29 July 2013

Art at the Park


My entire day yesterday was spent sitting in a park pavilion, checking in volunteers for The Trout Museum of Art's Art at the Park festival (53rd!). Art shows are interesting events to be a part of, and I've seen them now from all three perspectives: a visitor, an employee, and a vendor. One thing that doesn't change, whether you're selling your work/edible delicacies or working in some other capacity, you arrive as the sun comes up.

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Art fairs, for me, are nostalgic things. I enjoy being a part of them in some capacity, even more than I like to simply visit them. My experience comes from travels to such art fairs with my dad, who has been a painter for almost my whole life. When I was a teenager, many of his summer weekends would be booked in various locales, both regionally and in places such as Florida, Oklahoma, California, and so on. He still does shows occasionally (like this one, because it's local and therefore very easy to do), but I would argue that the 90s, pre-economy nosedive, was the zenith where art festivals were concerned. At least when it came to people actually purchasing art. Things have changed, but people still visit them, so they keep on keeping on.

However, turnout to these sorts of events is always buoyed by the amazing food and snacks. Like last year, Art at the Park had a sparnferkel (pig roast), along with the requisite egg rolls, lemonade, and kettle corn. This year we finally had funnel cakes back, and I hope they stick around from now on.

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The show is located around the square block of Appleton, Wisconsin's City Park, while all the food vendors, kids' activities, community projects and music are hosted inside the park. The artists used to be inside the park, too, following the walkways, but one year it rained so badly that the grass was soup, so they moved it to the street and it stuck. Everyone seems a lot happier this way, and it makes crowd control a breeze.

Not to mention that visitors to the event can hang out inside the park where there is plenty of room to sit and chill, and spread out. One of my favorite things is the large tree that was struck by lightning a couple of years ago, is dead, but hasn't been removed. Instead, there's just a gigantic gash in the middle and a line of stripped bark. And, of course, an Appleton native would recognize the City Park fountain immediately.


As the volunteer coordinator, I was essentially stationed at a table all day long, however I managed to function as information booth, lost and found, and lost-kid-mom-finder too.


It felt like lunch to me, but at around 10am my mom stopped by (she was volunteering!) and brought some cajun cookin' for sustenance, from local Jambalayas. Sausage and rice, and alligator bratwurst. !! I know, right? It was excellent.

It started raining a bit in the middle of the day, and things calmed down for a little while. Happily, it lightened back up and the crowds picked up a bit more in the afternoon. I kept myself amused with people's choice in umbrellas.


Overall it was a really long, exhausting day (not to mention I had been there for a couple of hours the night before -- after working at the bookstore! -- to set up) but it was a great success. Artists were happy, volunteers were happy, and most of all, visitors seemed to be happy. So we event-putter-onners were happy. :) So much planning goes into something like this, and my little piece of the pie was very little indeed. So I have to give credit where credit is due: the Trout Museum of Art staff and all of their board members and affiliations did an amaaaaazing job.

Okay. End blubbery.

I hope everyone enjoyed a lovely weekend!


Days to Edinburgh move-in: 40


  1. Gah! I didn't get funnel cake OR chips!!

  2. funnel cake.... mmmmm

    interesting to hear little details about your life through this post. Like that you dad is a painter. I always like hearing those stories about how a passion takes you to different places and to experience new things...such as traveling to art shows in this case with your family. Ah sigh, yes, these times have been hard on art, eh. My brother has been working in galleries for a large part of the past decade, and he's seen some big ones close here in Chicago over the last few years. I do see a lot more people being "creative" though (it seems)..so there's that...

    eeek, just bit over a month until Edinburgh! :)