Yes, it’s true I stalk art festivals. I take them quite seriously. Whether in Boston, Denver or Atlanta, I will go out of my way to visit art festivals. I even plan vacations around them. Fortunately, two of my favorites are right here in Des Moines!
The Des Moines Arts Festival is a premier event and I enjoy strolling outside in Western Gateway perusing the work of artists. My eye always gravitates toward jewelry but I also enjoy paintings, pottery and sculpture. Sometimes I am puzzled by what I see but remain curious as to what inspired the artist. The other fun pastime is people watching. I never get bored with that. Dress appropriately for this outdoor festival. This year is likely to be hot and humid so lightweight fabrics and comfortable shoes are a must. Leave the suit and heels at home.
ArtFest Midwest, held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, is another great show with a wide variety of artists. I always find something at this show. Okay, more than something. I usually find a lot of things. Jewelry, serving ware and artwork. Ask for a map of the artists’ booths when you arrive at the Varied Industries Building so you can mark your favorites (carry a highlighter). ArtFest Midwest is held indoors so comfortable attire is recommended but sunscreen is not.
Prior to an art festival, I will research scheduled artists. Have I already collected their work? What is their price range? What medium do they use? Can I follow them on Facebook or Twitter? Once I’m at the art festival, I can examine and touch their work. I’m a very tactile person. It is not unusual for me to begin a conversation with an artist and learn more about them and their work. I have even been to several artists’ studios after meeting them at an art festival. This could be construed as stalking but I prefer to think of it as my passion!
Most of all, I try to be respectful of the artist and his or her work. Even if I don’t like it or understand it, I avoid pointing or saying anything that could be misconstrued. Good manners are a southern staple.
So Des Moines, we have some great shows coming up, will I see you there?
Cat photo; Jay Thompson; Saint Louis, MO; photography