A couple of columns back, I talked about how artists nationwide were affected by literally the entire art festival season being canceled. Many festivals didn’t or couldn’t return the booth fees.
The Art Colony Association, Inc. (ACA), the producer of Bayou City Art Festival (BCAF), announced April 22 that an anonymous donor had donated $450,000 that will provide all 300 artists who were lined up for Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park with a cash grant.
In addition, all artists confirmed for the Memorial Park festival that was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been invited to exhibit in the Bayou City Art Festival Downtown on Oct. 10-11.
A $1,500 check for each Memorial Park artist has been distributed by the festival’s nonprofit partner Artists for Artists, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides emergency recovery grants and free medical programming to Houston-based artists. The generous donation was made as a contribution to Artists for Artists in memory of the donor’s mother, a Bayou City Art Festival patron and art lover.
The anonymous donor wanted to help artists of the Memorial Park festival during this unprecedented time and reviewed the nonprofit partners on the Bayou City Art Festival website. The donor contacted Artists for Artists to assist in providing the donation that is specifically designated to provide financial assistant to those artists.
“We are so thankful for our partnership with Artists for Artists and the kindness of the anonymous donor,” said Kelly Batterson executive director of ACA. “As we work together to press forward and plan for Bayou City Art Festival Downtown in the fall, we hope this generous grant will help our artists during this challenging time.”
All tickets purchased in advance for the Memorial Park festival will be honored at the Downtown festival in the fall. Volunteer and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, please visit www.artcolonyassociation.org.
Artists for Artists have been mentioned a few times here, most recently in the April 11 edition about art organizations helping artists. The group hosted a month-long virtual gallery opening. Check them out http://artists4artists.org.
I asked artist friends what their thoughts were when they first heard about the donation. I heard back from quite a few, but Heights jewelry designer Mike Baker summed it up nicely.
“When I first heard of the gift, I was quite overwhelmed at the generosity from those who can,” Baker said. “We’ve remained work-at-home employed, and have continually supported local artists however we can; contributions to relief funds, (online) art purchases, spreading the word about our local art communities to outside our area, etc., but this? This was true philanthropy at its finest. I’m incredibly happy for those artists who depend on these shows for their income and livelihood and this came to help them continue. Plus, the Bayou City Art Festival has assured these artists of a spot in the fall show, meaning I more than likely won’t be able to show, but happy to give up my spot. I’ll most certainly be in attendance, volunteering as Artist Relief!”
Sadly, I won’t be hosting my First Saturday Arts Market this Saturday. Besides the logistical challenge of social distancing at an outdoor art event, we don’t think it’s time yet.
Stay safe out there and, remember, shopping local now just might save our small businesses. Help each other out!
Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com.