the customers attending…a lot can go wrong.
So that brings me to this weekend. I had been really excited for the Minnehaha Art Fair. It was the first year, and I was optimistic about how it would go. It was just a one-day event on Saturday. Setting up a tent and the display takes my husband and I a couple of hours, so we got there at 7:30 AM and got the tent up just in time for the rain to start. No problem – generally once it is up you stay fairly dry and can wait for it to pass. Only this time, it didn’t. The storm got stronger and stronger. Other artists around me were giving up and leaving. The ground, even under my tent, was a giant mud puddle an inch deep. I was soaked to the bone and juggling setting up in the right order without getting anything important covered in rain and mud. At 9:45 AM, after I managed to get everything set up and 15 minutes before the show was supposed to start, it was cancelled. It made sense – it’s not great being in a tent in the middle of a lightning storm, and it looked like the storm was going to stick around longer than what had been anticipated earlier that morning. So I call my husband to come back, and we carry everything pack – trip after trip in the pouring rain of bringing my prints, framed work, tables, and tent back to our cars. Truly, one of the more miserable experiences of our recent history. We looked at each other and were trying to decide if this would be one of the moments we would never speak of again, or if it would be funny later after some time passed. When it was bright and sunny at 2 PM that afternoon and my husband was mowing the lawn, it still wasn’t funny but at least we could commiserate about it.
I don’t often talk about the behind-the-scenes aspects of this, but I think it is important. I have a lot of conversations about the time it takes to make my art and the patience involved in finishing a piece. However, the “business” part of it is much harder. It takes a lot of time, money, and energy to get the work in front of people that is totally separate from the process of creating. While I think the successes do make it worth it, there are a lot of difficult times scattered between.
I’m still waiting to hear from the organizers what will happen. I’m hoping it will be rescheduled since I still think it would be a fun event. I think I’ll just need a little bit of time to emotionally recover from going back to that park.