Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spring Art Walk Recap

Spring Art Walk was this past Saturday; the weather held, the food rocked, and the traffic was great! Now that the event has come and gone, I can explain the Bacon and Eggs food theme. It all began with Christine's desire to make Bacon Bourbon Brownies; last year's Holiday Art Walk featured Chocolate Covered Bacon, and it was such a hit that Christine has been compiling bacon/chocolate recipes ever since! Anchored by that one item, we started casting about for additional bacon and egg recipes. For savory items, we served Bacon and Green Onion Corn Muffins, Spanish Deviled Eggs (with smoked paprika and sherry vinegar) and Gazpacho "Shooters" spiked with bacon-flavored vodka. (The bacon vodka is pretty lousy on its own, but tastes quite good in things like gazpacho, or maybe Bloody Marys.) Sweet items included the aforementioned brownies, Gold Cake (an Italian celebration cake made with twelve (!) egg yolks - see the recipe at and cinnamon meringue cookies. Everything was excellent, if I do say so myself...

Our philosophy for Art Walk is really pretty simple: in short, it's not about selling art. Instead, we look at Art Walk as one of the first big social events of the Spring, and we use it as an excuse to throw a good party! Yes, of course, we do rehang the gallery and we always showcase new paintings during the event, but our intent behind this is to have folks come out and enjoy Bigfork and all that it has to offer - sales are secondary to us. Incidentally, sales were excellent this time around, but that's merely a bonus to our way of thinking. With that in mind, we learned a few things this year. First of all, the organizers of this year's event decided that the hours should be from 1 to 7 p.m., rather than the usual 4 to 7, their reasoning being that people often came early because they didn't know the time. While others may have thought this to be a successful tactic, feedback from our guests showed that it actually diluted the event drastically. The almost universal feedback was that people would much prefer the Art Walk to be from 5 to 7 or 8 p.m., because it's a social event and a shorter window of time would mean seeing more of your friends from throughout the Valley. So next time, we'll push for shorter hours and more advertising.

The other thing we realized is that a small group of us believe having only two Art Walks each year is about ten Art Walks too few! To that end, a handful of us are going to start doing monthly events - sort of a Block Party theme. We're working to agree on a time and day each month, send out blast emails, and try and get something established in peoples' minds, like the very successful First Fridays in Missoula. My goal is for all of Bigfork to begin to participate, so that (for example) the third Thursday of every month becomes known as a rockin' evening in town, and folks plan that week around it. You know, come down and walk the town, have a few cocktails, meet friends for dinner in one of the many exceptional restaurants here, talk it up and invite more folks the next month. And hey, maybe buy a painting or a sculpture, too! We've decided that we're starting in June; I'll share details as soon as we pick a day.

Last thought - this was Roxie the Shop Dog's first Art Walk. Honestly, we were a little worried about her; wide open door, lots of people, lots of food, and generally a fair number of small children, of whom Roxie is still a little unsure. (A trainer tells us that kids are at eye level to dogs, which they find threatening; regular training is needed to overcome this.) It all adds up to sensory overload for a 5 month old puppy! Much to our delight, Roxie was fantastic - she charmed folks left and right, tried just twice to snack on somebody's treats, and only made a break for the door a couple of times. By about 5 p.m., she was pretty worn out (so were we, Roxie!) and fell asleep on the love seat in the gallery. All in all, a successful evening!

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