Vermont artists bring art shows online

Published: Nov. 21, 2020 at 9:10 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The pandemic has impacted all sorts of businesses in all different ways.

Restaurants grapple with seating constraints, retail stores face their own problems, and much of the art scene has been postponed or cancelled.

The artists WCAX has spoken to have said that one of the biggest losses they’ve faced is the disappearances of art shows. But creative minds persevere, as Elissa Borden learned this week.

For the last three decades, the Women’s Festival of Crafts has graced Burlington’s City Hall. But not this year.

“This time of year it’s kind of a normal flu season time just in general so we wanted to be safe and hope that someday soon we can gather again,” says coordinator Nikki Laxar.

In 2020, the festival will have to grace people’s computer screens, as it’s been moved online - featuring over 80 artists.

The virtual festival began on November 20, and will run through December 18, 2020.

“It’s had a lot of momentum, people are sharing and talking about it and sales are rolling in for the artists,” says Laxar.

Art shows are typically a staple for artists and their businesses, and make an easy gift stop for holiday shoppers.

“Our community is really passionate about supporting local, supporting small businesses and our artists so I think they’ll be active on looking for them and trying to figure out how to support them this year when they can’t see them in person,” says Laxar.

In addition to making sales, it’s a chance to network, make connections, and talk about the deeper meaning behind art - something hard to recreate without face to face interaction.

50 miles away, artists in Brandon are working to bridge that gap.

Samantha Stone, a co-owner of Swan and Stone Millinery says she and a handful of other local creators started up a new business to connect artists with consumers called Art Party Central.

“You know, each artist has an opportunity to kind of talk about their process, give us a kind of inside look into their studio. Maybe they’ll talk about something that’s new to them that they’ve just been working on or they’re sort of just releasing,” says Stone.

Held on Zoom several times a week, 70 to 80 customers join parties of a handful of artists to hear about their works, similar to the way an art show would have worked, without any of the potential virus exposure.

“Thank goodness we’re in this pandemic now when there’s Zoom and Facetime and so many abilities to reconnect with everyone, the people and things that are so important to us,” Stone says.

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