Vicki Rocker, organizer for the Spring 2020 Beaux Arts Fair, discusses her organization's switch to a virtual version of the annual Mother's Day-weekend event, with this year's festival taking place online May 9 and 10. We spoke on Wednesday, April 29.
Creating the Virtual Fair
I really need to give my son credit for the beginnings of it all, because he was the first one that mentioned “What about something online?” We always had a list of our artists and how you can contact them on our Web site, and this year, instead of just having contact information, we began putting one of their juried pictures on there, too, so people could see examples of their work. So it was super-easy to switch over to a virtual sale, because it had already kind of started.
When the artists applied, they had to send in three pictures of their work and then one of their booth. So we just used one of their juried pictures from their application and put it online. And what happens is you click on that picture and then that'll take you to their Web site with their information. And then from there on it's up to them how they handle their sale.
Sherry Larson is a member of Beaux Arts, and she's our Web-site lady, and she's just fabulous – she's done a really good job with getting everything online. There are certain things that I know are important for me to learn, and there are other things, like getting things on the Web site, that aren't quite as important for me to learn (laughs). So I just stay in my lane with that.
Keeping the Mother's Day Tradition
The May art fair has always been a Mother's Day kind of tradition. Mom and Dad take out grandma, they go for breakfast, and then they come to the art fair. And so what we're trying to do is keep that going, and what we suggest is call your mom, call your daughter, call your friend, whomever you might have gone to the art fair with, and go online together. Shop the art fair.
Whether they give free shipping or other discounts or whatever, I don't know. That's up to the individual artists. And people can purchase from our Web site any time. But the days when artists are offering special discounts are the 9th and 10th – the actual art-fair days. All day long. Go for it. I'm sure they'll accept your quarter any time on those days. (Laughs.)
And people can find anything they want. Oh gosh, we have pottery, we have jewelry, photography, stained glass, wood, paintings, of course, sculpture, furniture … . Pretty much everything.
How to Support Beaux Arts … and Each Other
Artists have been hit really hard by this. They're right in there with the service workers – and they don't even have take-out windows where they can make money. Hopefully, they might have a Web site that someone can see, but … . I had one lady tell me that she had over 20 of her art fairs cancel already this year. And for me, I did art fairs for almost 40 years, and that was a paycheck. And to miss 20 paydays is pretty extreme. It's like with musicians. My son plays guitar, and he's had all of his gigs canceled.
Fingers crossed, we can still do the September fair [outdoors at the Figge Art Museum], but we'll see. Right now, the only thing I know is we need to keep supporting the arts. Go online; see who's out there. Even the galleries are closed, but you can go to their Web sites and see who they're promoting. Go to our Web site (laughs)! There are a lot of great artists on there, too! Help the arts however you can, and don't forget about them. They're in trouble, too.