On a drizzly Tuesday afternoon, there’s hardly any foot traffic down the 200 block of North Wall Street. On Saturday, though, the street is going to be packed with art vendors, food trucks, a beer garden and a live music stage as a part of Bazaar, a new one-day art and music event presented by Terrain.
Think of it as an open-air market for local artists and craftspeople to sell their work, and more than 50 individual artist’s booths will be set up outside.
Although they know how to throw a successful event – this fall marks Terrain’s seventh year – Luke Baumgarten, Ginger Ewing and Patrick Kendrick are still feeling their way through this one. Once everything is erected tonight, they say they’ll be in “crisis management” mode.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that this will be a great event,” Ewing said, “but we’re going to be refining, both internally and how we structure the event and the artists themselves. They’re going to figure out what works and what doesn’t.”
Last October, Terrain raked in about $7,000 in art sales, but the organizers are hoping they can continue to boost that number even higher.
“We kept hearing from artists that there’s no real art market in this town, especially for young people,” Baumgarten said, and Bazaar has been designed to appeal to those who might think that local art is beyond their usual budget. The participating artists, who were selected by jury, had only a few criteria to follow: They were allowed to sell anything as long as they made it with their own hands, and at least half of their work had to be priced at $100 or less.
The idea is to introduce Spokane artists to potential buyers they might not otherwise meet: When you’re a 20-something who’s just barely scraping together enough rent money every month, the last thing you’re going to buy is a $250 oil painting to adorn the wall of your studio apartment.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of getting young people to become art collectors, whether it’s local or whatever that may be,” Kendrick said.
“It’s about cultivating a relationship between artists and art buyers,” Ewing said. “So when you’re in the position of having a little more money, then you already have a relationship with your favorite local artist.”
But it’s the artists themselves who are the real focus of Bazaar. Their booth fees were kept as inexpensive as possible to encourage greater participation and so they’re able to pocket every cent they accrue in sales. And for those who have never considered themselves art collectors, they’ll come to realize that purchasing an original piece directly from the person who created it is a personal experience.
“We all think, ‘$150 is so much money,’ but people will drop $150 on a lamp at Pottery Barn because there’s a value proposition there,” Baumgarten said. “We’re trying to get people to think the way we learned to think: What we’re putting in our houses tells us something about who we are as people, what we care about, what we’re passionate about. In the exact same way you love that Pottery Barn lamp, think about buying art from an artist whose story you know.”
“And as a lover of Spokane, having local art in my home is kind of an extension of that and a continuation of that story,” Ewing said.