In OKC, we have this arts district called The Paseo. On the surface the Paseo looks like a great little artist community. Cute buildings on a crooked little street with galleries, shops and restaurants. But this local, successful, award-winning artist can see through the bullshit facade. If you go through the galleries, they are filled with mainly the works of retirees that look like they are showing off what they painted in class this week. There are a few gems amongst the poorly painted barns and flowers, but you have to really look for them. The galleries are all little co-ops with an assortment of crap from whomever is part of the in crowd and willing to pay there piece of the gallery fees. I understand that is how co-ops work, but these are mainly a bunch of retirees that don't want to see any change.
I have thought about getting my own place within the Paseo and occasionally a space opens up. However, over half of the buildings and spaces are owned by one person and she controls all of Paseo. What this means is, if she says that you can't put a sandwich board out in front of your space, then you can't. I have seen galleries open and barely make it through a year because the restrictions are strangling and its hard for a new shop to get its word out to people walking down the street without a sign of some sort. Add to that, the OKC art market seems to buy on event nights only, like first Friday. The rest of the month can be like a ghost town, and that's ok for retirees just doing this to have something to do.
OKC has basically has 2 big art festivals every year. One is the massive Festival of the Arts in downtown OKC. These are not local artists. They are professionals at the highest level of the festival market from all over the country. You have to be best of the best and I think someone has to die to give up their spot for someone new to get in. With that, I pretty much write off that festival. I'm not there yet. The 2nd one is the Paseo Art's Festival. This is much more local and approachable, if you are part of the in crowd.
I find it amazing that I can be accepted in festivals all over the state, have won multiple awards at these fests, and get denied into the Paseo Fest. This is not just a sore loser, poor me rant. The crap art that will be accepted is the thing that gets me riled up. There will be good and even great art showing, but there will be a lot of crap too. It's the same every year. What's frustrating is that this is a show that could make a lot of sales for me, something desperately needed to be able to keep doing art for a living. I will keep doing the other shows, but it's frustrating to be continually denied by the local art community. Paseo can shove off!
Here is my piece titled "Rocky Mountain Red Boat". This piece continues to show and sell well for me. You can't come see it at the Paseo Art Fest but you can order your Limited Edition framed canvas print at my Etsy shop.