Thornebrook Arts Festival
In the medium-sized city in which I live (Gainesville, FL, about 85,000 people, plus 65,000 college students), there are 3 art festivals each year. The biggest one, the Spring Arts Festival sponsored by Santa Fe College, is difficult for artists to enter (they have to submit slides, and the entry fee is around $200), happens in early March, and typically draws a crowd of around 100,000. The next-biggest one, the Downtown Arts Festival, happens in the Fall and takes place in the Downtown area, as its name suggests. Easier to get in for artists, but a very high-quality show, garnering awards from whatever organization rates shows.
The smallest festival, the newest one, and the one I attended yesterday as well as today, is the Thornebrook Arts Festival. Thornebrook is a collection of shops and restaurants, just a few blocks from my house, and I frequent it a good bit (breakfast at Bageland with my group on Fridays, my framing done by Thornebrook Gallery, ice cream cones from TCBY, etc.).
So I went to the arts festival yesterday. Here is a picture:
There are artists’ booths, live music, food trucks, and lots of people (some of whom I know, some of whom I see once a year at the Thornebrook Arts Festival). I talked to my friend Julie, with whom I went to grad school and worked with many years at Santa Fe College. I bought a painting from her at last year’s festival. She also writes novels, including one in progress that I did some editing on last year.
And I bought a painting from my friend Roxanne, a sample of whose work is here:
If you look hard at the bottom right, you see a “Sold” sign. Well, Roxanne sold something on
the order of 20 paintings, an amazing number. No one sells 20 paintings at a
festival, but somehow she did. Part of it is that her paintings are fun, but another part of it
is her $25-40 pricing. Festival-goers wander around looking to buy something, seeing all
sorts of things they’d like to have, but the prices are $250-2,000. So when they see
something they like for an affordable price, they’re all over it.
I’ve worked as a volunteer for the Spring Arts Festival many times over the years, and that’s
what I base the observations above on. Jewelry makers benefit also from their relatively
low prices — can’t buy that beautiful $800 painting, but I can afford that $75 necklace.
Here’s a picture of the Roxanne painting I actually bought, gardenias in a vase, which now graces my