Jerry Gray: You OWE it to yourselfWritten by Jerry Gray | | email@example.com
To all you art kiddies and those seriously involved in creating something beyond yourselves, read here: The Old West End Festival is fast approaching and it brings one of Toledo’s most wide-open audiences. There are booths to be purchased and lawns to be had. I highly recommend working with residents who you either know or don’t know and find yourself a sweet spot during the OWE Festival, June 5 and 6 in the historic Old West End of Toledo.
The past two years, I have been invited to set up, show and paint at my own lil’ sweet spot and have had an awesome time, not to mention a lucrative one. The first year I sold a painting for $275 and last year I sold and traded numerous prints worth about $150, all the while enjoying my favorite frosty beverages and conversations with new and old friends throughout the afternoons and into the evenings.
You have a leg up on this situation if you live in the region but if you do not, you have another possible approach to take. This may take a few more nuts than you can typically afford to put on the block, but it could be the best situation you find yourself in throughout the summer in this great city. If you know someone who lives in the Old West End, hit them up for a little corner of their lawn and set up shop with your wares. Show your work free of charge and commission and see what response you get. Many people go to the OWE Festival for artistic creations and find themselves searching for unrecognized glass wares and nostalgic paintings from an unfamiliar name or personality. This festival is a wide-open market for Toledo artists, a situation where patrons find themselves simply wanting to walk away from the experience of the festival with something they find a kinship with and to commemorate the festival as well as something to remind them of a stimulating conversation or talented individual they happened to stumble upon. It’s a commemoration of a great time they find themselves having in a city they love.
To take full advantage of this situation, simply approach a friend in the neighborhood about setting up a booth of work. If you don’t happen to know anyone who lives in the OWE, find a yard you like and approach the homeowner, perhaps offer them a cut of your profits, a small base fee or maybe even a painting or piece from your collection.
The OWE is an extremely inviting neighborhood, and its residents will probably be open about such an inquiry.
I recommend houses on Robinwood between Delaware and Bancroft, where the streets are closed to traffic and a variety of things (especially house parties and yard sales) are happening throughout the two-day events. However, there are “ art booths” for rent (contact the OWE Art Fair Committee at (419) 244-1525) near the corner of Parkwood and Madison during the festival, along with many other potentially viable yards to set up shop at ideally no to very little cost, depending on the property owner.
No matter where you end up in the Old West End, you are sure to have a great and relaxing time. You will be able to enjoy drinks at your leisure, as well as meet potentially hundreds of new people who will be curious about what is available whether they are shopping for antiques, art or snow cones.
I would love to see the Old West End Festival flooded with artists who find their own responsive homeowners and space to market their talents to share with the community, not to mention other quirky items or offerings, such as books, music, face painting, clothes or whatever else is realistically relevant to the situation.
Please encourage one another in this idea. If you are a homeowner in the OWE and know an artist, invite them down to your lawn to exhibit during your lawn sale or party. Add a new dimension to your situation and allow local culture to provide a new audience to your ongoing theme and idea.
We are all in this together … this particular weekend should be an extension of the things and aesthetics we love and want to promote as best we can.
Our loves lie here …
Jerry Gray is an artist, writer, vocalist, bartender, gallery owner and advocate of the Toledo Potential, which promotes the retaining and featuring of artistic talent and culture in our city.