On November 29 artists across the nation are banding together to offer holiday shoppers what organizers call something special, unique and hand-crafted this holiday season.
The Artists Sunday project goes virtual Nov. 29 and is designed to help artists survive and thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic by using virtual awareness.
Columbia City artist Bonny Wagoner has joined the movement with her drawings and paintings featuring the Pacific Northwest. She shares her insight about the project in the following conversation.
The Chief: How did you become involved with this project?
Bonny Wagoner: I became involved in this project because like every artist worldwide, when the pandemic began every art venue first postponed their planned events and then eventually cancelled. Some venues managed to pivot and hold their events on-line but since this pandemic environment is new to everyone, some were awkward productions and others were really very interesting presentations. Regardless, I look at it as we are doing our best to stay engaged through this nightmare.
The Chief: Why is this project important to you and other local artists in our community?
Wagoner: Normally I design for the travel and tourism industry. As soon as the pandemic hit, the tourism industry was shuttered. Even now it is operating at only a fraction of its normal capacity so I had to find alternatives to stay afloat. Artists Sunday is one of them. This event is gives me an opportunity to get my work out there in a consortium of other artists for the holidays to offer something that didn't come off an assembly line overseas.
When I first signed up for this event there was just over 800 artists signed up from all over the country. At the time I thought wow, that was a lot. It's now over 3200 artists participating in this movement. Artist Sunday is important to me this year because, like everyone else this year, opportunities are few and far between and I am grateful to be a part of it.
Consider it this way: Black Friday is focused on retail, usually big, national retailers. Small Business Saturday is focused on small businesses. Cyber Monday is focused on on-line sales.
Artists Sunday highlights artists. It is different in that it is an art-focused shopping day the first Sunday after Thanksgiving on the largest shopping weekend of the year. It follows Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, the day before Cyber Monday, the largest shopping weekend of the year. This is a free national marketing campaign encouraging shoppers to purchase from individual artists, and to give unique, original items as gifts for the holiday season.
This is artists coming together across the United States to offer our work together. This is helping the individual artist thrive in these challenging times.
The Chief: Briefly, how will this project engage the artists and the public?
Wagoner: Artists Sunday is an art shopping movement with currently more than 3,200 artists, local arts agencies, cities, counties, state agencies, chambers of commerce, and organizations coming together to encourage consumers to shop with their favorite local artists and craftsmen during the holiday season.
This is a grassroots effort where we are working together to get the word out. Collectively we are using the power of social media by posting the announcement on our websites, our blogs and places like Facebook. We are sending out press releases to engage our local media. I hope you will join us.
Wagoner sent The Chief the following examples of her work with her descriptions of the art.
Wagoner: Whenever possible I use local manufacturers to produce my products.
"The Pinecone" - This card measures 5" x 7", blank on the inside so it's perfect for any occasion. The tactile effect from the letterpress print process is simply luxurious on heavy textured cardstock. This card is printed in elegant copper ink. The finish of the paper is perfect for writing short or long notes using a ball point, marker or traditional ink pen. The card comes with an elegant neutral green envelope - perfect for mailing. Printed for me by Letterpress PDX (the best). Ideal as a holiday card - sold individually and in sets.
"Portland Bridges" - Designed from an urban sketch I created sitting on the bank of the Willamette River in Portland. This card measures 5" x 7", blank on the inside so it's perfect for any occasion. Printed by Bemis Printing in St Helens.
"My Hopup Rabbit card series" - hand cut "hopup" cards - totally unique and delightful. 5"x7" card with envelope. Printed by Bemis Printing in St Helens.