Friday, May 21, 2010

Awards, Friends & Food

Mike and I just returned from Belleville, IL last night. We've got some money in our pockets, stories to tell and calories to burn! We arrived in Belleville to rain and quite a bit of it. On the first night we stopped into a local restaurant/ bar that we'd remembered from last year. We didn't remember the name or exactly what street it was on, but we went by feel and eventually came upon it. It's called "Seven" and is on High Street off of Main in downtown Belleville. Once the waitress found out we were artist's in town for the show, we got the royal treatment. It was fantastic. A little later into our evening the owner, Brian stops and sits with us and we made fast friends with him and his staff. What a great night.

Friday morning we set to work on setting up the booths. It rained a little, but not until, we had the canopies up and had some cover. It was fairly warm and got warmer as the day progressed. Around noon, our good friend and Art Center buddy, Bryan Haynes showed up to help us set up. He lives about and hour away from Belleville in St. Albans, MO. Bryan is a wonderful and accomplished muralist/illustrator. We got all set up in time to make a quick trip back to the hotel to change and a stop into the Irish pub before the show opened at 5pm. It was a lovely evening with an appreciative crowd and a good start on sales.

Saturday morning we were met with nice weather. As the day progressed, rain threatened and Mike put up the back awning to give us some shelter. It was a long day, but we made our way over to the student art exhibit after the show and were glad we did. For dinner we went to a lovely place called the Wine Tap where we received the same warm and appreciative welcome from the staff that we had the previous night. Mike and I enjoyed ourselves a bit too much and stayed up way past our bedtime.

Sunday morning Mike and I decided the previous evening had gotten the better of us and so we choose to skip the awards breakfast. Big mistake!! Mike won best of category which came with a cash award of 1500.00 and I won an award of excellence which came with a 500.00 cash award. We were pretty embarrassed and of course got plenty of ribbing from our fellow artists. We were honored to have won and disappointed that we didn't go! We were watching the satellite all day and hoping the rain would hold off until after take-down. The worst thing is to pack up a wet canopy and equipment. When the time came, the artist's next to us were kind enough to grab us a pass to move our truck on site. That was great! Mike and I had a pretty good handle on things, but the weather was not looking good. When we still looked like we had maybe 30 to 40 minutes of loading to do, Brian and his fiancee from the restaurant showed up and said, "we're here to help". We put them to work and they were great!! We got everything in the truck just in time before heavy rain hit. It was amazing and heartwarming!! Thanks Brian and Heidi! After all was said and done we had the pleasure of having dinner with Carla & Dave Fox, our friends from Oregon. Wow, was that all soooo great!

An the fun didn't stop there. The next morning after a little repacking of the Sprinter we headed to Bryan & Petra Haynes' in St Albans. We went on a short hike through a preserve area that was rife with wildflowers, then a lovely dinner with their kids. We ate at a restaurant that had one of Bryan's murals his work was on the walls too. It looked great. He's a celebrity in his town!

It was a terrific trip all around, but of course we are very glad to be home too! Now we get ready for the next leg of our trip. Back to Chicago!!

1 comment:

Wendy DeHart said...

Marla, your trip sounds great and I'm sure it's encouraging to the art community to know that the art festival circuit is alive and well! And don't you just meet thenicest people! Congratulations to you both!