In 1998 I was a lowly freshman at IU, going home every weekend to visit friends and family and not really taking in all the amazing-ness that this town I’ve come to call home had to offer. In 1999 I was a sophomore, going home less and experiencing life more. I’d been back in Bloomington a week, classes had just begun, and I stayed in town for Labor Day weekend – the first of many. But, since it was a new dorm, I hadn’t yet met the many life-long friends I would eventually come to Love, and so I ventured downtown alone and came upon one of the most impressive sights I’d ever laid eyes on. Fourth Street Festival.
I didn’t know what it was. I’d just stumbled into it. Tent after white tent filled with colorful, awe-inspiring paintings, photography, pottery. It went on forever and ever. I felt . . . both lost and at home in the same breath. I’d never been to an art fair before. Heck, I’d never been to a craft show – even your grandma’s craft show (though my grandma was super crafty). And here I was, in a sea of creativity, surrounded by stunning work made by the hands of the very people sitting in those tents…and I was amazed.
For the next 14 years Fourth Street Festival would be my dream. Every year I would go, aisle by aisle seeing the new artists, the old artists – watching them grow and learn and evolve. I would look at their name tags and see the ‘exotic’ places they were traveling from (Florida, Washington, Michigan, California) and wonder what it must be like to be them . . . to travel the world selling art and doing what you Love.
When I started selling my art at shows (in 2009), I never imagined I would ever in a million years even remotely try to sell my work at Fourth Street. It was so beyond me, so above me, so . . . much better than me. It was something I always aspired to, but nothing I never thought would really happen. Then, one day I had the nerve to ask the President of Fourth St herself what she thought of my work . . . and if she thought I should apply to the show. And she said yes, and then, there was no turning back.
That year I applied, and I was promptly denied. I wasn’t heartbroken though. I’d applied! To my first ART show. Fourth Street Festival, for those of you that don’t know, is one of the top-billed Fine Art Shows in the country. And it’s here, in my small little town, on Labor Day weekend. It was an honor to even have been considered. So, then, the next year, I applied again. I don’t give up, that’s one thing you’ll learn about me eventually. And, alas, I was wait-listed. WAIT LISTED!!! I was beyond excited! I nearly cried. I might have cried. I didn’t get in though, but I didn’t care. I’d been WAIT LISTED! And so, the next year, (this year), I applied again. My photos were better. My booth was better. Let’s face it, my product has gotten loads better. And again, I was wait listed. And I was still A-OK with that. I’d just gotten home from two wholesale trade-shows and was feeling the pain of too many orders for these two little hands to create.
And then . . . Friday morning before the Saturday/Sunday show I got the call. I dropped the phone. Literally, no, I’m serious, when ‘…Fourth Street Festival…’ came out of her mouth I dropped the phone and tears came from my eyes. I kid you not. Someone had cancelled at the last minute and I was IN!!!! “So, you want the spot then,” she said when I picked the phone, and my mouth, off the ground. “YES!” Are you effing kidding me!? This is my DREAM! My ultimate art goal in life! Of course I’m in. I’m there. I’m yours. Show me the dotted line, and I’ll be there.
And so, that’s how it came to be that I was able to participate in my dream show – my ultimate goal that I’ve had for the past 14 years in the making. Something I never thought possible, something I never thought imaginable, something I never thought I would be good enough for. And I was. I am. I am good enough for Fourth Street Festival.
And now here I am . .. with my dream having come true. And on the high from that for weeks afterward. . . but where to go now? Where do you go when you finally reach that dream you’ve been hoping for FOURTEEN years?! Up. You keep going up. So, I’ll tell you now my dream, though I often don’t share these for fear of jinxing things – but like I said, I don’t give up. And so, one word. I’ll leave you with one word and hopefully, not in another 14 years, but if it takes that long I’m ok with that, I’ll be writing another post with another dream because this one will be reached. Anthropologie.