Worldwide artistic exposure

Arvada Center’s Fine Art Market goes virtual for the first time in its 36-year history

Michael Hicks
mhicks@evergreenco.com
Posted 12/8/20

Emily Grace King has gotten familiar with the logistics. She’s taken photographs of the items, weighed them and shipped them out. This includes a necklace she mailed out last week to, of all …

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Worldwide artistic exposure

Arvada Center’s Fine Art Market goes virtual for the first time in its 36-year history

Posted

Emily Grace King has gotten familiar with the logistics. She’s taken photographs of the items, weighed them and shipped them out. This includes a necklace she mailed out last week to, of all places, Hawaii.

“This year has been a little bit different,” said the Arvada Center’s Galleries Exhibition Manager, of the Online Fine Art Market, which has always been, in the past, just been the Fine Art Market.

In its 34th year, the art market is one of the few but also the largest opportunity, said Marcus Turner, Director of Communications for the Arvada Center, to bring in revenue for the center’s gallery division. With more than 1,200 items available for purchase from 70 artists, this year has been quite different. That includes taking it online.

Normally, there’s a call for artist entries during the summer. That, for obvious reasons, didn’t happen this year. So King, Parson and the gallery invited artists who participated in the past two years in the physical market to jump on board.

The verdict?

“I’ve been hearing from artists and customers who have been happy with the quality of everything,” King said. 

When COVID-19 hit, it was a major concern for the Arvada Center, Turner said, with the cancellation of programming and finding anything and everything it could to remain relevant within the community.

“The challenge was cutting through the noise and learning more and more how to do virtual things,” Turner said. “We’ve had a great partner in the City of Arvada with the help provided by CARES Act funding.”

The fact that the Arvada Center couldn’t have an in-person art market took it back a bit, said Turner, but he complimented King and Collin Parson, Director of Galleries/Curator, with fine-tuning this year’s event while keeping everybody safe.

“All the credit goes to Emily and the gallery division for making this happen,” Turner said. “Typically, it’s an in-person event and the gallery at the Arvada Center is a dynamic atmosphere for us showcasing Colorado artists with a wide variety of works.”

Just as much, however, Turner credits the artists whose work is being showcased. The virtual art market was a change in mindset in how they typically sell their work. It showed their faith in the Arvada Center’s careful handling of the artwork, and its ability to showcase it online.

Typically, there’s a physical goal that the center strives to reach. This year, however, it has been a completely different experience, thus the benchmark was moved. That said, King noted that the first day of market sales was higher than they were a year ago.

And while this year’s market has been a seamless experience, it’s also provided somewhat of a double-edged sword by going virtual, Turner said. Now, the Arvada Center is facing more competition for its business via the World Wide Web, just like it has found with its programming in 2020. But the center has not only a unique niche group of supporters but by going virtual it has opened the world to its offerings.

Nancy Ford is a connoisseur of fine art. Be it ceramics, jewelry or woodworking, the Arvada City Councilmember, who is also on the Board of Directors with the Arvada Center, loves it. She even purchased something from the Online Fine Art Market herself, noting how not only was it a great way for the Arvada Center to make some money but it helps artists showcase and sell their work.

“Everything is critical,” Ford said. “One of the problems for the center with most of the funds coming in from performances, (the pandemic) has really, really reduced what we were able to do. This is just one of those examples of our response to COVID-19.

“This is just an example of how we can continue things in this very crazy world that we’re living in at the moment,” Ford added.

The art market is open through Dec. 18 at www.acartmarket.com.

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