Wednesday, May 26, 2010

1st Annual East Nashville Arts Fest

Now that I'm back home and settling into the groove again, thought it would be a great time for a new blog post. It was a really nice weekend, so I thought it was well-deserving of one.

Some of you may be familiar with Chicago's Bucktown Arts Fest, Bucktown Bazaar, and the Spring and Holiday Shows at Architectural Artifacts. These shows are run with thanks to Maria Mariottini of Grazia Productions. (Note: another new show this year is Crafter's Round-Up). After seeing a need for an open-air art show in the Music City, Maria produced and ran the East Nashville Arts Fest (ENAF) this past weekend (with the help of Dolan Geiman, who designed the poster, and his wife, Ali). East Nashville was the perfect neighborhood. The show was set up near Five Points, among some hip businesses including a coffee shop (Bongo Java), a rocker bar (The Red Door, which Mike claims serves the largest whiskey on the rocks, ever. Shoot, we forgot to test that theory again), vintage clothing stores, (The Hip Zipper), a record store (The Groove), a cool salon (Chop Shop), an art gallery (Art & Invention), and a natural food store ala Trader Joe's called The Turnip Truck.

Did I mention Mike used to live there? Did I mention we met while he was living there? That's another cool story for a future post, perhaps :) So I had visited the city twice and was looking forward to going back. And I was happy to support Maria on her maiden voyage of ENAF.

It was about an 8 hr drive from Chicago, so we left Friday morning and arrived at a friend's house in the evening. I will fully admit I do not travel well (as far as mental and physical stresses - not so much during, but upon initial arrival), so I was quite out of it when we got there. But we were starving, so we had dinner at Eastland Cafe, which was very good.

The next morning we arrived and set up our booth (just on time, as usual) as the heat of the day was building. Temps on Saturday were relatively brutal, peaking in the high 80's with even higher heat indexes. But the sun was out, which is always great for the moods of both the artists and patrons as well. Being a first time show, I knew going in that the crowds would not be out in droves, as is expected with established shows that may have been around for decades. However, Maria, Dolan, and Ali did as much as they could with advertising, so I would say the crowds were good, considering! There were always people on the street, maybe with the exception of the last hour of Sunday, but I contribute that to the final episode of Lost, which I still have to watch tonight, btw :) The people watching was great too - lots of cool tattoos, haircuts, and outfits (cowboy boot envy!), and lots of super cute puppies! Since the neighborhood itself is hip, artistic, and forward-thinking, I believe this show will grow to be a fantastic event! Lots of neighborhood residents were happy to see us, and were appreciative that we were out there showing our work.

Sunday temps were even higher - at one point my phone weather app said the heat index was over 100! All we could do was keep drinking water, and try to stay cool by popping into nearby businesses for an AC break, which they were very nice about, Bongo Java :) Even the Nashvillians were commenting on the heat...I guess they weren't prepared either!

And speaking of, it seems that Nashville is hanging in there as best it can after the flooding. The water was gone, and we didn't see any visible damage while we were there (although I'm sure there was plenty). We did hear many people discussing their personal experiences with it, and another artist, Becky Quigley, lost everything in the flood and was set up at the show with borrowed equipment, and what little stock she had made or salvaged. I'd post her information, but doesn't seem she has a website. (She does jewelry and leatherwork). She did say she was overwhelmed with support, and she was very cool and in good spirits - go Becky! Hearing all the unfortunate stories does make one feel extremely grateful and humble. I wish Nashville the best!

I did do my part to contribute to Nashville's economy, of course, with my horrible shopping addiction, lol - as well as buying several things from the artists, which I LOVE. Check out my Facebook page to see some items I purchased, as well as a list of artists, below, whose business cards I was sure to pick up.....

So, the end of the show neared, and we packed up without a hitch. The first-time event was a success, and I left happy with the outcome, loving East Nashville. We went back to the hotel, unloaded, and went out for Mexican food - yum! Another high-point of our trip was seeing a picture of the "Margarona" on our menu. Apparently, it's a huge margarita served with an upside-down Corona dumped in it. I loved it so much I had to take a picture, although I wasn't adventurous enough to order one (more like I had no desire to walk around hungover the next day). I also had to ask the waiter how one drinks it, to which he replied that people just mix in the Corona as they drink the margarita....but then he admitted he really didn't know - lol.

Monday was a play-day in Nashville (we had decided to make this trip a mini-work/vacation), so we got up and moved to a fancier hotel for our last night. We spent the day cruising around, shopping, and eating. We visited another hip area, Hillsboro Village, where I got a cool pair of black leggings with fringe down the side - yeah, totally awesome. We also made a point to go back to Jack's BBQ, which is situated downtown in the Hon
ky Tonk tourist-y area, which is super fun to see. Best BBQ sauce, in my opinion (the original, vinegar based one)....we bought a jar to bring home for this summer's grilling :) Then at night, Mike took me out for a fabulously rich and decadent dinner at Park Cafe. Just look at the pics on the website - yummy!

So, as promised, here are just a few artists at the show whose work I enjoyed (excluding the usual Chicago suspects, whom of course I love: Weener Ware, Dolan Geiman, Nancy Deal, and Olive Kraus)

Teresa Petersen - collage
Bryan Cunningham - mixed media
Tiffany Ownbey - papier mache sculpture

Sarah Collier - collage art
Fringe Lore - jewelry
White Cottage Design - sewn crafts (the deer, oh, the deer! - love)

Also - please visit the ENAF Facebook page for more information about the artists, and read other blog posts by exhibiting artists, etc.

See ya next year, East Nashville! Until then, keep on keepin' on.....