Local Love Summer Art Festival
This report is prepared to give people an overview of the festival and the artists’ projects. It is also prepared to review some of the methods used to produce the festival for both transparency and a document for people to potentially learn from. Photo documentation of the exhibit is below the report. You can contact me here with any questions or comments, or to request access to any additional documentation.
Read below for the full report on the numbers and production methods.
We raised $10,543.70 for the 34 projects and the more than 40 participating visual artists who were presented in the exhibition. We sold $20,759 in tickets and donations over the 6 day festival. The revenue split was 1/2 of all ticket revenue to the production and musical artists, and 1/2 of ticket revenue and all of the donations to the exhibition artists. All exhibition projects were paid at least $261.17 which was the minimum payout. We rewarded all of the artists' projects that promoted the exhibition with 1/4 of each ticket price that was purchased through their affiliate ticket link. More about the specifics of that system below, but the project that sold the most tickets received $515.27. It is not mandatory for artists to sell tickets or promote for our events, but it is encouraged and it is part of our promotional strategy.
The goal of this festival was to give all of the local artists a museum quality exhibition and get them paid doing it. We provided free technical hardware, large format printing, build materials, transportation, installation assistants, and access to a build space and tools for larger projects. We also wanted to give local musical artists a paid, in person gig, and local vendor artists a free place to sell their work.
Project Overview & Challenges
The Local Love project was born out of the pandemic in March 2020. It started as a weekly online exhibition platform to build community and help provide some positivity and support for local creatives during a very stressful and uncertain time. This initial effort provided a fairly large group of creatives that were interested in participating in these types of projects. Additional artists were found through open calls posted on social media, blogs, through word of mouth via friends, other artists and curators. The exhibit was open to any artist or group based in the 9 counties of the Bay Area, and we tried to work with as many artists as possible via the open call.
This was a very challenging festival to produce on multiple fronts. One, we were given the building for less than 7.5 days. We began install at 730pm on Sunday, July 25th and we had to be completely out of the building by Monday August 2nd at 6am. We opened on Tuesday July 27 at 6pm. We had over 30 installations to get in place, as well as lighting the show in less than 48 hours. This was nearly an impossible schedule. All of the artists as well as my team worked very hard, and we barely made it! I was still turning a few things on in the first hour of the opening, but I thought it was really important to open on Tuesday night because we had such a short window to reach our ambitious goal of $20k in ticket sales. I really wanted to raise at least $10,000 for the participating visual artists. Also with the cycles of social media and the way information is disseminated these days, I thought opening on Tuesday would give us a chance to have a really big weekend and I was right. Midway through our last day, we reached our goal of over $20k in ticket sales!
Another difficult issue we had is the Covid Delta variant was starting to proliferate across the country and the Bay Area. There was ubiquitous and scary news coverage when we opened. This made it very challenging to promote the events and also made us have to enforce mask wearing. We received a lot of emails from potential visitors about our safety procedures, and there were of course some people that attended that did not want to wear masks which is always a challenge for door staff. We provided free masks to everyone that wanted one or did not have one. The team at BLOC15 also worked very hard to create two different outdoor areas for people to relax and and have food and drinks in. Many thanks to them for making that happen, it really helped the overall event.
Credits + Thanks
This festival was a collaboration of more than 80 thoughtful and creative people. It was an amazing group of Bay Area creatives! Thank you to everyone who participated and attended. I want to thank the whole team at BLOC15, particularly managing partner David Boyle for enabling this project, opening BLOC15 for the Local Love project, and being an active supporter of local art. Having a space and getting the economics right for a project like this is always the biggest hurdle. Without the support of BLOC15, this festival would have not been possible. Bravo BLOC15 for being such an amazing part of the Oakland community! BLOC15 is located at 252 2nd St. in Oakland. They have a very unique space with 10,000 square feet of exhibition and event space on two floors with an additional outdoor area. They also have a professional kitchen. It's a fantastic venue. Please support this amazing local business.
Thank you to all of the participating artists, musicians, preparators, and others that brought their creativity to this project. The list is mighty long, but here are the core collaborators & contributors.
Exhibition Artists: Alana Rios, Ana Rivero Rossi, Asmara Beraki, Asya Abdrahman, August Wang, Bella Donna Artiste, Addendum24, LE BohemianMuse, Capacitor, Jodi Lomask, David Nguyen, Christina Klein, Clint Imboden, Crystal Vielula, Diego Gómez, DesignNurd, Duser, Dylan Blackstone, Grant Patterson, Gustavo Castillo, J-Wo, Kaytea Petro, Kevin Byall, Kiana Honarmand, Kindness Grocery Co-Op, Adrian Bello, Liza Bender, Luminate Musique Designs, Jacob Dineen, Marina Polakoff, Max Ehrman, Mini Museums, Laynie Marie, Amanda Seigel, Ashley Terry, Reenie Charrière, Rodd Hanshlider, Robert Geshlider, Todd Hanson, Roya Ebtehaj, saiho, Sayuri Hayashi Egnell, Elisabet Gallego Rigo, Şerife (Sherry) Wong, Sko Habibi, Tescia Seufferlein (and her amazing team!), Tim Thompson, Zoe Fry and The Introverts Collective. Click here to view the exhibit artist list which contains links to explore, follow, and support them with a purchase.
Music Artists: Bisi, CongaKing, Daniel Berkman, DJ Ignacia, Duserock, Gordo, GTC Band (Justin Engel, Ed Pasalo, Emily Rayray, Michael Rayray), Jason Peters, Kilam, Lady Fingaz, Malachi, Nina Sol, Rascue. Click here to view the music artist list which contains links to explore and follow them. Huge thanks to Donovan Cabeza from MOM DJ's for the music curation and organization of the musical talent, and Really Good Sound for the discounted equipment and tuning of the sound system.
Vendor Artists: Allie Ponce, Allison Jones, Dreams in the Flesh, Duser, Erous Artesenias, Inverted Perceptions, Kaytea Petro, Kindness Grocery Co-Op, PJ Photography (Paulina Zepeda and Justin Alle-Corliss), Seasonal Apothecary, Txutxo Perez, T. Banksy, Uppitees Fashion. Click here to view the vendor artist list which contains links to explore and follow them.
Thank you to our installation and production staff Conan Matteson, Jerome Joyce, Ryan Stubbs, SGuille Rayala (aka Supah Dupah G), and Toshi Hoo. The board of directors at Oakland Art Murmur, performance artist Patricia Wright, photographer Robin Fadtke / Zoart, and Mini Museums Creative Director Sydney Parcell. Thank you to the more than 1000 people that attended the festival, and all others that helped support the individual artists and their projects!
Event Dates: July 27 - Aug. 1, 2021
Paid Exhibit Tickets Sold: 924
Opening Night Tickets ($25): 126
General Admission Tickets ($20): 723
VIP Art Lover Tickets ($35): 75
Free Children Tickets: 53
Total Net Ticket Sales: $20,759.00
Artist Donation Tickets Sold ($20): 25
Artist Net Donation Amount: $464.20
Money Raised for Exhibit Artists: $10,543.70
Number of Participating Artist Projects: 34
Minimum Artist Payment: $261.17
Maximum Artist Payment: $515.27
Production Budget: $7910.47
Trucking / Transportation: $713.21
Build Materials: $732.01
Scissor Lift: $696.88
Music Program: $3145.00
Web Services: $100.00
Covid Safety: $140.00
We created a few different ticket types ranging from $20-$35 for this exhibition. Our revenue sharing model was 1/2 of all ticket revenue to the production and musical artists, and 1/2 of all ticket revenue to the exhibition artists. We also created a donation ticket for those who wanted to donate or could not attend in person. 100% of the donation ticket went to the exhibition artists. The festival had a free area to support the venue's bar and cafe and for the vendor artists to be able to invite people without making their guests feel like they had to buy a ticket. We purchased 100 drinks tickets from the venue for $800. 25 were used for the musical artists and 75 were used for the VIP Art Lover ticket which cost $35 and came with a free drink.
We used Eventbrite for ticketing and their affiliate system for tracking artist promotional links. They have a very broad reach with many visits to their site for events to attend. We had over 5500 views of our event on their service during our promotional and event window. Each project received a custom Local Love web link redirect to their Eventbrite ticket link which we tracked with their system. Artists that promoted the event and sold tickets through their link received 1/4 of the ticket price or $5 for general admission. This provided a way for us to encourage artists to promote the event and an equitable way to reward artists that helped promote. We raised $10,543.70 for the 34 projects / 40+ participating visual artists who were presented in the exhibition. All exhibition projects were paid at least $261.17. The project that sold the most tickets received $515.27. Artists were not required to promote or sell tickets but it was encouraged and part of the promotional strategy.
Other Methods and Curatorial Notes
I have been producing art installations, events and exhibits in the Bay Area and beyond for more than 20 years. A project like this is a massive amount of work that can’t be quantified in hours. I do these curatorial projects out of passion for people, for fun and creativity, community building, and a general respect for the power of creating opportunities for others. Opportunities are so very important in life. Each one leads to the next and they help define people. We are very much a product of our opportunities. This is a statement that should resonate across all organized activities, especially free quality education for all. I’ve created many things that I would have never thought of before, just based on the opportunity. This often leads to wonderful creative discoveries, life long friendships and more.
The art world can be wrought with many barriers and restrictions to the opportunities. I try to remove as many of those barriers as possible when producing these types of projects. I try to be very inclusive and work with as many people as I can. I feel my power and skill in being an arts advocate and curator is organizing and creating the opportunities, to engage with the artists and their vision, and to be available to help them with their projects in any way I can. My caveats in working with others is that they are highly creative, thoughtful, professional, responsive, and fairly organized with their presentations and proposals. When I choose to work with an artist, I start with a basic but powerful question: What do you need and how can I help?
In regards to the amount of money raised for the artists and the strategy: While I do think it is noteworthy to spend the time and effort to produce this exhibit and raise this money for the participating artists, I would have liked to see this amount be more. In my experience, it is very rare to be paid for group art exhibitions, especially local ones. I would like to see more of this in our culture, and for systems to be developed to make that work on a larger scale. That is one of the reasons I work on this project. Exhibits and festivals like this could obviously be assisted with grants and/or sponsorships, but I spent a lot of time trying to make this happen for the San Francisco Spring Festival and it was a lot of work for nothing. The grant and sponsorship model adds a whole other layer of work to an already laborious management process. It’s extremely hard to get the economics right for these projects. My overall goal was to raise $10,000 for the exhibition artists, pay all of the musicians, and to not lose money. We reached that goal! I am extremely happy with the outcome. Thank you again to everyone that attended and supported the artists.
I am very proud of this project and it was a honor to produce this festival with such a great group of artists and collaborators. I love working on the organizational systems and structures for helping artists, creating community and producing complex events. I’m also a dedicated creative who has done hundreds of projects and exhibitions. If you have any questions, or would like to collaborate on a project, please get in touch here.