Over the past several weeks, amidst various project meetings, planning sessions, seemingly endless email threads, and plenty of actual setup, I've found myself throwing around the metaphor of puzzle pieces more than any other. Because that's what big collaborative projects feel like: each and every person brings experience, expertise, and networks unique from everyone else's, and sometimes various projects overlap into a perfect cocktail of opportunity. And that's how I felt about the ARTiculture Drawing Rally on Saturday, August 8 at The Alley Project in downtown Appleton.
It's a privilege to be a part of ARTiculture Community Supported Arts, a brand new initiative in Northeast Wisconsin, emphasizing the buy-local, buy-direct model of community supported agriculture by translating the concept to visual art: art lovers purchase shares of original artwork , almost all of the proceeds from which go directly back to the local artists who are selected to create original artwork throughout the season. In November, shareholders may attend a special distribution event when the artwork is finally ready to be picked up, and there's a chance to meet the artists and hear about the process. Read more about ARTiculture here.
Also having a hand in The Alley Project turned out to be a windfall for ARTiculture's Drawing Rally, a first of its kind in Appleton and something that we can happily say was even more successful than we could have imagined. Part of it definitely had to do with location -- initially we thought that an indoor location would be suitable for setting up numerous tables. We wanted music, food, and beverages, but we didn't really know where to start. Then The Alley Project sort of fell into place at exactly the time we needed it most -- and with all the perks: music, beer, a food truck, festival goers hungry for interesting things to see and do, and a brilliant outdoor art backdrop. We couldn't have asked for groovier circumstances.
The Drawing Rally involved a 28 local artists (plus some friends!) who generously offered up their time and talents for a half hour each to draw pictures. The pictures were then made immediately for sale for $20 (I had a ton of fun, along with other ARTiculture coordinators, doing laps along the tables to pick up drawings and check on progress). All of the proceeds of the sales go to Appleton Downtown, Inc.'s not-for-profit community arts initiatives, as well as ARTiculture support funding. It's important to us that Appleton is starting to see a resurgence of creative energy and cooperation between individuals, organizations, and institutions to bring about the sort of creative economy and atmosphere that makes events like the Drawing Rally and The Alley Project, as well as programs like ARTiculture, feasible and able to be enjoyed by any and all.
We would also be remiss if we didn't give a HUGE shoutout to Strathmore Artist Papers, which generously donated a huge variety of incredible papers for artists to choose from. Please find more information and plenty of inspiration at strathmoreartist.com.
We hope to do something like this again real soon!