For Art Mart organizers Lisa Misosky and Catherine Frye, the 2007 series of events at Southland Books was like flying by the seat of their pants. This year they hope to add a belt.
Misosky said they’ve got the event more organized this year. “As far as scheduling, last year was largely us flying by the seat of our pants,” she said with a smile. “I think this year our pants have a belt.”
In 2007, as a way to give artists a venue to sell their works and art-lovers a place to find it, the pair set up the event on the property of Southland Books and Southern Studios Stained Glass on 801 East Broadway Ave., Maryville.
Misosky said there will be new artists this year, and there will be a more organized approach. “We’ll have new arts, more artists, and we’re trying out a few different things. We’re having scheduled events,” she said.
The events will all happen on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are scheduled for May 24, June 21, Sept. 6, Oct 4 and Nov. 1. “We are taking off July and August,” Misosky said. “Last year it was too hot. Last year was a big learning experience, for both the artists, customers and us.”
Misosky said it was encouraging to see the support Art Mart got in 2007. Now that the Last Friday Art Walk has taken hold, they’re hoping people interested in art will return downtown on Saturdays and visit Art Mart.
Frye said the original plan of not charging vendors will remain for the 2008 Art Mart. This gives many artists who can’t afford an exhibit space or store front a venue to sell their art. “A lot of people are becoming repeat customers and are looking for certain artists,” she said. “Some artists are developing a clientele because people know they’re going to be here, and this is the only place a lot of them show their stuff.”
Frye said artists need only fill out an application to become vendors. Applications are available at the store.
Frye said one vendor sold almost $400 in hand-made jewelry in one day, which is a lot when price points were between $5 and $20 each. “She made good money in one day,” Frye said.
Misosky said what she remembers most from the 2007 Art Mart was the number of people who asked if there was going to be a 2008 Art Mart following the last 2007 event. “It wasn’t just artists, it was a lot of the community. The overall feedback was positive. It was nice to be able to put something into the community they seemed to enjoy.”
“And want,” Frye added.
Misosky said there is definitely a need and market for local art in Blount County. “It’s nice to see people are coming to expect that.”
A lot of artists who do the Last Friday Art Walk also participate in Art Mart. “All of our monthly artists with Art Walk have been artists we’ve been able to pull from Art Mart,” Misosky said. “We have a built-in resource for constantly exhibiting new work.”