Monday, June 30, 2008

Fountain Square Art Festival---wham!


I wrote on my last post that I was "ready" to head east for the Fountain Square Art Festival in Evanston, Illinois. Wrong!!! There was no way of being ready for that. The show opened breezy on Saturday morning, and picked up even more during the day, to the point that it was annoying. About an hour before closing time, I took a quick break at the artist's hospitality room, and the return trip to my booth gave me a dead-on view of a lovely black cloud perched on the west end of Church Street, which just happened to be the cross-section street of the fair. I ran the rest of the way back and sent my weekend compadre (daughter Abbie) after the car. I started bracing for the hit, which is really ridiculous in a nylon covered tent with aluminum legs! But a person's gotta at least try, don't you think? Abbie pulled the car in as close as she could get, which was actually the alley about 25 feet north, and I got two boxes of paintings loaded and headed back for more. You know, when a 70 mph wind gust is descending, running back into that aforementioned nylon and aluminum tent was probably not wise, but there I was. At first I had the crazy idea that I could hold it down, but then I realized that IT thought it could make my fly. I would say the definition of the word surreal was formulated at that point. That surreal moment?---as it dawned on me, I was next to the panel holding my brand new painting of the Minneapolis bicycle races, and in an ahah! moment, I decided I'd save that one at least, and yea for me, I did. With 45 pound weights dragging from each tent leg, and me and my propanels full of paintings on the inside, we ended up in a heap out in the middle of Sherman street. Amazingly the stupid EZ-up (often referred to in the art show world as EZ-downs) stayed on it's feet. All my apendages seemed to be working (!) so Abbie, a good samaritan named Rod, and I started grabbing paintings and putting them in the front door of the shop that was right behind us, because at that point the bucket of rain over our heads decided to start dumping. Net result: stupid EZup has a slight bend in one cross bar, one section of propanel has an interesting curl at the top, and five paintings have scuffed corners that will have to be touched up. Oh, and we do have a few bruises, but nothing serious. Incredible! Because at the south end of the show, it rolled about 40 exhibits down the street, and there was nothing left to salvage. We talked to an Evanston policewoman who was checking people, and she reported artwork flying up to the fourth story windows of the buildings. The organizers put out a newsletter the next morning--injuries included two broken arms, a sprained ankle and some lacerations. Yowza! So do you want to see the painting I decided to save first? :) (sheesh-crazy artist!)

"Between Laps" from the Great River Energy Bicycle Races, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 40 inches, it's formative stages are shown on my project blog.

Later, Cooper

ps. would you like to see what a pile of about 40 EZups (er, EZdowns) look like all rolled together? Here's a link. Oh, and the guy that wrote the news story with it, talked about the artists with pottery---he kind of missed "glass". Not only were there a number of glass artists there, but lots of paintings are framed behind glass, and when the glass breaks, and your roof is gone, and it's raining, those paintings don't live long---sadly.

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