Culture Crawl 2011 – The Post Mortem
Two weeks have already passed since it happened, but I’ve been meaning to write something and reflect upon this year’s Eastside Culture Crawl.
It was my second year participating as an exhibiting artist and though I had a good idea of how things could go, I still didn’t quite feel prepared enough. I’m no longer an artist full-time and so preparations for the Crawl happened around my part-time job, which meant the final set up came down to the wire. (Thank goodness I don’t work full-time).
I open my apartment to the public for the Crawl because my studio is inside my home. We’re located on the ground floor of a building just off Commercial Drive so it works rather well for getting people in and out of the building without disturbing the rest of the tenants. Our apartment also transforms rather nicely into a spacious, cosy gallery space with most of the furniture removed. It’s a lot of work to get the place set up, and I’m not sure I want to keep doing it at home year after year.
You would think it could be weird allowing a large group of strangers into your home, but for the past two years it’s been a pleasant experience. Everyone is very appreciative and respectful about being here, and many people hang around for awhile chatting and enjoying the work. I enjoy the conversations with visitors and I’ve received terrific feedback from people about the originality and imaginativeness of my work. Showing in my own private space means I have everyone’s full attention, and that kind of exposure can’t be beat.
Comparing my two experiences as a Culture Crawl artist, there were about seventy-five more people this year than last. I think this was thanks to more artists participating with open studios in my immediate area. But while attendance was up, sales were down from the previous year. I felt very discouraged by this even though it’s not all about sales, and I didn’t have any specific expectations about how much I hoped to sell.
A few days immediately after the Culture Crawl I met with other artists and it was good to hear about everyone else’s experiences. Many people felt discouraged because either attendance was down, sales were down, or both. It made me feel better to hear how the others had done, and realise some years are just better than others when it comes to the Eastside Culture Crawl.
A big thank you to my partner Boris, who is a huge help in playing host to visitors, and has also been very tolerant about the transformation of our home. I don’t think I could continue to do the Culture Crawl without him.