This past weekend was the 17th Riverdale Art walk in Leslieville. I couldn’t have asked for better weather, or for better neighbouring Artists to share this experience with. In our little corner of the art show, laughs were had, tears were shed, experiences were shared in support of each other and in lessons learned. All this came to mind as I sat down to write this post. So i’m about to share with you the reality of what it’s like to work towards a show, especially exhibiting outdoors, and what it means to the artists who stand behind their work.
Two major components come straight to mind: time and money. Each artist in his or her own way needs enough time to consider, develop and refine the work. This can only be achieved if time can be allocated to the task. In some cases, this means that other tasks and responsibilities are absorbed by a spouse or left abandoned on a long to-do list during this extensive time. Secondly, outdoor shows cost a lot of money. Materials in the creation of the work, submission fees to get into the show, equipment rentals, food, parking, and hotel expenses quickly add up. Before you know it, a thousand dollars has been spent and the show hasn’t even started yet. At the end of the day though, I have found that what truly makes a show like the Riverdale Art Walk a success for me is the support I receive from my family and friends throughout the process. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a child..”…well, it also takes a village to exhibit at an outdoor art show.
Outdoor show are all about the hustle. I have found that setting up for an outdoor show requires at least 2 people to pitch the tent, unload the vehicle, unwrap the work and hang the work. It can be exhausting and stressful to set the work up every morning and tear down the show every night to ensure that the work rests safely away from unsuspecting theft during the night. Every decision to conserve on expenses increases the dependency on your village, just as without a village, expenditures climb exponentially.
Despite it all, Artists continue to make their work and showcase them because we are passionate about what we do. For me, it’s about engaging the public one on one and being able to share my vision in hopes that connections are made and stories are shared. Artists are storytellers, except the words on our pages play upon colour, texture and spatial perspectives. As important as it is for exhibiting Artists to sell their work at these types of venues, sometimes, a compliment or a shared conversation about the work can be of equal value.
I dedicate this post to “my village”, especially my husband, whose love and support continues to carry me forward. A heart felt thanks to my clients and friends who came to show their support making the Riverdale Art Walk a personal and professional success for me this year.
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