Irving — After calling Addison home for its first four years, the Urban Artist Market moved to the Irving Convention Center for its 2020 event on July 17 and 18.
Of course, hosting any public event during the COVID-19 pandemic means extra precautions must be taken to ensure the safety of attendees and exhibitors alike. Christopher Miller, event producer for Urban Artist Market, along with his staff, score high marks for making their latest event safe.
Not only was the 2020 Urban Artist Market operating at 50 percent capacity in terms of number of exhibitors and attendees allowed through the doors, but temperature checks were performed at the door, vendor booths were spaced at least six feet apart, everyone was required to wear facemasks, directional traffic flowed one way and sanitation stations were spaced throughout the venue space.
“We implemented everything that people use to provide safety,” Miller said. “I think it’s great. I think it’s safe. I’ve been telling people it’s safer than going to the grocery store.
Dallas resident Janie Bush attended the morning of Saturday, July 18, and left with several bags of art.
“We were delighted to be able to come to something like this,” Bush said. “They’ve got it set up really well. Everybody has lots of hand sanitizer. Everybody’s wearing facemasks. It’s great. The aisles are extremely wide.
“The booths are not crammed into each other. We see some of the vendors are cleaning their point of purchase items as soon as you use them, right before you use them. Nobody’s having you sign anything. A lot of precautions are being taken.”
Even with everyone in attendance wearing masks, it was easy to tell how ecstatic everyone was over having such an event amidst the current environment. Attendees were happy to leave the house and to have something to do while exhibitors, who displayed everything from jewelry, glass art, sculptures and metalwork, were elated to have somewhere to sell their works and to interact with people.
The group of 50 exhibitors included Dana Brock, owner of McKinney-based D’zyn by Dana, which makes “Artistic Jewelry for the Modern Soul.”
“Most all of my shows have been postponed or cancelled,” Brock said. “This is the first one since February, and it feels very good [to be here.] It’s fun to hang out with my fellow artists and just see people, to greet people and talk to them. Just interaction is beautiful. Chris [Miller] has done a phenomenal job in making it as safe as possible and everybody is abiding by that. It’s been fun. It’s very nice.”
Exhibitors and organizers alike said on Saturday morning the attendance had been a bit lower than they had expected, a decrease they attributed both to the stifling summer heat and also to many people still being afraid to return to public gatherings amid the pandemic.
“We just don’t know [what to expect],” Miller said. “The artists have been so wonderful about understanding that. We’re trying to save a business, because these people rely on selling their art. There’s only so much you can do online.
“People like to see it in person. So, we had no idea what to expect. I wish there was more traffic, but it’s also word of mouth. People see the stuff we’re taking pictures of and putting on Instagram and can buy it different ways.”
However, if there was a silver lining to the event, it was that despite lower attendance, those who did visit the event were buying, often purchasing multiple items.
“It’s been good. I’ve had some good responses, some good sales,” Brock said. “Yes, it’s a little bit slower floor traffic, but people who are showing up are buying. They’re delightful, having fun. [They] feel like they’re in a very safe environment, which is what we want. We want their safety.”
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