Culture: ARTS FESTIVALS around the SOUTH 2012
Curated by Linda Lokey
Gail Ross and Julie McKinney (pictured) have been friends and co-creators for the last 5 years. Besides juggling kids and family, they look forward to weekends spent at local Southern Art Festivals. They not only show their wares but they have made life-long friends and have found kindred spirits among the other vendors. Their unique jewelry is made from various items including but not limited to clothing, soda tops, sea glass and gems. Their style is chic, artistic and bohemian.
Click here for some of their tips for visiting your next local art festival.
Q: Name your 5 favorite southern festivals to attend and why?
A: Our favorite festivals are: Dunwoody Arts Festival, Sandy Springs Art Festival, Norcross Arts Festival, Country Living Fair and St. Pius X Holiday Marketplace.
The main reasons that we love these particular festivals is:
the management teams that run them do an excellent job in setting up the shows, advertising, selecting good, quality artists and communication. Each have been in existence for many years and have a dedicated following of not only quality artists but many repeat customers/visitors. The Dunwoody Arts Festival, Norcross Art Festival and (new this year) the Acworth Art Festival are all run by the same management team of Splash Festivals. They do a fantastic job of running these art festivals and they treat the vendors (us) like royalty!! The lines of communication are always open with them, they have an extensive team of volunteers who help with the shows buy helping us vendors with set up, take down and through out the shows with things like, booth sitting if we need a break, a snack and drink cart that continuously comes around to treat us and always having a presence there to assist us in any way that we may need help or have questions. The Splash Festivals team rocks and we’ve learned that any show that they produce will have great results because they do such a good job advertising and getting the word out to their MANY loyal followers!!
Q: Do you usually buy items for yourself during a festival?
A: We always make a point of walking the festivals ourselves to check out the other vendors, both to shop for ourselves and also to see what others are producing, check out displays and use of booth space and to see if customers are drawn to their booths and if so, why. Inspiration, in both our products and displays, can come from other vendors and what’s working or not working for them. We have also made many contacts and friends with other vendors just comparing notes on what are good shows to do, what to stay away from, travel/hotel accommodations, money saving tips as far as expenses for shows, etc. Walking a show is a great way to network with other artists!
Q: If so, who are some of your favorite artists at festivals?
A: Every show varies as to artists we buy from. I don’t think that either of us has favorites. Sometimes there may be a vendor at a show that we’ve purchased from in the past and we check them out again for new items/products, but overall, we like the “thrill of the hunt” to find something new each time.
Q: What gives you inspiration for your work?
A: I would say that our inspiration comes mostly from just trying to look around us and picture putting things that we already have but do not utilize anymore to a new purpose. Either by taking apart old jewelry and remaking it into something exciting or cutting up old/out of style clothing and fashioning a new accessory or finding a new/unintentional purpose for stuff we have but no longer use in it’s original capacity, like a tennis racket to use as an earring display or a bike wheel used to suspend and hang necklaces. I’d say originally our inspiration was driven by trying to keep our costs down while trying to come up with an “ah-ha” theme of “why didn’t I think of using that”……..old sweater for a brooch, bottle cap for jewelry, sea glass for earrings, etc.!
Q: Can you explain why a ‘southern’ festival is unique or special?
A: I think that what’s unique at “southern” festivals is the overall warmth and friendliness not only from the customers, who seem to genuinely appreciate not only the craftsmanship/work that we put into our products, but our time commitment to put ourselves out there, but also the camaraderie we’ve experienced from competing vendors. We haven’t yet had any experiences where there seems to be a competition to “steal” customers from each other. We’re all in this together and tend to support each others ventures. We’re all in this “business” for different reasons, whether it’s because we have to financially or if it’s because we want to as our hobby, and we respect that of each other and support that.
2012 Schedule of Southern Art Festivals-
April 14 & 15 Acworth, GA Acworth Art Festival http://splashfestivals.com/
April 14 & 15 Chattanooga, TN
Four Bridges Art Festival
the First Tennessee Pavilion, Southside District of downtown, Saturday, 10am-6pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm
Dogwood Festival of the Arts
Friday, noon-8 pm; Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday, noon-7pm
29th Annual Contemporary Art Festival,
Linn Park, 710 20th St North,
Panoply Arts Festival
Big Spring International Park, Von Braun Center, Friday & Saturday, 5pm-9pm; Sunday, noon-8pm
(2 weekends) New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Course
60 Fine Art Exhibitors
April 28 & 29
Cherokee Triangle Art Fair
Cherokee Parkway in Willow Park
Hilton Head Island, SC
Art Market at Historic Honey Horn
Historic Honey Horn Plantation, Gumtree Rd
Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, 11am-4pm
New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Course
60 Fine Art Exhibitors
TACA Spring Craft Fair
held on the lawn of Nashville’s Parthenon, 2600 West End Avenue
Friday & Saturday, 10am-6pm; Sunday, 10am-5pm
West End Historic District
Friday, 4pm-8pm; Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday, 11am-6pm
May 12 & 13 Dunwoody, GA Dunwoody Art Festival http://splashfestivals.com/
May 12 & 13
Tupelo, MS GumTree Festival,
Old Courthouse lawn in Historic Downtown,
Saturday, 9am-5:30; Sunday, 10:30am-5pm
May 19 & 20
Artsplosure Spring Arts Festival
Moore Square, downtown
Saturday, 11am-7pm; Sunday, 10am-5pm
May 25-June 10 Charleston, SC Spoleto Festival, downtown, more than 140 performances in 13 venues, featuring 60 artistic ensembles and individual performers. Music, plays, dance and visual artist are all part of the 2 week festival. http://spoletousa.org
May 26 & 27
Decatur Arts Festival 2011
Historical Old Courthouse Square
Saturday, 9:30am-10:30 pm; Sunday, 11am-6pm
DATES below are still to be determined…
Harpers Ferry, WV
Mountain Heritage Art & Craft Festival, Sam Michael’s Park,
American Artisan Festival in Centennial Park, 2600 West End Ave,
Friday, noon-7pm; Saturday, 10am-7pm; Sunday, 10am-6pm
Village Art & Craft Fair
On the grounds of the Cathedral of all Souls in Biltmore Village
Saturday, 10am-7pm; Sunday, noon-6pm
September- Atlanta, GA 2011 Atlanta Arts Festival
Saturday, 10am-7pm; Sunday, 10am-6pm
September- Sandy Springs, GA Sandy Springs Art Festival http://www.sandyspringsfestival.com/
Durham, NC Centerfest, Foster Street at Durham Central Park, Downtown Durham
Saturday 10am-6pm; Sunday 12noon-6pm
September- Nashville, TN TACA Fall Craft Fair
Friday & Saturday, 10am-6pm; Sunday,10am-5pm
September- Atlanta, Georgia Midtown Festival of the Arts, Peachtree Street
Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday, 11 am-6pm
September- Fairhope, AL 23rd Annual Jubilee Festival, Omussee Creek Park 10am-5pm
September- Memphis, TN
Pink Palace Crafts Fair, Audubon Park,
Thursday, 10am-6pm; Friday, 10am-7pm; Saturday, 10am-7pm; Sunday, 10am-5pm
Louisville, KY St. James Court Art Show
in the Historic St. James Court neighborhood
Fri. & Sat., 10am -6 pm; Sun. 10am-5pm
October- Bella Vista, AR Bella Vista Arts & Crafts Festival
Located Forest Hills Blvd. and Hwy 340 in Bella Vista, 8am-5pm daily
October- Norcross, GA Norcross Art Festival http://splashfestivals.com/
Kentuck Festival of the Arts
Kentuck Park, 9am-5pm, 250 Exhibitors
November- Charlotte, NC Charlotte Festival of the Arts, Symphony Park at SouthPark Mall
November- Wilmington, NC Wilmington Art & Craft Show
Wilmington Convention Center, 515 Nutt St
Saturday, 10 am-5pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm