Preparing a sale means planning months in advance. First, we needed to find a person to lead the sale and volunteers to head each committee. Thankfully, someone stepped in to coordinate the sale. It's a tough job because you are responsible if something goes wrong. We rented a hall on Main Street for our sale and the coordinator figured out a layout plan for tables. We have a silent auction to raise funds, so we needed a leader for that. It means cold calling businesses to donate items like coffee beans, chocolate or a gift certificate. We also have donations of original art to auction. Our vendors sell pottery, paintings, prints, cards, jewelry and textiles.
I decided to help out with the advertising. I arranged for posters and postcards to be printed and called the local paper to place an ad. Also, we did a mail out to invite people that came the year before and to potential new buyers. We posted posters at various libraries, businesses and shops. Before the sale, an industrious fellow offered to do a promotional video. A week before the sale, it appeared on YouTube.
At the sale, I planned to sell copies of my memoir and art cards printed. I spent a good bit of money on printing costs for the art cards. Cellophane envelopes made them more attractive to buyers.
I even bought a cart to take on the bus to carry my inventory to the hall. Last year, at our annual sale, it snowed which stopped a lot of people from coming. Three hours after we opened, it started to rain and people started to arrive. Soon the hall was buzzing with conversation.
It's important to go into a sale with no expectations. I was there to have a good time, not to be disappointed by lack of profit. I enjoyed being with my friends and celebrating our art regardless.
Sometimes if you greet people who walk by, they won't make eye contact. Is saying hello confrontational? Are you there to look only at the merchandise and not the sellers?
Our sale lasts for eight hours, which means bringing a sandwich for dinner and something to drink. Volunteers help out by watching your table if you need a short break or you can ask the neighbour beside you.
When I see the beautiful paintings and pottery, I'm proud of our talented group. It takes a lot of time to produce good quality work.
I want to say, our group aren't just artists, but artists who happen to have a mental illness. We have struggled, some at death's door, to be where we are today. Our outreach to the community through our art sale hopefully lessens stigma and shows we can contribute to society through our art.
So if you are in the neighbourhood at the time of our sale, please come by. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Art Studios Winter Sale and Silent Auction, November 24th, 12-8 pm
Heritage Hall, 3102 Main Street, Vancouver