Saturday, July 30, 2011

The day after yesterday

The 2011 Ithaca Artists Market has come and gone. Six brief hours of fun and chat, preceded by two weeks of my labors of love. Diane Janowski and I loaded up "Vanna White" with 20 paintings, ladder, lumber, signage, tools, stools, and foods. All the way to Ithaca the weather threatened, heavily. Couldn't even see the town when we hit the top of the hill coming in.

The farmers market was a blank slate. Artists began to arrive around 11AM. Saws, power drills (no nails, please!), some quiet four letter words. Power came on at noon. Activity began to build. Rain began to fall.

            Here's my booth, almost finished.

We set up in booth #79, between Alice Muhlback (the famous) and The Ink Shop. Paul Colucci was nearby, Nancy Ridenour across the aisle, Carlton Manzano down the way. My buddy Ed Marion was way down the other end. About seventy artists in all.

               Alice Muhlback and Carlton Manzano at Carlton's booth

Diane and I had started our day by reviewing Bettsie Park's wise advice about sales performance. We were focussed, primed and pumped. Diane had also done two really cool things: First, she set up my own QR code, so people could scan it with their smartphones/iPhones and get sent directly to my website. Second, and crucial, she got the "Square" for her iPod. This meant that we could easily take credit cards. It worked great and we used it for a nice sale at the market.

The third really cool thing that Diane did was that she took extra care in her morning beautifications. She was quite the attractant for my booth. That's important in Ithaca.

It was a whirlwind six hours. Thousands of visitors passed my booth. Hundreds stopped to look hard. We talked and talked. My smile muscles are sore today. The real pleasure of the Ithaca Artists Market experience is that the Ithaca audience is enlightened, prepared for the experience and anticipating a good time. People smile and engage with questions and polite comments. They bring their children and help them learn how to interact with artists. In fact, some of my most intriguing conversations were with young people.

               Liz Tilley. What more can I say?

Robin Schwartz is the Program Director and Brett Bossard. the Executive Director, of Community Arts Partnership, the sponsoring organization. They make the show happen. Robin promised no rain and she delivered. The day was warm and sunny, a tad muggy at 2PM, but the evening could not have been more delightful.

OK, it's the next day, 1PM, and it's time for a nap.

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