From the Artist’s Point of View: Evansville Art Crawl and Bright Red Studio’s Unlisted Participation in MMoCA’s Gallery Night

Norah Perry
Production Assistant
Integrated Art Group

The population of Evansville, Wisconsin: 5,071. The population of Madison, Wisconsin: 240,323.

The Evansville Art Crawl and Bright Red’s unofficial participation in MMoCA’s Gallery Night. These events took place on different nights – this blog is not about comparing the events in terms of success, but rather my experience exhibiting in both.

The Evansville Art Crawl was on April 25th, 5:00-9:00 pm. It took place in Downtown Evansville, WI and featured over 25 artists exhibiting and demonstrating their artwork at 21 downtown businesses.

Gallery Night was on May 2nd, 2014. It took place in 66 locations throughout Madison, WI. Organized each spring and fall by MMoCA, Gallery Night offers an opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of exhibitions, opening receptions, special events, demonstrations, and refreshments at venues throughout the city.

Firstly, I’d like to note that I exhibited at True Nature Yoga Studio in Evansville, WI and Bright Red Studios in Madison, WI. Bright Red Studios show was entitled “Unlisted” as they decided not to officially list their name on the MMoCA Gallery Night flier. After a bad experience last year with less publicity than they’d hoped for, they decided to go a different route and promote themselves.

The Evansville Art Crawl felt “homier.” I put up all my artwork the day of the event; I helped organize hors d’oeuvres; aided other artists and got to know a little bit about each person that came in. It went by quickly and I did not expect to make any sales – though I did end up selling a few prints. The familiar feeling may have had to do with working at Integrated Art Group and thus seeing familiar faces, talking about various work places in the community and an overall sense of welcoming.

Bright Red Studios felt more “formal.” I dropped off my artwork days in advance; I was asked to bring a refreshment and I knew none of the artists before that night. However, once the event started, I did get to know all of the artists. That could have been the most interesting quality of the night. People were much less likely to approach each artist, either not knowing what to say or just there to peruse without buying. I did expect to make sales on Gallery Night, but I did not. After doing a quick after-show assessment, I realized that only one artist (out of ten) made a sale. I found this strange. The crowd was also much younger than I had anticipated.

The gap between what I expected to happen versus what did happen at each exhibition is marginal. I did think that since Bright Red had a show going during Gallery Night, they would definitely draw in a large, buying crowd. They drew in a crowd, but not the kind that I expected. I thought that Evansville Art Crawl would be a nice night to just talk to others about art – and it was, but it was also invigorating and rewarding. Each show is unique and tends to teach me something new about where I need to take my art. I love showing my artwork, and every exhibit opportunity is yet another chance to get my name out there and meet people that are as interested in art as I am.

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