This was my first time doing the St. Louis Art Fair. Chris, her mother Pat, and I headed out early on Thursday morning. I had recently purchased a used cap for the Sport Trac, but still did not have enough room for everything. Two days prior to our departure I purchased a cargo carrier at the local Tractor Supply store. It fit right into the trailer hitch and easily held a few more bins.
Ten hours of driving time got us to St. Louis and we had great weather all the way. Those sunny, 80+ degree days would last all the way through the weekend and even on the way home to West Virginia. We arrived at our hotel at about 8:15 PM and in plenty of time for the kickoff of the Steelers-Titans game. (Go Steelers!)
On Friday morning I walked to Clayton City Center to register for the art fair. Along the way I passed the Brown Shoe Conpany, home of Buster Brown Shoes. In front of the company entrance is a wonderful sculpture of a high heeled shoe by sculptor Victoria Fuller.
Our hotel was only a block and a half from our assigned booth space which was quite nice. We were able to park our truck close to our booth for easy unloading. Set up went well, but it was warm and I was a sweat ball by the time the show opened at 5 PM. I was thankful that the rain predicted earlier in the week was no where to be seen!
My next door neighbor at the art festival was Minnesota potter Robert Briscoe. Chris and I purchased a few of Bob’s bowls to take back by home with us. These squarish bowls have a chunkiness that I really like and I am looking forward to eating out of them. Chris and I loved the big platters Bob had for sale, but they were a little out of our spending range for this trip. Bob is part of a group of potters who put on an annual studio tour and sale in the Upper St. Croix River Valley and we discussed the event at length.
Another artist in our row was Michael Bauermeister, whose wood vessels were breathtaking. You could not help but stop at his booth and stare in amazement at his sculptures.
Now as if the art festival itself was not enough action, there was a bonus. I was meeting my half-sister Diane for the first time. It was a couple of years ago that she contacted me and told me she was living in the St. Louis area. When I found out I had been accepted into the festival we agreed to meet. Diane and her daughter, Jasmine, came to the festival all three days. We tried to catch up on each others lives the best we could in between my talking with potential art buyers.
The reunion weekend did not stop here. Chris’ aunt Cetty, cousin Jane, and Jane’s husband, Tom, came to the festival on Friday night. They live in nearby St. Charles, MO.
On Saturday evening I was approached by part of the festival committee and congratulated on being selected for an award. Within minutes, an “Award Winner” banner was installed on my booth. The award, First Place in 3D, was presented along with a check for $1000. at an artist’s breakfast on Sunday morning. The award also means I am entitled to return to the St. Louis Art Fair in 2010 without having to go through the jurying process. Considering all the talent at this event, I was quite surprised to be selected for one of the awards.
I first met Michael at Pittsburgh’s A Fair in the Park several years ago and at that time he was living in Kent, OH. We discussed the possibility of Michael having a show at West Liberty University during the 2010-2011 exhibition season.
Chris and I first met John and Lynn Whipple at the Winter Park Arts Festal about ten years ago, and had last seen them at Atlanta a year or so later. It is hard to pick up a contemporary art publication that does not contain the work of work of either of these talented artists. Chris and I own a couple pieces of Lynn’s assemblages, so it was great to do some trading and take home a piece of John’s work.
The St. Louis Arts Fair proved to be a well run, highly professional event with exceptionally talented artists. The work in this festival is some of the best I have ever seen at an outdoor art event. It was great to be a part of it!