Sunday, September 12, 2010

Starving Artists smile at Mount Mary College

To misquote one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite old movies, Little Big Man—“It’s a good day to starve.” Today was one of those perfect, crisp, almost-autumn, apple-picking days when the sun melts over everyone like hot caramel. I did go apple-picking at Barthel’s farm in Mequon. Then, on my way home, I stopped at Mount Mary College to check out their Starving Artists Fair.

I’ve always worried over that name—“starving artists.” Doesn’t it sound just the teensiest bit patronizing? But it seems to work as a marketing ploy, not only for the art-buying public, but for the artists, too. I spoke with several who unanimously agreed it had been a great day. I arrived late, after the grass had been completely flattened and some of the booths stripped of their wares. Photographer Fred Fischer said I should have been here at 10 a.m. when they opened the gates. Apparently it was like opening the doors of the mall on Black Friday. Or, to outrageously mix my metaphors, like the start of the running of the bulls in a china shop!

Life imitates art?

With low booth fees and lots of sales, the artists did well. (They come from all over the state year after year; it has to be worth it.) With the maximum value set at $100, the price conscious art-buying public did well. (For the artists that’s a thankfully higher maximum than past fairs.) And with hordes of people paying $5 entry fees and buying refreshments, the college did well. Sounds like a win-win-win to me. Although, by design, this fair caters to lowest economic denominators of art (I overheard one potter confide that he brought only his ‘seconds’ along), it’s nothing to shake a rag at when art sells during a recession.

And, just as the old Indian in Little Big Man didn’t die that day, no one at Mt. Mary seems to have starved either.

Art reflects life?

If you missed this one and have a hankering to go to an art fair, you’re in luck! The Hidden River Art Festival in Brookfield is next weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Eddee! After a season of so-so to bad fairs, this one was pleasurable one.