By Patrick Dennis

I am an artist and I’ve been thinking…

Probably I scared the daylights out of trick-or-treaters this year because instead of wearing a mask I decided to answer the door with a clipboard and a telephone headset and my pajama bottoms.

I could see the worried looks on the mothers’ faces saying in hushed tones, “just get the candy and leave before he starts asking questions about our household income.”  They couldn’t have known that the man with wires on his head nervously tapping a board with papers was just working late on a festival that is due to start in a couple of days.

I’m pretty sure I was disheveled and nervous looking, exacerbating the horrifying image every child has of old people. I wondered briefly if I smelled faintly of wax or Polident  and if I’d gotten that chocolate turtle off my giant menacing front teeth.  In the end of course it’s all about the candy and not getting caught with it on your face when you answer the door.

Most artists I know are winding down their year to spend some hard earned time and money on their families. Sometimes I imagine a fire in a dark room with grandma ladling out portions of stew from an iron cauldron while children play with last year’s second hand toys nervously wondering if their pets will be on the menu.  But that’s just my idea of fun because I’m a big fan of The Addams Family and I’m not really over Halloween yet.

Perhaps because or in spite of these times I keep working to organize opportunities for artists to make a living. On Nov. 5-6 we have our last art festival of the year, The Chastain Park Arts Festival, in hopes that artists can make a proud bow to consumers who have come to see the wonder of art and how it’s made before the frenzy of holiday mass merchandising is in high gear even though it already started in August.  Finding even one item of art and knowing the person who made it increases the value in every way.  We artists hang our hopes on this perception, that our admirers will appreciate the intricate details wrought from our own hands and take it home or share with a loved one.  And that, if you ask me is practically like a roadmap to a successful Thanksgiving, without the gelatin salad or tofurkey leftovers.

If you’re already planning your holiday calendar and a “new” recipe for medicinally infused eggnog to ward off the effects of visiting relatives, stop for a minute.  Remember, one item made by hand with thoughtful care means much more than any famous designer could produce by ‘little hands’ in China. I should know this because of course all old people are wise, so you should take my advice and support your local artist before I really do come to your home with a clipboard asking personal questions.

Here are some of my favorite things to do this month. Enjoy!

Nov. 4: The Atlanta Contemporary Jewelry Show at the Defoor Center. Featuring 25 award winning jewelry artists. 11710 Defoor Ave. AtlantaContemporaryJewelryShow.com

Nov. 5: ArtCAN 2011 is an evening of inspiration and art from 25 artists who are cancer survivors or have had their lives affected by cancer. At the Bill Lowe Gallery, 1555 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 100. lowegallery.com

Nov. 5-6: TheeChastain Park Arts Festival is back for a third year and it just keeps getting better. Grab your coat and head to the park to see over 175 artists, demonstrations, delicious local foods, music and more. Free to attend. Park Drive at Stella Drive, 4469 Stella Drive. chastainparkartsfestival.com

Nov. 7: Bohemian Circus at the Apache Cafe. This interactive evening of art by emerging artists is engaging. 64 Third St. NW. apachecafe.com

Nov. 12-13: Slotin Folk Art Auction – The George and Sue Viener Collection. At Historic Buford Hall, 112 E. Shadburn Ave., Buford, GA 30518. auction@slotinfolkart.com for information.

Nov. 19: Art Visions at The Paideia School.  This is their 29th anniversary art market and fundraiser for art programs.  Art and merchandise from 100 local artists with an emphasis on eco-friendly design. 1509 Ponce de Leon Ave. paideiaschool.org

Patrick Dennis is an artist, gallery owner and President of the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces. He lives in Atlanta. Email him at Patrick@affps.com.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

2 replies on “The Thinking Artist: One Last Chance”

  1. Good afternoon! I’m contacting you on behalf of the 8th Annual Barefoot in the Park festival, being held on May 4-6, 2012. We are looking to partner with established art programs and establishments, both for awareness and cross-promotion. The Barefoot in the Park festival was created to share the arts with the public through exhibitions of local artists. We also offer scholarships to high school students looking to enter into an arts-related field.

    Please feel free to call me to discuss this further! 678-466-7024

  2. Good afternoon! I’m contacting you on behalf of the 8th Annual Barefoot in the Park festival, being held on May 4-6, 2012. We are looking to partner with established art programs and establishments, both for awareness and cross-promotion. The Barefoot in the Park festival was created to share the arts with the public through exhibitions of local artists. We also offer scholarships to high school students looking to enter into an arts-related field.

    Please feel free to call me to discuss this further! 678-466-7024

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