A very simple, but serious question for practicing artists: Isn’t it strange that arts festivals are some of the least hospitable places for career artists? It seems to be the prevailing wisdom around town that showing on the festival circuit is not a good idea, or that it isn’t practical, due to obligations of time, paying festival fees, and either a real or perceived … risk of one’s reputation?
Then again, it’s hard for me to imagine a less intimidating and more celebratory environment than being outside, in the open air. And after opening night after opening night, again, there seems to be a lack of quality daytime events to break up the gallery hop routine. At least two local galleries have come up with solutions: Beep Beep’s Artlantis arts festival and Alcove Gallery’s Art B Que. Both events take place in June, and both feature food and music. (Beep Beep’s musical lineup includes Judi Chicago, The Killer and the Martyr, The Back Pockets, Book of Colors, El Fossil, Dewar Brothers, and Mule Skinner McQueen; Alcove’s flyer, on the other hand, promises burlesque performances ….)
For me, the revelation—that two venues are hatching nearly the same idea, with little to no knowledge of each other—further underscored the profound lack of communication between our disparate “subcultures” of Atlanta art. Of course, I discovered this tidbit a mere hour before visiting the Decatur Arts Festival … where to my horror, one of the Decatur Arts Alliance volunteers asked me, “So, where is Eyedrum anyway?”
The question was innocent enough … and despite my cringe, maybe it just means that we need to do a better job: Isn’t it embarrassing that the public doesn’t know who or where we are?