I've been promising you an Art Crawl refresh for 2018 -- and now I'm ready to reveal some of the exciting, new details! This year's event is Saturday, July 21.
German Village Art Crawl was created by neighbors about a dozen years ago as "the night we turn garages into galleries."
About 40 garages along Macon Alley from Frankfort to Whittier streets collaborate to welcome in artists and invite the neighborhood to patronize and shop for art. The event soon added music and food.
In the past three years, the annual event has gained a lot of attention and popularity.
About eight years ago, the neighbors invited in German Village Business Community to add some structure and stability to the event.
The business organization, a committee of the German Village Society which functions as a mini-Chamber of Commerce for local businesses, has added professional coordination to an otherwise all-volunteer event. It has added marketing, and ticket sales have soared from a few hundred in the early years to over 1,100 last year.
The stable team of volunteers manning the event together for the past seven years have brought us to this point -- their success breeding more success. They are Greg Gamier, Jeff Lowe, Bonnie Mitchell, Wayne Owens and Jeff Tobin.
The original idea of Art Crawl remains -- to celebrate the love and history of arts patronage in German Village, and to bring together community to celebrate all neighbors have accomplished together in restoring, preserving and continuing to serve as caretakers of our legacy.
In 2018, in order to put further emphasis on the "Art" in Art Crawl, and in order to better accommodate the crowd, we are reimagining the event.
We intend to add spaces for visual artists and craftspeople to share and sell their work. We intend to add aspects of performance art. We intend to add more space for neighbors to shop, mingle and enjoy the performances.
We will dedicate space in 2018 to emerging artists, including students and disabled artists. We intend to introduce tiered pricing so that early-bird purchasers will pay half the price of what our tickets have cost in the past 10 years, allowing a broader swatch of Columbus access to the event. At the top end, we are offering a VIP ticket for the first time.
We will end the food and drink passport approach, instead selling tokens for on-site food trucks and drink vendors for those who wish to be on the alley all night. We know others will book reservations to eat and drink with our Business Community member restaurants nearby.
Expect more "experience" in the evening, too, including a #hashtag photo area, a collectible drink cup and -- because we are now an official GreenSpot neighborhood -- a water refill station.
In planning for changes to the 2018 Art Crawl, we polled three different groups of stakeholders in the event. We polled neighbors, who said the two key reasons they attend Art Crawl is for the art and for the community aspects.
We polled Business Community businesses, who said they are primarily interested in the ability of Art Crawl to raise money -- much of which is poured back into our annual Village Lights event in December.
The third polling was of artists who have successfully juried into our Art Crawl event more than once. We wanted to understand how our experience, our fees and our ability to drive sales of their works compare against other art festivals in which they participate.
The overwhelming data received back is that our fees are exceptionally low, we are among only a handful of festivals that do not collect a commission on the sale of art, and that our ticketholders purchase in excess of $7,500 from some of the artists over just the four hours of the Art Crawl event.
More to come in the months between now and July 21.
German Village Society Executive Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column.