A multitude of annual summer events have been cancelled in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Some events have fallen to the wayside, though some organizers have come up with creative ways to keep their events afloat.

Thanks to a little innovation as well as the help of sponsors and grant funding, the 14th annual Art in the Wilds show will go on, albeit a bit differently this year.

In observance of social distancing regulations, organizers decided to develop a “virtual” Art in the Wilds show on their website. The show, which started on June 1, is slated to run until Sept. 7 and can be accessed via a link on the Art in the Wilds website at www.artinthewilds.org or by directly visiting http://www.artinthewilds.org/2020-virtual-show.

The in-person event had been scheduled for this past weekend until organizers decided to hold it virtually.

On the site, prospective buyers can click on images of artists’ booths to see their artist page with samples of their artwork. Hovering over the images will bring up details and prices on each piece.

Thirty-one artists are featured on the site, with a wide variety of artwork including handmade jewelry, paintings, woodwork, photography, metal sculptures, ceramics and much more. Most artist pages on the website have around 7 to 9 available pieces of artwork to view, along with contact information. Some artists even have links to personal websites or Etsy sites, where shoppers can view many more of their pieces.

According to Marilynn Blackmore, executive director, the virtual show had been in the planning for months, as many artists rely on the income from the sale of their goods at spring and summer events.

“We decided early on to try to help the artists as much as we could because all of their shows were cancelled,” explained Blackmore. “We decided to use the grant money to advertise for the virtual show itself in an effort to get people to go online and support the artists.

Though she was unaware of how many actual sales the artists have made at the time of this story, the advertising appears to have had a definite impact on website views. According to Blackmore, as of Sunday afternoon, the Art in the Wilds website had over 12,900 views, up 489% since the beginning of June.

While organizers hope the virtual show will bring in at least a portion of lost sales for featured artists, Blackmore noted that the sales will not be anywhere near what they usually are. She also noted that many of the artists will most likely miss visiting Kane for the show.

“I think the artists really like to come to Kane,” she explained. “We treat them well with a Friday night reception and free breakfast. I think they’ll miss the community and all the volunteers.”

Though they haven’t started planning next year’s show, Blackmore said they are keeping an open mind, as nobody is sure at this point where the U.S. will be in regards to the pandemic.

In conclusion, Blackmore said she was thankful to the sponsors who have been loyal to the event, as well as grant funding that made the advertising possible.

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