Art Festival Newsletter | July 2021

Coping in a Post-Pandemic Art World: 6 Common Sense Ideas

Looking back on the past year, our world has simultaneously atrophied and flourished. The artist community has faced the challenges of the past 16+ months and is documenting this moment in history with creativity and expression never seen before. Creating art is a key component to mental health but the act of making art can be filled with stress as we work against deadlines, expectations and running an art business. How can we empower ourselves and reduce our levels of stress? These are a few common sense ideas that may already be part of your regular routine. But you might find something on this list that you had not considered before.
Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a hot term these days. It is essential for our wellbeing to take a few minutes each day to achieve a positive mind-body balance

  • Meditations helps anchor us to the here and now. Here are six mindfulness exercises you can try from the Mystic Museum of Art.

  • Breathe: Deep breathing is one of the easiest and natural tools to combat stress and even reduce pain. By taking deep breaths, you slow your heart rate, and allow more oxygen to enter your bloodstream, which communicates with your brain to relax. Deep breathing decreased stress and increases calm. Here are some breathing exercises for relaxation from Michigan Medicine.
  • Find a Mantra: Everyone needs positive affirmation. A mantra is simply an affirmation to inspire you to be your best self. For inspiration check out this Pinterest page.
Yoga: Artists spend hours hunched, standing and using repetitive motion to create. For centuries, yoga uses poses that help with posture, strengthen muscles, release tension, increase blood flow and promote focus. Here are 10 Yoga poses to help alleviate aches and pains.
Connect or Reconnect: Use social media specifically to support your creativity. Form a Facebook group with other like-minded artists so you can share your images and thoughts. As always, I suggest that you also apply your creativity to marketing your art. (Be SMART about marketing your art)
Routine: Research shows embracing routine is essential to self-care, as well as for productivity and making time for the things that matter. Routines have also been shown to reduce stress and alleviate symptoms of anxiety. One of my favorite mindfulness and meditation apps, Headspace, writes about it best in this blog post, “The Secret Benefit of Routines. It Won’t Surprise You.”
Plan: Create a business plan so that you are not overwhelmed when you are on the road again full time. It’ll help you set goals—both for your art and for the amount of money you’re bringing in—know exactly how much you’re spending and making each month, and plan effective marketing and sales strategies. Art Work Archive has a guide to making a business plan in 6 steps.
Keep a Calendar: This is where you will set deadlines for yourself to help you achieve your goals as well as keep track of show/exhibit deadlines, application deadlines, when to drop off and pick up work, etc. This is also where you schedule time to do your artwork.

Art shows are coming back, patrons are looking forward to seeing your new work. Take the time to equip yourself to enjoy reconnecting with the world.

This Issue's Quote: “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way... things I had no words for.” Georgia O'Keeffe

In Person Does NOT Mean Off Line

I am contantly writting about the need to maintain a consistent social media presence and took my own advise last year to survive the pandemic. I was doing a great job connecting with my clients, sending out a weekly email and daily Facebook and Instragram posts until May of this year.

Frankly, I got bored of coming up with something new everyday and exhuasted from the constant comunication. The result was a sudden and complete stop in posting on all my social media and the direct result was ZERO sales! I have started up again but on a weekly basis to reconnect with my clients and it is working, but the sales are still not where they were when I was communicating daily. While my story is a cautionary tale - it will apply to everyone as we move back to physical shows. Our clients excpect a new level of engagement with us and this will continue even when they do have the opportunity to see us in person.

Social media has become more embedded in our lives than ever, and the increased reliance we’ve developed in the last year is likely here to stay.

It’s time to appeal to new expectations. This doesn’t mean you have to post videos of your mastering a TikTok dance (although you could and we might watch), but perhaps share some of your creative expertise with your customers or can explore new art paths. You are leveraging the users’ gravitation toward education and discovery on social platforms. People see social media as informal, so it’s important to relax a bit to appeal to this.

Shift your focus on creating content that is engaging enough to stand out, incite a response or maybe even drive action. People aren’t coming to social media to see ads or brand information – but a carefully crafted social media strategy with great content can go a long way for your art brand.

Create captivating visuals, impactful stories, nostalgic memories and current trends that can bring consumers together. Keep it real and honest, showing that you genuinely cares about your customers and local communities. Life has changed – perhaps forever – and you need to show that you understand this and have adapted too.

Think SHORT Form - Content like Instagram stories, TikToks and Instagram Reels offer quick bits of visuals that grab a consumer’s attention and interest differently than a single static post. Invest in this type of content so engage your patrons without a huge investment. Click the red underlined type for information about how to create these stories.

The hard truth is that even with the return to inperson shows, your patrons want you to continue to connect with them more often than at the show. Marketing yourself on social media is the most impactful way to maintain and increase your client base.
Last Chance to APPLY: Click logo for more information!
September 24, 2021
Charlottesville, VA
Application Deadline 8/31/21
October 9-10, 2021
Newport News, VA
Application Deadline 723/21
Capital Art & Craft Festivals, VA
This month I had the pleasure of speaking with Judy Spargo, Festival Director of the Capital Art & Craft Festivals, Chantilly, VA.
Please talk about the philosophy of Capital Art & Craft Festivals:

Our team members are passionate about the arts, including myself Judy Spargo (festival director). I’ve been a glass artist for years and have participated in local and out of state craft fairs. When the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival closed for business in 2020 a major void was left in one of the most desirable East Coast markets, Northern Virginia. This is when we, SPARGO, Inc., jumped in to keep the tradition alive in this most important market vacated by the former event company and have worked on building a top rated Art and Craft event.  At SPARGO, we have a team of 100+ event specialists, mostly based in Northern Virginia, who have been producing events globally since 1973. Our mission with CACF is to build a marketplace combining traditional values and state-of-the-art technology to help the artist community prosper.
Your organization is known for marketing and forward-thinking technology – how does this impact the artist community?

It is our mission to provide a forum for artisans to market and sell their products that is entertaining, enjoyable, and lucrative for our artists and guests. We are laser focused on this mission, and will be bringing innovative ideas and technology to CACF to help our artists and guests, including:
  • Artist Directory and Shopping Guide – Full four-color guide distributed to thousands of buyers at the Festivals and dozens of press beforehand. See the Fall 2020 Guide here.

  • Year-Round Promotion for Artists – in addition to the Online Artist Marketplace, which is live year-round, an Artist Spotlight released every Thursday and posted to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
  • 50 Complimentary tickets - Each artist receives 50 complementary tickets for their customers.

  • Promotional Tools - Personalized postcards, digital flyers and social media graphics are provided to each artist.

These tools are FREE to participating artists, with the goal of helping to increase their sales.
Talk about your COVID preparations and how to welcome both artists and the public:

With events just starting to take place, and the world opening up more, we still plan to exercise some caution. At both the Fall and Winter festivals, we will still have extra wide aisles for social distancing. And, something we are proud of, which I haven’t seen offered anywhere else, is at no additional charge to the artists booths are 50% bigger to give more room, 10x15 instead of the normal 10x10.
What advice would you give to an artist aspiring to exhibit at one of your shows?

For new artists starting out I would suggest they go to a few local events to see how artists set up and operate their booths. Take notes and talk to artists. Fellow artists are one of your best resources for what works and what doesn’t.  What kind of display will best showcase your art and promote sales? Always have a realistic sales goal set prior to show opening.  Preplanning is your best friend, make a plan how you will promote yourself before, during and after the event. 
Contact Robin Markowitz at
The Art-Linx website has the most current Call to Artist information