The Independent Artist Podcast

Not Just the Biggest Party in Miami/ Camille Marchese

May 15, 2023 Douglas Sigwarth/ Will Armstrong/ Camille Marchese Season 3 Episode 9
The Independent Artist Podcast
Not Just the Biggest Party in Miami/ Camille Marchese
Show Notes Transcript

When  Camille Marchese was hired as the Executive Director for the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, she posed a very important question to the Board of Directors. She asked, "Would you like this to be the biggest party in Miami or the best art festival in the country?" The decision to focus on the art became the benchmark that impacted every decision related to the planning and execution of the festival moving forward. In this conversation, Camille describes her experiences with making hard choices and the pressure to stand behind her conviction regarding issues like the jury, the number of exhibitors, and the emerging artist program.

Evan Reinheimer's video from the Emerging Artist Program at Coconut Grove

Visual artists Douglas Sigwarth and Will Armstrong co-host and discuss topics affecting working artists. Each episode is a deep dive into a conversation with a guest artist who shares their unique experiences as an independent professional artist.

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[Music] foreign
artist podcast sponsored by the National Association of Independent Artists also
sponsored by zapplication I'm will Armstrong and I'm a mixed media artist I'm Douglas sigworth glassblower join
our conversations with professional working artists
uh Hey everybody Welcome to the podcast this week we have a unique situation this episode because I just got back off
the road from four shows back to back and as I'm pulling in down our driveway
uh Will's loading his last few paintings into his van getting ready to head off
to artist fear so there's gonna be no Preamble between the two of us this week uh but that's okay because will was kind
enough to surprise me with a really great conversation in my Google Drive folder so we have a great episode to
share for those of you who don't know about our guests um she is Camille Marchesi and she's the
executive director with the Coconut Grove Arts Festival in a little beautiful Utopia in Miami Florida down
by the Biscayne Bay she has a really great story about how she came to the Coconut Grove Arts Festival that I think
you'll all enjoy she has a long history with another top show in Florida the
Winter Park sidewalk Arts Festival and she really gets down into what's
important to producing a show um kind of the Integrity behind producing a quality
show with quality artists and why that's important to the the longevity of a show
and kind of bringing a show back from you know slipping away from their goals
and seeing what happens we've talked over the past few episodes about the
jury process so she she talks about how her jury works at Coconut Grove and kind
of some of the experiences that she learned from her 20-some years experience at Winter Park one of the
things that will and I really value about having this platform to talk to
Festival artists like us is we really want to express a point of view from the
artist's world and we really want there to not be any kind of uh a conflict
where it might seem as though we're advertising for a particular product or
service out there on the road and so we have kind of steered away and we had Stephen King and Cindy lyric as art show
directors right when we came out of the gate out of covid and we thought that was a good opportunity to talk about
what show directors were doing to kind of get the industry back on its feet so just to kind of preface this
conversation we want everyone to choose their events based on where their work
has a market and to make your own decisions um this is not a promotion for the
Coconut Grove Art Festival this is really about learning about an integral
person who is in this industry that being Camille who is on the board for
the National Association of Independent Artists working with other show directors and artists to really Elevate
the industry and to provide longevity for the shows which is the way that we
find our collectors on the road so without further Ado here is Will's talk with Camille Marchesi from Miami Florida
oh great yeah there we are all right yay technical difficulties are a way to warm
up our guests so that's how we work I don't care you know I mean I I don't care it doesn't matter to me I've got
all the time in the world for you today I really appreciate that we were going to record yesterday but I didn't realize
it was your birthday um thanks for being willing did you have something fun planned I mean I just had
lunch with some friends and then you know you know it didn't end at an hour or a five so it wasn't a big deal yeah
seriously that's still Patton Oswalt bit he's got one it's like you don't even get a birthday between the the zeros
yeah well I agree with him 100 they don't count yeah no espec when you're my age
they really don't care I think we're probably pretty much the same age so um we won't talk well I know how old you
are I'm older than you yeah you and Douglas are a little bit younger than me I know from the podcast because I know
your birthdays are like a day apart or the same day or something or weird like that right right it's we're one day apart I think Born 12 hours apart or
something like that so yeah and two more different people than you could ever meet I totally agree it's really strange
it's really funny to me how opposite how opposite we are but a really good mix I
think you guys are great he's so funny I've talked to him about this before and and I think he thinks we just were
Neighbors at a show in in Houston and they put us a couple booths away and which was great I'm rarely his neighbor
I guess I was in in Utah one year but I've said said something similar but I think he thinks sometimes that I don't
want to talk to him at all unless it's being recorded because like that's really good stuff I I don't talk to me
go away I mean I think we all know that we shouldn't talk to you when you're eating and
yes yes I've made myself abundantly clear yes you have oh man I think I've
made myself unapproachable at some time so anyway nah I'm still gonna talk to you it doesn't matter
you can come talk to me when I'm eating too that's no big deal so there you go ladies and gentlemen folks listening to
the podcast we invited Camille Marchese onto the show we have not had a director in a while so I wanted to have a
director and and you seemed like a natural fit you've worked at a couple of of the the big shows but then you're
also getting a a big show kind of back on its feet as well I'm trying yeah it's
a tough tough road I mean I've always said two it's like it's got to be harder and no offense to I know Katrina deato
had a had a hands full there with that show and did a wonderful job for many years and and there's certainly no
slight to her at all and saying but it just so many different things that
happened to that show to Coconut Grove the show that you you're direct yeah that it was hard right I mean it was
really hard to get it back on its feet well I mean I think it took a Changing of the Guard for sure right you know
bigger is not always better and that is the key here but if you have non-art
show people running a show they don't understand that and Katrina
may very well have understood that but I don't think she had the position to be able to
affect that change you know to me like 400 artists are just too many and I mean
the year I chaired Winter Park we reduced the number from almost 300 down to 225 with three emerging artists
because we knew you know the art it was just too many people and our layout was awful and almost 400 artists in that
small space was just insane there's visual fatigue you know there's no space between the artists but and what
happened really was that the patrons started declining as the booth numbers came up like more wasn't better you know
I I have 25 years of history in this and 23 were with Winter Park and that is I
think one of the best shows it'll always in my opinion be one of the best shows because of how they do things right it's
it's not as commercial as the show that I'm in now so it was a learning curve for me there so first of all like sorry
I'm gonna jump in and this is me breaking the third wall down a little bit and just letting you know that this
is never a a gotcha kind kind of show we're not trying to get anything at it I
know I've listened to you guys I've listened to every podcast to be honest so I do know how you guys do this and actually I really have learned a lot
from your podcast nice um I have I mean my whole reason for this emerging artist program is because
I realized listening to your artist talk that they just weren't getting what they needed right when they started so here
we go so I mean that's kind of what NAIA Europe you're on the board of that and
uh I am as well but it's kind of like that's why we do this it's like well we
we want to try to like this show is is kind of why we're doing this too it's like we're show directors and artists
meet kind of breaking down that wall and seeing that we're not so different that nobody is the enemy necessarily it's um
that's why we're doing this right it's really true I mean for years when I was with Winter Park people would call me
and say you know I'm hesitant to tell you this because I don't want to be blackballed we don't black all people I
mean I might black follow somebody I know is a buy sell but I mean it we should be working together and I mean we
can't bend and give you everything you need because it's still a business and we still have to you know account for
the money but we should try you know I I felt like we really did that well in
Winter Park and I'm trying to get us yeah I'm trying to get you know and I think the Grove has come a long way in a
short while you know about how you got started real quick let's hear a little little history as far as like how do you
get started in the business of running on our show or did you have an arts background uh well a little bit but uh
it's more that when I was a little kid my mother used to take me to art shows and I very I can very clearly remember
the first piece she ever let me buy when I was eight years old and so it became kind of this thing that we did together
and then I was fortunate enough to go to school in Winter Park so you know Winter Park cyborg Art Festival was there every
year so I would go I mean I I actually have a picture the first time I volunteered to sell t-shirts in 1984. oh
my God that's right exactly so and then you know it was a thing that my mother and I did we go I lived in multiple
other places I was in marketing after school and I lived in New York in Philly in DC and Atlanta whatever and when I
came back I decided to open a small business it was an art related business in Winter Park and uh
you know I thought I really want to be involved in that festival and somebody walked through the door and she it was a
paint it yourself pottery shop and uh one of my customers was telling me that she was on the board and I'm like oh and
I told her my story and she's like let's get you on the board so I I ended up on the board and I honestly thought that
every Art Festival was a not-for-profit without any paid people I mean I just assumed that everything was run like
winter park I just didn't know any better about oh I want to say gosh now
almost 20 years ago when I was merch chair there some guy came to me and said
hey I've got this idea we're gonna you know can we contract and sell your t-shirts and blah blah blah blah we'll
pay whatever so long story short like we hired him to to run our merchandise every year and he and I got to be
friends in one year he said hey I know you love seeing other shows I need some help in Coconut Grove will you come down
so about 12 years ago I came down to run a merch booth for him oh wow and I'm like oh my goodness these people
actually get paid to do this what I do for free I think and I thought I want to do this this is what I want to do I want
to be an executive director of a show someday anyway so I made it my business to learn everything I possibly could
learn about the Winter Park Festival you know so I I got to know everything and I
always thought I wanted to be an Ed but not at any show I wanted to be an ed at Coconut Grove because I wanted to be
with the show that was comparable and I wanted you know I wanted to I'm an East Coast girl I didn't want to leave
Florida necessarily because I have family here um and I wanted you know I grew up in South Florida so I thought it would be a
good thing yes I mean that had to be a completely different like eye-opening thing to see the merch I mean I've been
I've seen the merch table at Coconut Grove I mean it's it's expansive like I
don't know if it was this when you stepped in 12 years ago but um they used to do this thing I mean you
know better than I do where they do an outsider not Outsider Art but like a an artist that doesn't exhibit on the
street maybe more of a gallery establish artist and and have that as their promo
was it that kind of thing like a huge merch yeah I mean it was just it was just a concert it was basically just
like the idea is that the company that creates the merchandise pays the Grove
to be there and then sells decent merchandise not just a poster on a t-shirt whether it's a local artist or
an artist in the show like last year we chose you know Benjamin Frye but um you know so it was just yeah it was a great
I mean it was a great poster but the idea was you know that this this guy owned a printing company and decided
that he could help festivals out by creating better stuff for them rather than they could do for himself so he
asked me to come down and help him run a booth and I'm like sure why not so I would come down every year you know I
was still like learning everything I could in Winter Park and he ended up selling me his business because he was
ready to retire and he knew that I could do this so Coconut Grove became my client so I got to know all the players
there really well I know your client as as was I was their merch vendor I have a
separate company that does merchandise which which I kind of Step Back From in order to take this so anyway so the
people the board members and the president at Coconut Grove knew me and they knew my relationship with Winter Park so when they lost their staff they
would call me and ask me like what would you do here and how would you do this and how do you handle that so I finally
said you know if you need some help I can come down and help you you know and they said send me your resume and this
is what happened so you know it was very organic yeah that is very organic and I love how that I mean you already had an
established relationship it's not like they were just hiring I mean you certainly could have gotten the job with the resume but
um I think yeah I mean I think so a lot of people don't know me and they wondered like how did she get this job
and that's how I got the job they knew me yeah because like behind the scenes as artists we all knew who you were
through winter park but um so it seemed like a natural fit and I don't want to gloss over the Winter Park portion of
your career too because that's kind of how you cut your teeth but um kind of the main part too that I want
to talk about is Coconut Grove but I'd love to get a little background as far as what you did with Winter Park and how
something like you were talking about how that you feel is is your favorite and best show in the country I mean it
really is it's certainly the you know everybody has a different top 25 I mean it's a great show I've been to other
shows I'm going to other shows and there are some phenomenal shows out there Winter Park which has always been near and dear to my heart because it's where
I learned everything you know and you were you uh executive director there you were on the board how did that work
Winter Park is an all-volunteer board and we rotate through committees so
that's how I was able to learn everything I needed to learn for here I chaired it in 2007
um so I was on the executive board for I don't know three or four years okay and um and that's kind of how we do it I
mean it is truly an all-volunteer board it's uh it's crazy so you're also learning every step like you're not
doing the same exactly saying it's almost like a I mean honestly it almost sounds like a grooming ground for directors if you're doing every step I
think so you know I mean I think so I mean there are people that absolutely cannot believe that they don't have a
paid executive director but they've managed to do it so far you know that's similar to Gasparilla are you guys in
cahoots like was Winter Park and Gasparilla do they talk as far as how they run the business because it's a
similar structure not really I think it's a similar structure but not really
um you know they I mean the gas will come over occasionally and take a look at the Show Gotcha you know like come back the tires
a little bit yeah I mean but we all do that I mean we all do that I would love to go kick tires and see what other
people are doing I mean that's that's you know how I learned about St Louis's you know emerging artist program right
right so so yeah so that kind of goes hand in hand I mean they they have an
excellent one there in St Louis and Stephen King is there and uh that's always kind of cool to see him he's he's
one of my favorites as far as the directors go I just have known him for a number of years and it's it's
interesting to me to see the directors and then the relationships that they have you know you know Cindy and Stephen
very well and um yeah you know I I don't see us being competitors at all like I
mean to me like the only the only competitor I think we might have is it another show that's on our weekend right
right that's really it you know um because it behooves us for us all to
do well well because we need all of you to do well to continue this circuit right and to continue the cycle so I
personally believe I think that every director should volunteer for another show and come and help them out like I
would love that like I would love to go and volunteer and help somebody else out you're going to get some calls yeah you
know you're definitely they're going to be well you know no I mean I would because I think that
honestly like it's it helps because you know I I don't have staff here right now
it's not that easy for me but I do not have staff and so I really didn't have
anybody to back me up at that show and I kept thinking like two years ago like if I broke a leg what would I do like they
wanted me to ride around on a scooter like Steven does I'm like I have many things graceful is not one of them like
if I freaking arm what are you gonna do and they said okay we'll get you a golf cart so you know but I kept thinking
about that and it did worry me and um so you know I hired Cindy to do the emerging artist program for me because
well hell you wrote it for St Louis so you know I'm not stupid no need to recreate the wheel but in the
back of my mind was you know if something happens there's somebody who could step in and fill in yeah you know
and it was a good it was a good fit you know and it was really nice to have somebody there that understood shows and
any problems I might have so the way you run the show and the way I'm I'm kind of hearing
um about you running the show it sounds similar to St Louis and Des Moines which
have a have a similar feel there's there's a big time promoter that seems to to do a show every weekend down there
in Florida uh that is a big time promoter so I was wondering like the way you guys run those and I I certainly
don't have anything against that business model it just is a different you know it's a different way to handle
it it's maybe not quite as personal to the area like with with your area if you
have volunteers you're going to get to know them with with Des Moines Arts Festival I've gotten to know the the the
volunteers over the years it becomes like your block that comes like a family
um so I mean just talk to me a little bit about that have you ever had any kind of run-ins with that as far as like
that group trying to put it show in or dealing with the the dance that it takes
between uh big time promoters and long established shows I mean not really I
mean years ago in Winter Park I believe that Howard Allen or another promoter tried to do a show within a short time
span of hours and the city didn't allow it because they felt that we already had two major shows like one is the Winter
Park Autumn show and that's a Florida only artist show which is kind of nice to have um to have that and that's in
the fall and then of course we were in the spring so we didn't really have that issue in Winter Park
um down here I mean honestly there are there's a show every other weekend yeah you know I mean and it doesn't really I
mean it doesn't really impact us that much because the artists are different
you know I mean a lot a lot of our same artists will do a Howard Allen show or we'll do you know another Motor Show
um that happens but I don't really think it impacts us like yeah I think you know
I think we're large enough and big enough that it doesn't affect our crowds it may have
when we had 400 artists in the show it may have been like well why should we come and pay to come into your show when
I can see that guy you know next week at the rotary or whatever yeah um perception among artists sometimes is
that those guys are trying to uh get in on the mark the well-established Market or they're trying to do this over here
and I've never I've always had uh big promoters as like a tool in my my
toolbox you know it's like look I've got this show and this show there's two weeks in between I don't want to drive
all the way to Florida let's see if there's a good fit Etc so it's a great why not work out a
season so um anyway that's just just nothing I wanted to hear about yeah I think there's room for everybody you
know I really do you know and um you know and I I mean I use that a lot when people were upset about not getting into
my show my audience my audience went yeah but there's a show the weekend before there's a show the weekend after your audience will come to you yeah if
you're there right yeah and is uh is Saint Stephen still happening there right next door to Coconut Grove okay
absolutely absolutely you know and it's it's a I I send people there all the time and you know and why not sure why
not it's right there uh it did not work for me I tried doing it one year I didn't get into the Grove and then I I
went down there and I said I was like man this feels like selling a knockoff t-shirts in the rock show parking lot I
want to get into The Rock Show yeah I mean I don't think it's for everybody but you know I will say that we get a
lot of applications from crap more crafty kind of people yeah and I don't mean like fine craft you know
um so I mean I and I will always recommend you know if somebody comes to me that is more crafty yeah you know
like beating you know think think you know you know anyway yeah different you know yeah I will always
like recommend you know you know I get the lady that's making the denim jackets they're up cycling the denim jackets
that kind of stuff oh they're cool but they don't they're not in my show but maybe they would go in St Stevens why
not you know absolutely you you kind of cut your teeth at Winter Park uh in Winter Park at that show yeah big
difference between like like winter park and Gasparilla versus all of the other shows that I have ever
done is the prize money like it's like it's great like they have crazy prize
money at those shows they're just like like year altering money
so they really do I I they do how do yeah how do you how do you deal with
that like how do you deal with those kind of sponsorships and and getting that I don't know how you deal with
prize money is that something that's always established are you hunting for it every year we put it in our budget
you know I mean it costs like 1.5 million dollars to put on this event you know we spent 300 Grand on marketing
alone so it's what you do so it's just in our budget you know we do have
sponsors that we have every year we have hired somebody to specifically go out
there and get our sponsorships for us which I think helps a lot um because I mean I'm so new to the area
that I don't know all the Power Players down here right and we do have we do have a president who's been established
here for years that is instrumental in also helping us retain some of those
sponsorships okay so that's how we do it yeah and it's that uh somebody an
outsider or somebody on your staff years ago when the executive director left they hired a man named Monty trainer who
is kind of Infamous here in Miami and they hired him to be the president rather than executive director okay so
he is very well known very very well politically connected and he is that person but we have hired an outside
company to work with us gotcha for the sponsorships and they work with Monty very closely and then again that that
goes to not Reinventing the wheel somebody does that for for their you know that's what they do let them do it
it's it makes the most sense yeah it just makes the most sense and for us and
especially for me I mean I can do sponsorship but I don't know all of the people here as well I mean I will if I
stay you know so yeah you know but for right now in a hurry yeah I am getting
to know them all right it's it's it's it's very it's it's interesting yeah for sure so that's how that's how we do it I
mean our prize money isn't near what Gasparilla and Winter Park no but it's substantial you know it's not it's not
nothing no but I think it's a draw you know I mean Florida is you know it's it's a it's a hype for a lot of us
absolutely and uh I know the shows in the midwest generally don't have as much prize money as we do and I have and one
of my survey questions always is how how important is prize money and it's usually about 30 let's say it's very
important you know I I'm glad that we have it you know but we also give an equal amount to scholarships and that's
really important to me like last year we gave away 55 000 in scholarships this
year we have we're trying to do the same I'm trying to get us a little bit more so we could
maybe do 70. but that's important to me and it's important to the board so yeah
that's that's really exciting and and uh I don't know it helps make the event a
community event as well which I think is the difference between you know promoter shows and and you know uh once a year
events it makes it more part of that community so it you know the people that are coming out to it the they're all
bringing people back year after year and I think that helps build something special I think so you know I think it
is definitely a community people it is we have a local family that gives
um two Awards one glass award and one jewelry award every year in memory of their mother right and when I it's
wonderful and when I talk to this woman she takes the ownership of the festival she's never been on the board but she is
so passionate about the festival and you know you gotta love that so I I think there's the difference between a
promoter show and a show like ours absolutely I guess you're not profit yeah definitely because you just don't
have the you know the promoter show doesn't have the energy because they're they've got another one in two weeks or or what have you it's it's no knock on
them it's just a different different business it's a different business model that's all that's all it is you know and
it really works well for them and I I guarantee they're going to be able to retire and have a much better Ira than I
am oh it's all good I just don't talk with my financial advisor before we started
talking I was I was like I'm shaking I might have to talk tell Camille like an
adult talk I know trust me I haven't finished my taxes yet oh God I can grow everything
but myself so it's it's all good yeah exactly we'll be right back
this episode of The Independent artist podcast is brought to you by zap the digital application service where
artists and art festivals connect hey Douglas do you remember what it was like before his application are you talking
about back in the day when we applied with slides and red dots at the bottom I I don't actually know what you're
talking about because I'm not 70 grand anyway it's nice not to have to do that
again I remember Cindy lyric was just talking about slides and Cindy lyric said you could imagine it how it's
supposed to be right side up and turn your head on the side yeah that is not zap's tagline imagine it correct and
it's just always the right way we want to send out our thanks to zap for sponsoring us this week [Music]
there has been a lot made of the jury selection in the jury process over the
last I don't know uh the entire entirety of my life I guess but you know there's
always that talk and you've had some really interesting first hand experience
with that and and how do you first of all how do you handle the jury for Coconut Grove
last year was the first year that I handled it on my own the year before that they had a board member who had
been doing it for many years and they did it locally gotcha and was it done exactly the same way every year like
they kind of handled it pretty much and you know and it was local people local jury but I really disagree with that
like I feel like you have to have outside expertise you know like in Winter Park
maybe because there are so many believe it or not there are so many amazing artists in Orlando well you know that
right I mean you've got the Whipples you've got you had Matthew you had the Smiths I mean there's so many amazing
artists in Orlando we always picked our jury members our jurors from outside of
Florida okay specifically so that no one could say that they were prejudiced for
or against the local artists interesting and that's even above and beyond what a
lot of shows that I that I do or I respect uh and don't do you know uh
that's that's different even and and more has even more Integrity I think than than not maybe more Integrity but
uh you definitely are getting more nitty-gritty and like being more particular based in Integrity prior to my years
with Winter Park there had been some sort of a rumor that their jury wasn't
as fair and balanced so this is why they did that and they they spent a lot of
money bringing in jurors I felt that we needed to repeat that here the only way I could do it because my my budget is
very small for my jury we went to the monitor a monitor jury okay and I could
have people from across the you know across the country sure and I felt very strongly that I needed to have a few
show people in because there's so many Buy sell that apply right and and it was
really good yeah yeah cheaters they look really good in the applications right
and I could weed them out myself you know but I'd rather my jury do that you know I
mean I'm not gonna let them slip through right you know I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who these people
are of course but I I can't I I don't know them all I can't figure it all out
so I think it helps to have somebody that has been to the show that has seen the garlic Raider you know I think you
know I think so I mean I've got a quite a bit to add to this and and uh up close
and personal experience especially just recently through my wife during St Louis
her take on it was even more so like you know we have so much as artists at stake
um it has an awful lot of our careers involved I mean I've been cut myself
from my favorite shows my best shows I don't get in you know we all have
experienced that as artists but as an artist or a peer juror the way it matters especially to an
empath like my wife every single cut hurts her to the core she's like oh my
God this artist that I've admired my entire career this this colleague of mine you know I got three no's up to my
one yes or four knows to my one Yes and she'll fight for them what she can but at the same time it's like to us
it matters and the argument on that is a
loud argument but to be brutally honest I think it's a very minority squeaky
wheel kind of argument I think the artists in the business know we have to
have these pure jurors I also think you know it's a matter of integrity and it's
a matter of choosing jurors that you know have integrity you know and I can
tell you that the jurors I chose last year and the jurors I choose this year will have integrity you know and that
can be debatable and I can give you examples but I I choose not to because I don't want to call anybody on the table
you know um but I can tell you that I know you know there were there were
particular artists that a couple of jurors didn't like but their their work was still so good they got a nine out of
a ten absolutely I know that the Integrity is important to me if you question somebody else's integrity and
you question what someone else might do when faced with somebody they don't
like I think that speaks volumes about the person that's questioning I mean to me you know I mean I know how I would
behave so apparently it's projection but I'm just assuming that the squeaky
Wheels would behave in a
about their opinions um whether they and a lot of times they just don't matter they're not also going to do the right
thing they're going to judge on personality versus true you know Merit
you had okay so you had a board a former or a current board member handling the
jury and you decided to take it on and do it more like your Winter Park experience and and to do that I needed
to shake it up a little bit you know and um I needed to I needed to I needed to make it Fair
sure we also went from almost 400 people in the show to we had 276 artists in
this last show so that's you know 120 some you know artists that aren't not in
the show so there's a lot of factors in into play here not only did I change out
the during we also had less spaces available but I was really excited to
see that we had over almost 100 artists that had never been in the show before or who hadn't been in over 20 years and
to me that's important you know um this idea that just because you've done the show for so many years that you deserve
to be there isn't fair no it's not fair to the new artists that are up and coming it's not fair in general you know
it's not fair to expect a show to be stagnant I mean I love the idea of
seeing my friends over and over and over again and I love knowing that I'm going to see certain people at certain events
but the I idea that anybody should be grandfathered into a show is ludicrous
this is how we get new blood into this industry absolutely we want this
industry to thrive you know we want it to move forward I want it I want this Festival to be here 20 years after I'm
gone you know and that's not going to happen if we don't have younger people
coming up and we don't give younger people the opportunity not even necessarily younger but new new blood
and that's important and you don't get that if you don't change your jury of course you know that's something that I
noticed and I spoke to Douglas about last time is that I felt like like Bayou
City or Winter Park um I talked to Clifton about that too he was my neighbor and and he said have you
noticed does it feel a little bit like there's a Changing of the Guard
and that was interesting to hear from an artist of his caliber a constant Award
winner I mean he's just he's one of our rock stars and to hear that kind of thing come out of his voice I'm like
yeah and you know me getting rejected from my favorite show this year uh at
Fort Worth just makes me want to kick my own ass and apply with some new stuff and see how I can tweak my work how I
can make it better and does it hurt of course um and I know it hurt for the other folks that didn't get juried into to one
of their favorites of course it always hurts but um horrible yeah and it's the kidnap
button that afternoon is the worst worst I ever have to do right you know sending out those rejection letters I hate doing
that but I also know that I don't have a choice you have 900 people applying for
240 spots right and if you're lucky half of those 900 you could see at your show
you know which makes it really hard to cut the fat yeah and that and that's the problem too so I I mean I tell people
all the time you know um even if you're waitlisted it's still it's not an honor but I mean you're up
against some serious competition when you're applying for some of these shows right yeah so and another little bit of
insight uh on my wife's side sometimes the the the jurors that you get to the
wait list you just run into a difference in opinion and sometimes the wait list is the best that you're somebody who uh
likes your it's not a personal thing but but approves of your vision and sees your vision and sees what your
craftsmanship is all about they can get you to the wait list then you're like okay well maybe it's just you know it's
to fate you know maybe the wait list is all I can do as far as this particular jury because sometimes it just doesn't
work it doesn't we do it a little bit differently you know we don't uh St Louis has rounds and
rounds and rounds I believe that numbers don't lie you know so I do a yes no maybe round that I
let my jurors do on their own so they're taking all their time to look at these and they're reading all the statements
and they're anybody that gets a five nose is automatically out so we have less to go through live of course and
then I have them score and they score one to ten and then after that I take the numbers and I simply take the top
200 and whatever of the top scores right and then that
section right below becomes my wait list okay so there's less emotions in it it's just like there are times where I don't
even look at the names I just look at the numbers and I just then delete the bottom and then I start going through it
yeah I do that because I feel that numbers don't lie and that makes it
there's no debate there's no like well we need this many I don't care I mean I do want it to be
diverse of course but I don't care if it's 45 3D and you know 65 you know whatever
I'm saying the number is wrong but you know what I mean I don't care if it's that balanced two in 3D I care that the
art is such that you would want it in the show interesting to me that's more important than that I have 20
watercolors and four you know I'd rather if them all be the best now obviously if
I went back and looked at it and they were all like one media that would be something I'd have to consider but that
never happens we know that never happens do you ever run across a juror who's trying intentionally to throw it and is
giving quality work ones you know and and just so that they have a bigger say
because I've heard rumors about stuff like that I I've seen that you know but not under
any jury that I've run but I have seen it okay you know because you can tell you know I mean you can tell I always
think that there ought to be like you take Artistic integrity originality uh
how you carry it through overall vision and presentation right yeah those are your your things and if you don't judge
them on those then it's like like okay Jay Long Jay is the last artist that I
spent a long time talking to he's my across the street neighbor at Fiesta down in San Antonio and I love the guy
so we had some really interesting conversations about um a jury like how that okay you might
not like Jay's Vision you might not like my vision okay uh Jay and I both have a
pretty similar background we were both trained as illustrators so I don't mind speaking to his experience a little bit
Jay is an award-winning illustrator fine artist
you cannot have a jury give him a one like there's just no ones for Jay it's like if you're judging it on those five
aspects there's no ones how are you gonna look at that and call it a one so that's where people start to get upset
and you're like what the hell are you looking at it's like it may not be your style but it's it's a trained
vision and it's well pulled off yeah I mean when I've I've juried a show or two
you know of course there are things that I don't particularly care for but I can still look I wouldn't want them hanging
in my home but that doesn't mean that they don't deserve
an eight or a nine right you know I mean you have to set your personal you know your personal ideas and likes aside and
that's one of the directions that I give my jury right you have to put your personal likes and dislikes aside and
look for Artistic integrity and artistic Excellence yeah and that's how you end
up with a you know and I I do like the way I appreciate the
way St Louis does their their show I I definitely do but I feel like that's just too much of a burden to put on the
jurors you know like I I like the idea of just you know you score them and I'll take it from there okay and I don't
change scores you know uh you know I mean I'll go back through and it's never happened but if I found the
garlic grater had gotten a high score yeah I'm gonna make sure that doesn't happen but I really do stand by my
jury's results you know I had I had a couple of um unhappy artists last fall uh pretty
much say well you're the director you can do whatever you want you know you you know most directors hold a few spots well I don't do that yeah and I won't do
it I stand by you know I stand by my jury because I like all of you sure and
it's interesting to hear how you run yours versus how I know some others run theirs and and what you're speaking to
on St Louis is that there are rounds where you get to then debate and talk about and I do think that that's an
interesting aspect to their jury um where they do get to come to okay here's this let me explain what you're
seeing here where as okay you may not have known you may not have read the complete artist statement you may not
have seen the fact that this actually this is a kinetic sculpture uh because there are only Stills or a kinetic
photograph almost we do that during the rounds okay I mean we read every every statement and I allow my jurors to talk
about things while they're going through it okay but we just go through it those two times and it's mostly because that's
how we did it in Winter Park I mean I won't lie I mean that's that's you know that's how I sure that's how I did it
for 23 years cut your teeth that's how you learn the business and it worked well exactly and we have those jurors in
Winter Park we brought them in so we had them for one day so that's how we did it
and the luxury of having jurors for a few days is not something I've ever had before so
that's why I do it this way and it works though because numbers don't lie and we
also give them a chance to talk about it during you know during the first round like during the only real live round so
I mean it took a lot longer it took us probably 20 hours to go through
I think about 700 applications yeah so you know it it just it took that round
took a lot longer but it worked I think you've come up with the same things you know ultimately yeah you know so that
seems like it's that's a huge kind of Roadblock almost in putting together a show it seems like you're I know some
shows I don't know when you announced it's been a couple of years since I've I've done uh The Grove but
um I know there are a couple of shows that are out there that are like on Friday afternoon five o'clock right as
they're leaving the office they'll be like and sent let's go get drinks yeah I I
don't do that okay um I know I know who you're talking about and I I understand that totally
I I get it but I also do space assignments at that same time you know
like I that my my our space assignments are first come first served right so
when you get that that acceptance you're gonna immediately tell me you know
you're gonna immediately accept and tell me where you want to be and that's how I'm gonna log your request like first
come first serve so I don't think it's fair to do that to somebody on a Friday afternoon at five like I'm gonna let you
know that it's probably gonna be on a Wednesday in the middle of the day so give everybody a chance if you're
driving from a show or to a show I don't want you to be penalized because you can't answer your email right away so
for me it's usually like a Wednesday in the middle of the week in the middle of the day perfect but yeah it sucks
because oh my God the phone starts and you just you know you gotta answer and
you know and you're gonna get unhappy people and it's it's just part of the job you know you know what if you did a
good job then it's they're going to be unhappy people right I mean that's absolutely you know there's always
surprises because that's that's how it goes right so let's talk a little bit uh I want to change the subject a little
bit and talk about some of the things that you've dealt with so from my perspective what you guys ran into was
used to be a boat show there right there is that is that true used to be a boat
show so that was there is a boat show every weekend okay and the location was closer gotcha to our show do you think
that affected the attendance or I think what really hurt us more than the boat
show was that we started to increase the number of artists in the show I think
that's the I think you know when you have a show like ours or any show you're not probably gonna get 400 artists of of
a certain caliber when you have 400 artists you have to take some [ __ ] that you didn't want to put in your show if
you're just filling out your here's your if your budget is reliant on for 400 booths and that's part of of your budget
then you've got to take some stuff you just gotta you're like okay well if you want to have your quality if that's what
you're trying to say but if you want to have your quality be of a certain level you can't have that many because you don't have that many applicants and so I
think that's a trickle-down thing so now you come to the show and you're expecting a certain caliber and yet you
see things that shouldn't be there or things that you might see at you know the market on a Sunday or that kind of
thing so there's no need for you to come back the next year right so instead of
realizing that it's the the the level of Art you have people thinking well we just
have to increase the number of booths to make up that Revenue so it's a it's a
it's a sliding scale and I don't think you know Katrina did a great job Katrina
Matt uh Catherine they all did a great job I just think that they were looking at it as more of an event rather than an
art festival and I think the difference with me having been involved with an art
festival that is really I mean no one gets paid in Winter Park right we're all doing it for the love of the Art
Festival so we're coming at it from a different perspective right and I think that's what you're going to enjoy about
artist fear coming up this weekend is I think that they they put together um and Des Moines too I'm trying to
think about these these shows that exist in you know maybe not the biggest city
in the world where certainly not you know these aren't Chicago Coconut Grove is also it's drawing you know Miami's
huge but the Grove area so when I came into this Festival
was interviewing me and I asked them you know did you want to have the biggest party in Miami or do you want to have
the best art festival in the country and to one of them they said the best art festival in the country I'm like okay and this is how we have to do this
bigger is not always better and true to their word they let me reduce the number of artists in the show and that was a
chunk of revenue for them right and that's a lot when you reduce you know at an 800 Booth fee and you're reducing a
hundred and some artists sure is there a different way to to look at it I remember Stephen King saying uh it was
like eight percent if I'm remembering this correctly like his booth fees were like eight percent because he's going
after all these sponsors it becomes like you know these shows that do it that
have the size show to their municipality and they keep it small within that that
is true I think in in other markets yeah but if you look at Miami there's an
event every other weekend sponsorship money is not as has plentiful here because there's so much competition
right you know I mean I don't I can't speak to Des Moines I can't speak to
Greenville I can't speak to those other cities but I can tell you that there's an event every weekend here that we're
vying for sponsorship dollars sponsorship money is down across the country right now
um that I do know for sure so it's not like and I believe that too I would love for our booth bees to be a just a
smaller percentage of our operating budget but I yeah there's there's a limit when
there's not you know there's a boat show that weekend there's a show in Wynwood there's so much competition in the
winter in Miami I guess that's what I was there one tiny bit you know I mean
so I mean our it is ridiculous now they've now they've they've decided that this little Campground that we've had
going for years kind of under the table there they've realized it so now we're gonna have to put in lights and
bathrooms and we're going to have to have that permitted so that's going to change you know everything you know yeah
it's it's always something so yeah it's an expensive show to put on and our
Boots These are an integral part of that but
they're not the only thing I believe strongly that you're you know your booth fees shouldn't be they're not the bulk
of your operating expenses they can't be you know I mean we wouldn't have the show if it wasn't for you right right so
without the artist you don't have a show okay it's so you reduce the booth fee size and what else what else do you do
to try to bring is that it you just let the word of mouth kind of get hey I went to Coconut Grove last year and the
quality was great like you mean for the artist or for the public I mean we spent about 300 Grand on marketing yeah so I
mean we brought in uh we brought in a marketing agency a production company that has their own marketing agency and
they do a lot of our our heavy list lifting our Logistics you know um so they handle the I oversee it but they
handle the the marketing and they we spend a lot of money on that uh and I
say that we get a qualified buyer through there was a little thread that was going around and I did and I chose
not to respond to it the week of the Art Festival about I can't believe Coconut Grove is charging 25 at the gate how
much money are they making well first of all we don't charge 25 for every person kids are free under 12 and there are a
lot of buy one get ones out there I'd say that probably 50 000 people maybe that many paid but the idea behind that
is that that's bringing a qualified buyer it's not bringing the person that wants to come you know and maybe for 10
bucks you might want to come and you know look around and you'll buy a hot dog and you'll buy a margarita or
whatever but at 25 you're probably pretty serious about art so I think that
helps bring a more qualified buyer because again it's not necessarily quantity it's quality when it comes to
your your patrons yeah so there's that and you know and luckily like this past
year I mean I've heard a lot of artists say well they didn't think I was listening that you know there wasn't a
person at that show that didn't deserve to be there and that is great to hear like when you hear that that makes other
great artists want to apply yeah you know I had um I had an email from
somebody recently who I met when I was visiting St Louis who
generally doesn't do Florida shows and we talked about potentially using this person as a juror
and he emailed me and said hey you know instead of that I think I'd really rather apply to be in the show and I was
like you know stuff like that makes me really happy but it's that you know it's going to take a while we're not gonna you know
we're not gonna win a Pinnacle Award next year sure it's going to be it's a slow steady climb back up you know yeah
and I'll do everything I possibly can to keep it fair for the artist but you know
do what I have to do for the show Absolutely it makes sense and you know we hear good things and we hear bad
things but you hear some really great things too you know it's just uh it's nice to have you on here and talking
about the ins and outs of how you kind of you know you're not starting this from scratch you've got your own history
with Florida shows the Florida market and just you know just having a having a
director that kind of knows the ropes going in and taking over
from from something that has had its own success in the past so um absolutely yeah you know it's um you
know I mean I think the thing about shows in general is that they're going to have good years and bad years you
know right and we're not going to be able to make everybody happy I mean we can't you know and not everybody's gonna
have sales in every market and sometimes it's going to be your show and sometimes it's not you and I both know that you know a
lot of times the artists that actually complain about not selling I've seen them sitting in the back not talking you
know not actually interacting with with their customers you know and but you you see that it's not your work isn't going
to sell itself well you know if I walk into some I'm I'm a patron right I go to every show and I remember there was a
particular artist I was so excited to meet and I walked in and I could not get that artist to look up from their phone
you know the entire time and I you know I I just thought you know I really
wanted them to apply to my show but I I walked I walked away never having met
her you know and it just so you know I mean there's there's two sides to every story you know as an artist though I
feel like sometimes we bail on a show mentally you know and it's hard to stay involved it's like okay if I've taken it
on the channel on Friday Saturday it's Sunday afternoon I'm like look it's not my market I'm gonna see what my kids are doing I get it I mean I can see that too
I mean that's life right that's in general it's it's hard to get up every day and be enthusiastic when you you
know you've had two bad days in a row I get that you know so I I do and I know
it's not like I had like two years ago my first year at Coconut Grove there was one artist who really was just so
excited to be in the show and he didn't do very well but I looked at his work and it was lovely but it really wasn't
for this Market sure you know I do a survey after the festival and I pretty much knew his answers just based on what
he was saying right because they were the same comments he gave me personally and I thought well you know I felt so
bad but again if the work just wasn't gonna you know be wasn't going to rise above everything
else here right you know yeah and you know and sometimes it's subtle subtlety and it depends on how a show is um you
know sometimes it depends on how a show is put together if you have super subtle white on white kind of I remember this
one artist was doing uh this porcelain work and they were set up next to Dakota I mean Dakota Pratt is awesome to have
at a show right but she ain't competing with rideable bananas yeah just not
gonna do it no you really you know and that's like you know that's on the director a little bit too like it takes
me forever to do that layout because I I need to make sure that
it's going to work for everybody and it's not easy no it's not really not I
mean the but you know the first thing I I panic over is releasing the the rejection letter you know the the you
didn't make it in letter and then the second thing I panic is the booth numbers the booth you know I literally will go over that I probably go over
those and switch them and change them it probably takes me about 300 hours I don't stop because it's just because you
you just okay no no maybe that's not gonna work and you you wake up going no that's not going to work yeah it's just
crazy but there's a lot of thought that goes into it and I don't think a lot of artists realize that like it's not just
something we do on a whim we don't just throw the numbers in the air and go okay this is what you got you know and I
believe strongly and this is another thing I got really reamed on last year by a few a few Old-Timers um I think
everybody's booth number should change every year I I think everybody deserves that chance that that that little bit of
notoriety everybody deserves serves that that option to be seen nobody should be guaranteed a same space for 18 years
do you hear that do you hear it suddenly all the it's as if all the artists started screaming out at once
I want my booth space back how are they gonna find me
will you know I mean but the thing is like I literally had some when I changed everybody around that first year I ran
into an artist at at St Louis and he said you know I was really upset but it
was the best thing that ever happened because people were coming up to me saying I've never seen you before and he was in a pretty visible space for like
12 years I know everybody wants to be where they are you know and I get that
but anybody that's really going to spend a significant amount of money is going to walk your show they're not just going
to buy on a whim I mean maybe the guy coming in from the you know Ben will tell you the story about the the wealthy
person coming in off the boat show and just plopping down money but that's rare most people that are going to come and
buy it a show are going to walk the show right and they're going to look they're going to look at what they're they want a painting they're going to look at all
the painters they want something 2D they're going to look at that I believe like and we that's how we did it in
Winter Park and it never it never really hurt anybody you know people are gonna
look for you and if they're your people and it's also a little bit of your responsibility to have your mailing list and tell them where you're going to be
you know and it's not a big I mean it's a big show but it's not a big footprint
so you know if you're it's an easy one yeah
it's a loop it's a giant Loop okay so it's not like they're tricky alleys and
different you know it's it's it's in some ways it's much easier than Winter Park to find somebody I believe because
there's not a lot of different alleys and offshoots it's really one giant Loop yeah but and I know that artists
disagree with that but I also think that it does you good too because people really will I mean I
can't begin to tell you how many artists tell me people are coming up to me and telling me like I've never seen you in
the show before interesting interesting yeah I mean I I get that every show it's like have you ever done this before I'm
like yeah every year for like eight years and yeah I knew I have new work but like whatever but I mean I do think
that that I mean I'll I'll be I don't mind disagreeing with you I love having my booth space back but I love I love
hearing why you do it that way too that's that's really interesting to me yeah but it's like I think as artists
it's so funny because we are known as like this hyper liberal group everything's kind of loosey-goosey
that's the most conservative group of people if anything changes we just don't like it because you don't like it well
it's like I If there's a comfort in knowing exactly like I did South Lake for the first time and and pulling into
this thing and I'm like well I've never pulled down the street before I've never I don't know how this works again if
you've never done it before you get nervous and if you have done it before you want that you want the comfort you
know you want the comfort of like well I know where I know where to get coffee I know where to use the restroom
well necessarily think that you have to be moved across the festival sure I think my
bigger issue are the corner spaces right because people walk in like your patrons
walk in you're always they're always going to come in through the same you know that we have four entrances but
people are also creatures of habit right so they're always going to come in from one entrance you know and they're always
going to see the same people and when they see that same person with that same
big identifiable body of work in that same location 12 years in a row they say
why should I come back next year this stuff never changes I mean I I've talked to I mean I've talked to people that are
like yeah I walked in I saw the same things and I left I'm like but you paid and you still yeah you know I saw
there's no point in me walking around everything's the same wow you know and so you so that is another another reason
why we have to keep it fresh too sure so we talked about Jerry in quite a bit we talked about um kind of uh the
difficulty of uh promoters do you guys have how how heavily do you lean on food and alcohol sales do you let the vendors
handle it or do you take that that for yourself or how does that work our food and beverage profits go towards paying
the production company and we have to hire people to put this thing physically
together okay you know we have the fencing we have the tents we have the
porta potties and we have everything to consider and the operating budget is now over 1.5 the city doesn't cut us any
slack on permits um we pay for everything we pay for parking we pay for every little thing we
pay for the trash pickup we have to scrub the streets twice last year we
scrubbed the streets three times after the festival to make sure all the plastic ties were gone because the
residents get so upset about Plastics and near the ocean so interesting it's a costly Festival to produce sure we have
a skeleton crew I have no assistant you know it's just me so it's not um you
know it's uh it's it's a much smaller I'm I bring in I bring in help you know
over the month before the festival but as of right now I have we have our president who is Monty trainer you know
we have an administrator the festival administrator we call her and then we have me and that's our staff so this is
how we pay for those you know food and beverage is how we pay
for the people that actually come in and put up the fencing it works for us yeah yeah so you guys um one you guys started
fencing that show it's what 15 years ago 20 years ago it was way before my time
and I want to say it was definitely prior to 2012 because that's the first time I ever came and you know I think
you know from what I'm told they started fencing it because it wasn't you know it's Miami let's face it it's a giant
party so I what I was told is that the sales weren't great when they were before okay um because there were so
many drunk people in the streets you know it's a free yeah free but here's an event we'll come we'll drink sure if you
can't make a sale and you've got like five drunk people in your booth right right you know cocaine yes drinking no
no no no how do you get off work now how do you get the coke money back into Miami
Camille how do we no I I don't know but I I've heard those stories yeah I've heard
stories people whipping into their pocket and just peeling off hundreds and buying out people's booths and yeah I
want those dirty pillows of money in my pocket
are you kidding me I just got back from Texas I'll sell to anybody
your Amex is I can't fold your Amex give it to me I don't care what your politics
are true I mean let's let's face it you know
I I think that there's still a lot of that money here in Miami you know and I think it's it's evident with uh some of
the people and some of their sales you know I mean not everybody that comes to my show has sales like that but sure you
know I do hear some great numbers out there you know and then I also hear the people that didn't cover their booth
fees so you hear that too right but you're gonna hear that with every show exactly I don't I don't it's funny I
don't I don't sell that well in Florida but I've got close friends and my ex-wife crushes it in Florida she does
great I'm like great I'll watch the kids have fun in Florida that's that makes a perfect split yeah it's not I mean it's
not everybody's Market you know and like I mean I love Matthew Cornell I've known him for years from Winter Park right
yeah he was one of my judges last year because he'll never do my show yeah
go south of Orlando you know you just won't so he's like my stuff doesn't settle I'm like okay you know
interesting that you don't um that your jurors aren't I think a lot of people who have the jurors do just like hey
here's another little perk you get a spot in the show I see both sides but for right now I think it's better if I
have your pure artist not the artists that are intending to be in the show but
but if I think somebody is qualified enough to be a juror and they say Hey you know I'd really like to be in your
show or I was going to apply to yourself I wouldn't have a problem making that exception for them nice I think we all
kind of accept it it's like you know it's part of the it's it's I get paid a lot more an hour than a jury is going to
be able to pay me um to do take a weekend off you know I mean it's just it's not really about
this it's more about the experience and um having the Integrity of a of a of a
exciting show too and saying I think every artist uh should get the opportunity to to jury a show because to
see that other side it can reinvigorate how excited you feel about your work or maybe even what you are how you are how
you're showing it um I think that can be really really helpful too and also to see how much it
matters like there's a lot at stake with uh during a show there's a lot at stake
mostly just how it looks and how it feels and the cohesiveness of the show and having a true vision and then you're
also going to have people like coming to you afterwards like dude I'd like two
like two out of five said yes three like what's going on in there and it's you
know it's hard and there's a lot at stake for the artists maybe a lot more
um you know there are some jurors that'll get in the show and then you just get tired and just go no no no no no no it's like well I can't do that I
you know I I this this application it's important it's you know somebody
spent 50 bucks on it to to have their work looked at and that means something 50 bucks is not nothing
it's it's it's true you know and I think I think it's very important
to take your time and to do it right and I I do think it's important to have peers in there I really do I mean last
year I really wanted a juror on my because there was that jury that was that there was that Jeweler Scandal or
oh right right beforehand and I thought you know what I can look and I I run every image through a tin eye search
every image it takes me forever to do this and but that's still not going to
tell me when there's a photoshopped piece of jewelry but having a jeweler
like Carla Fox was white Jeweler expert on the on the panel last year and you
know she would easily be able to tell you that and it was pretty interesting you know I mean she would point out
things like look look at that finding look how amazing that you know and that was pretty cool you know I mean and I
really respected that so I think it's important to have knowledgeable people that do shows and also have run shows so
I got lucky last year I thought my juror I thought my jury panel was phenomenal oh yeah you had a pretty impeccable jury
you know yeah like I got lucky um you know you knew what you were doing we'll call it that all right he didn't
get lucky anywhere you're going that's all right I had four I had five drawers right yeah
four of them were artists and four of them have run shows wow it's like almost having eight right yeah pretty you know
like the I had a woman who runs the league of New Hampshire Craftsman Miriam Carter who was a felt artist and needs
to do the show circuit before she ended up being their executive director so I mean that was that was the first person
I picked and then you know it was pretty easy from there but yeah anyway enough about juries and enough about it yeah
we've talked about that a lot I think we've covered that one is there anything like as far as your side of the the
table goes um you know I I see you out talking to artists it's never uh there's
never seems to be an animosity thing which I definitely appreciate I know some shows definitely having us in them
kind of thing and um I don't know what else what else would you like us to know as far as running a show uh and how that goes like
what have we not covered hello we put a lot of thought into it yeah like we know and I constantly remind my board that
without you we wouldn't have this show you know you're not replaceable just
because there are a thousand applications doesn't mean that there are a thousand artists that should be in our show right right we do understand that
we're responsible for your livelihood you know this is this is you know I always try to explain to people that
yeah you know it it if it rains yeah we lose sales but they may not make their
mortgage payment there's a difference I mean this is how you know and I think part of the reason why I really wanted
to build up our emerging artist program is because you guys are a community of people you
know I'm not an artist but if I could have been I would have been one of you on a heartbeat because what an amazing
way of life you have right and the community I see amongst you is just amazing which is what I want these young
people in our program to understand like I want them to get that this is an alternate way of life and look at how
amazing these people are look at what they've been able to do they've raised their kids they send them to college they buy houses this is not a hobby for
you all this is your livelihood you know and I am forever trying to get that
point across to to my board but also to the people that are coming to the show
so it's our responsibility to look out for you in many ways yeah thank you I
mean I appreciate you saying that and doing it and and having it matter to you as well so you mentioned emerging
artists and I want to touch on that as kind of our closing thing because it's something that you and I are both passionate about and I don't think any
any good has ever come from not encouraging a kid in the Arts I was a kid in the Arts uh I you know I
definitely ran up against my brick walls um there's one particular portfolio review that that I'll I'll take with me
to my grave because it was so offensive um but it's still I learned something from it but I just think
this is you know we we really do have to show people because I don't think schools are teaching it they look down
their nose at it professors not all of them um and I don't definitely am not
ascribing to that old cliche about those who do whatever and
those who can't teach it's that's [ __ ] but I don't think universities are
encouraging this middle class artist lifestyle that is so strong and some you
know there's a couple rock stars in here that that are more of an upper class but um still uh how do we do it how do you
guys do this this emerging artist program that you guys it's been so successful so far well I'm smart enough
to know that I don't need to recreate the wheel you know and St Louis I mean I keep talking about St Louis but I mean
Cindy lyric my goodness Cindy lyric developed this program yes and I went to St Louis to check it out you know and I
I sold it to my board and then I was smart enough to hire Cindy to come and run it for me because I believe strongly
that you know there's no point in in in changing something that's already
working but what I loved about this program right and what I what I felt was missing in my former Festival we had an
emerging program but you know if you all you're doing is giving people a booth and telling them what to do
they're not having the best of all possible experiences right like it's it's like you're just letting them
flounder there on their own and if they don't catch the fever like I consider it like catching the fever if they don't
see the benefit of having you all as mentors and and equals and and friends
you know yeah it's not going to be something that you want to continue
doing like I had a girl reach out to me one of the emerging artists that we picked this year she reached out and
said you know I did a show last week and it's just not for me and I really wanted to tell her please just stay in our stay
in the program because maybe you'll see it differently but then I thought no I've got you know I've got 12 really
strong kids that want to do this so I didn't but that was my point like I think just by by having them do a show
without any proper understanding of shows
you're just doing them a disservice I love that it's a two-year program and these kids I mean they were so excited
on Thursday we have an artist panel and we have an Evan reinheimer my gosh he
did two um YouTube videos about it he was part of the he is so amazing right
and I'll jump in and say Evan reinheimer his YouTube channel you can we'll have a
link to that but invaluable information for Old Timers and beginners he's just he's he's a fountain of of info so I
yeah and really selfless to take his time to do this right like because again he's like us he believes in moving this
industry forward and helping his peers you know um so he he recorded the panel so you can
actually see them and then the next day we had we showed them how you load your vehicles how you you know put together
your tens they have to volunteer or actually have like almost intern with we
had 40 artists actually volunteer to be mentors for this program oh it's amazing
I mean literally like as soon as I sent out the message that we were going to do this I I couldn't even respond to the
emails quick enough I had 40 artists agree to Mentor these kids how amazing
that you it's amazing that's how generous you all are with your time right and so these if somebody's
interested in it then definitely yeah I I have debt I've only had one Mentor situation where somebody came in I was
like this isn't going to work right you're not that interested you're just you're breaking up sales and I'm like
right that's fair enough you know and uh so that's what we do these young adults
are going to they're going to Shell sure they will have we're going to have um a large tent and we're going to give
them Pro panels I believe we're going to have at least at least 10 of them come
back you know because it's their option if they made it through the weekend and they really enjoyed it yeah then they
get to show next year and sell their work I love them which is awesome and if they don't then you know we'll just have
one less you know and we'll have a new crop that are going to be mentioned yeah but they'll all have uh we'll have a
pretty big area for them you know I'm thinking right now it's going to be like a 20 by 40 tent that will break up and
they'll have decent space and it'll be in an area that is very visible but not
amongst the other artists so they'll be called out as emerging artists and you
know yeah so it's a it's I've seen first work I've seen you know sometimes they
like in a human mentioning St Louis but in St Louis it's like kind of at the hot corner like right there in the center so
they're getting all the exposure um you know it's like a lot of us would kill for the emerging artists Booth
location which is fine you know it's like it's I like that and then same with
um Cherry Creek has it's part of the kind of the big lap around the circle but right I I like to make sure that
they're not just um getting you know visibility is key but right have you
ever uh ever have you ever heard of the national Folk Festival at all it's um it's a it's a group that comes
together and I know you're into music but you should check out their business model because what the way they do it and this is what is is kind of inspiring
to me as far as emerging artist programs go it's a three-year program The Folk
Festival comes into an area that they think is going to be great and they came into Richmond where I used to live which is why I know so much about it but they
come in and they put on a festival but they also they put it on they get and promote this core group of Music loving
art loving volunteers and they put it on while the volunteers watch
and then they're so they're watching everything they do they're at the same meetings second year they do it together
and they are take the volunteers are taking on different you know aspects of it third year the volunteers do it
completely on their own and the group that puts it on and starts it watches and so that I think is really
interesting it's like almost like okay this is built this is this is a true
teach you how to fish kind of experience absolutely and then all of a sudden all
the volunteers are just they're they're fishermen Fisher women Fisher humans whatever you want to say and and so
they're out there doing it and they're putting it on and now I've seen this group that's that's now they're going on
and doing other festivals too so it's like this amazing teach me kind of virus
that's happening and it's building and building and growing awesome yeah and so once the Richmond I mean the national
Folk Festival leaves an area the idea is that this group of volunteers just keeps
it going on just forever and so that is I I see that with an emerging artist
kind of thing with a where the mentor is I've mentored several different folks over the years and I've stayed in
contact uh with them speaking of your guy from last year with the uh I saw him
at South Lake he's showing really yeah his Booth looked amazing oh he didn't apply this he didn't apply
to be in our show again okay all right I thought maybe he wasn't gonna do it but I follow him on on Instagram and and
make sure to go by and and uh see his work it looked great so but anyway to meet him he's a trip right a trip
like he belongs with he's one of our people I was like oh yes yes like you're
a nut get over here you I have this guy who had no like he applied and he had no
knowledge of being a he'd never stepped foot into an art festival he's never gone to one yeah never even gone to him
but he was an amazing amazing Venetian plaster painter and he had this vision
and our jury panel passed him as long as he could produce work that could hang on
walls yeah and I could barely figure out how to help him so I passed him along to
Will I said hey well all right but we had some tough love kind of I mean I'm pretty no-nonsense kind of thing you
know I was like well what are you gonna what are you doing what are you gonna show and he's like I do this on this and
we do did a lot of texting and he sent me pictures and I'm like and he he wanted to build a booth like
no here's a list it's gonna work yeah here's the there's the booth rental thing that happens down in Florida it
might but uh yeah I mean I I pointed him in the right direction and and I think that the best way to help somebody is
you know with encouragement and and some seriously tough love on Yeah well yeah
and we didn't have and that he's part of the reason why I realized we needed an emerging artist program right like he
would have been her I don't know if he would have been perfect but he would that's that's the person we want to help
right we want to help these people that really want to do this I want them to understand that it can be successful
right this doesn't have to be a weekend hobby you know it can actually be a way that they raise their they raise their
families that they pay their mortgages I keep saying that but it's the truth right 100 the truth I mean that's why
we're you know I mean we do as many shows as we have to do in order to keep the wheels on the wagon so it's it's good so
January uh you're you were in January what's what stage are you in right now as far as like busyness like what's your
when does your app open um my Apple open mid mid-june because
right now um I'm actually rewriting all of our categories you know like I uh I think we
need to take a serious look at how we do things you know um
you know for example with photography is it really fair to
say that you have to number one out of 250 people you know I mean I just I'm
just taking a look at everything to try to figure out how to make it fair for everybody and still keep Integrity but I
think there might be some things on there that are a little archaic because things have changed so much yeah so
that's what I'm doing right now I'm going through the app um trying to figure out where we're going to Market
um I'm trying to write a grant for emerging artists so there's just you know there's just that's what I do right
now and a lot of research you know a lot of research yeah and going to shows
that's kind of fun we'll see you this weekend right that is the best part you know I get to go and see and you know
well yeah we've got our 60th coming up well it's a 60th so we're trying to
figure out what special things we want to do so that's another reason why you know like I you know we're we're I'm
going to a lot of different shows because I want to see different things and you know we're trying to think of something really big to do for the 60s
like maybe even an immersive experience I don't know you know um yeah I don't know yeah we're just
trying to be as you know big in the sky right now you know so that's what that's what my
summer looks like just bring the buyers out just we don't do whatever the hell you want whatever do whatever it takes
to get the buyers yeah right that's what that's right and that is true like you guys don't care that it's our 60th other
than it may bring more people right it may bring more people right exactly because it'll be a big party yeah but
again it'll be an art party that's what I said when I came it's always going to be a party but it'll at least be an art
Centric party Pinky's out yeah well it's no you know it's Miami so I mean it's gonna be a
party but it's gonna be centered around it'll be centered around ours art is not going to be a side show to this festival
art will remain the center of this Festival awesome awesome thank you so
much you have been a joy to talk to and I appreciate getting the insight and the other side of things directors and
artists are in this thing together and all of our successes is dependent on each other we are we really are and I
think that's the one thing that I would take away from this well thank you thanks for your time and and uh and for
Karen yeah always we'll see you soon Absolutely I'll see you this weekend all
right thanks again thank you bye okay really great conversation you guys had
it was so awesome to hear that other side of the story you know the the what
goes into producing an event uh the decisions that get made that we don't always like as artists like for example
mixing up the the booth layouts and and and where we get seen and our visibility
I agree with will I I did scream at the at my monitor when when Camille made
that statement but I understand that point of view the point of view that the show has to be fresh every year you know
we can't reproduce the same results year after year after year that shaking things up is an important part of this
business and if we were left to our own devices I think us artists would try and
recreate the wheel every year and go to the same events and be in the same spot and hope for the same results uh and
thank you Camille and thank you will for you know getting into those topics and and learning about the other side of the
industry well this has been a great week and I really appreciate everybody tuning in
and listening we've got some great conversations lined up coming up here in
future episodes I am planning on a conversation here soon with Erica eyman
who is on fire currently uh she's been winning Awards and just really excited
to sit down and talk to her about her process she works in in different mediums so it is kind of cool to to have
conversation with her about working both as a as a 2d artist and a 3D artist in
different mediums um so look forward to that and I also have planned a conversation with a
couple of zachmans so that'll be a fun convo to to talk to senior and Junior we
get to talk about kind of the the generation of artists the passing of the
torch and and what that looks like so stay tuned for that I know Will has a
conversation lined up here with David Mayhew a photographer a storm chaser
photographer that is going to be an exciting conversation on some of the the stories that he can tell us from
capturing his work out there chasing down those tornadoes so uh again thanks
for listening this week everyone and be safe out there and have some great shows we'll talk to you later bye
this podcast is brought to you by the National Association of Independent Artists the website is
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From The Independent Artist Podcast