This is a follow-up to my previous post, which covered preparations for Friday’s art show, NIA Fine Art Friday. Today I will write about the show itself and the many lessons we learned.
We had a smallish crowd (25-30 people), but everyone who came engaged wholeheartedly with the art and the artists. Our guests were sincerely interested in our work and our artistic processes, and we appreciated the opportunity to receive feedback.
In addition, we were grateful and proud to see two of our artists make sales. When one of us has a success, it is a success for us all. My Black Dahlia piece was purchased by someone who knew her story and recognized her image. Christina Bosco (below) also sold several items, which made me very happy.
NIA Fine Art Friday brought to a close a full year of work that involved meetings, fundraisers, group and solo art-making, event planning, marketing & promotion, and the installation and execution of our exhibit. Some of our efforts proved more effective than others, but we learned by doing. Each of us has evolved and can apply her experience toward any number of future artistic endeavors.
One thing that surprised me is the fact that attendance was higher at our smaller preview show in September. While there were some new faces at Friday’s show, the data has taught me that our core market will only support one event per year. From a business perspective, this data will help us avoid losses by consolidating our exposure.
There were a couple of events that didn’t happen at all. Our group-led workshop failed to attract the minimum number of registrants and had to be cancelled. We had also planned a wine tasting to tie in with the annual Chicago Artists Month. Unfortunately, the city decided to cancel this campaign for the first time in 20 years, possibly due to the retirement of its lead organizer.
There were, however, some pleasant surprises this year. The beverage donation from Lagunitas cut down significantly on our refreshment costs. We also had some help from our supporters, with an Indiegogo campaign, the sale of hand-painted wine glasses, and freewill donations at our preview event going a long way toward covering our event costs. I am still moved when I think about the sacrifices our fans made to help make this year possible.
What becomes of the NIA concept now? For now, we are taking a hiatus as each artist focuses on new projects and goals. Christopher W. Berry has announced that this was his last NIA collaboration; he is working on making connections in the abstract art community. Christina Bosco and Terrie Byrne are looking into entering art fairs and festivals. Meanwhile, I am completing private commissions and continuing to liquidate my inventory.
When and if NIA returns, some of us will have moved on, and there might be some new faces — as there have always been through our storied history. NIA will continue to make room for emerging artists to gain hands-on experience and interaction with potential fans and buyers.
Like true artists, we will create something out of nothing. For now, we return to the void.