Way back in August 2011, I was asked by a friend to join the Springfield Old Capitol Art Fair board. I was told it would be a 6 year commitment, that it would be a lot of work, but that I would love every minute of it. And all of it was true! I joined as an exhibitor's assistant for one year (I assisted in recruiting artists to come to our Fair and to instruct them on what they needed to know), then two years as the exhibitor's chair, one year as chair elect (basically watch the chair and learn how to run the Fair), and then this was my big year as Chair. Next year I will complete my six hears as past chair (basically advise as needed).
This Fair was a big job - 160 artists filling 174 booth spaces, a Children's Tent with 3000 donated pieces of art, a Community Mural Project, 8 live music acts, 16 food vendors, 2 beer wagons/tents, tens of thousands of attendees, a large Artist Awards and Patron's Party, publicity posters and billboards, and half a dozen media interviews. This does not include the tiny details the typical attendee thinks about - such as port a potties, wastebasket placement, fire lanes, where to hang sponsor signs, getting the artists properly judged, recruiting volunteers, feeding the artists breakfast, and so much more. I am so thankful that I had a wonderful team of 28 board of directors that did their jobs so well - their hard work (plus gorgeous weather) made me look good ;)
This is a picture of artist set up day on Friday, May 20. There are four staggered set up times for the artists to unload their tents and artwork into their assigned spots. This is a very long day for the artists and for the board members.
Art Fair morning began at 6 a.m. on Saturday, May 21.
As chair, I gave the welcoming address, handed out student awards, and officially opened the Fair.
The winning student artwork that was used for all publicity.
Most of the SOCAF board that worked so hard to make this Fair a huge success (the other members were already hard at work at their stations).
Olivia loves to volunteer inside the Children's Tent assisting younger children with purchasing artwork. I love this Tent - it is not a place for children to MAKE art, but it is a place for them to learn to APPRECIATE art and purchase authentic artwork for $4-6. They enter into the Tent without their parents so that they are not influenced in any way while selecting a piece of art that appeals to them. I love to hear the stories from the kids explaining why they picked the art.
Ethan and one of the art pieces he bought in the Tent.
After a long, hot day at the Fair, we did a quick clean up and attended the Patron's Party. This party celebrates the artists by giving out their awards, as well as thanking all of our wonderful sponsors. I was so happy that the entire family could attend during my chair year!
My role at the party was to welcome the guests, discuss the importance of the Fair, and announce the award winners (my favorite part!). This is me giving the award to the Best of Show artist, who was stunned!
Day two of the Fair - Sunday, May 22. Sunday is by far my favorite day of the Fair - it is calmer, most artists are happy from a successful Saturday, and the award ribbons are hung in the tents. Below is a typical picture of the Art Fair - in headquarters, sitting on the multiple coolers, answering texts.
This Fair is an entire family event!
The finished Community Mural Project. We invite all ages to paint one of the 300 tiles to complete this project over the 2 days.
One of my jobs as chair was to select the Civic Purchase - a piece of artwork that will then be hung in a public space in Springfield. A board member and volunteer narrowed it down to 3 pieces, and I then picked which one would win.
The perk of being chair - the chair gift! I love my tree sculpture!
Colorful flowers from Joe to celebrate a wonderful year as chair. He has been so wonderful through this entire experience - volunteering, putting up with the non stop emails and meetings, and recognizing my accomplishment.