Reading the Morning File recently about snatches of conversation heard at the Arts Festival, set my mind stirring up flashes of the past. Ron and I took our Pittsburgh photos to the Artists Market for over 20 consecutive years, and ah, the memories.
Snippets from my own lips you might have heard:
Okay, I have to start with this, because rain is a Festival trademark, is it not? And it is relentless, winds and showers coming back, again and again, to pummel the Artists Market with mini-tornadoes, which leads to the next one...
This as the roof to our display lifts up like a kite, powered by a disagreeable wind tunnel...which leads to the next one...
The winds produce flying debris, cups, papers, pottery and paintings zooming through Gateway Center like birds on the run.
So true! Manning his booth makes your friendly artist unable to go the long distance to McDonald's or the Point for a food fix. So he sits there, watching you chomp into your gyro...I won't say more...Just don't lean too close to the artist with that sandwich in your hand...
I know, to the casual observer, running a booth in the Artists Market looks like a day in the park, literally. But did you know these fine folks are working from 11:00 or 12:00 in the morning until bed time. In addition to being open for Festival hours, they carry their stock in every morning and out every night, setting up fresh each day. And many of them do 11 days in a row--That's 11-12 hours a day, 11 days in a row, no break. Which leads to a few more:
This happens to every artist counting out change...mind freeze, total nothingness. The mind's light bulb goes out, and the poor artist is left mid-count with nowhere to go. Please be patient with him. Fatigue takes a toll.
"I miss television!"
Eleven days and not home for the finer things--no TV, no sit-down hot meals with no one watching, no upholstered furniture. I always felt I was getting a glimpse at what homelessness is like--living outside with cold hard concrete everywhere, no comforts, always hungry, people gawking at me...shudder!
"My tummy hurts!"
One year I let a roast beef sandwich sit in the hot sun while I handled customers. I was exhausted, on the last day, and stuporous from fatigue. I don't know how long it sat. But a word of caution, food poisoning isn't fun.
This chant is heard when an artist sells his biggest piece. It's all about this, why the artists come, and why you do, to share the art and enjoy its beauty.
Copyright 2007 Jo Janoski