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The Cherry Creek Arts Festival helps emerging artists find a place

The Cherry Creek Arts Festival helps emerging artists find a place
The Cherry Creek Arts Festival helps emerging artists find a place

This year’s Cherry Creek Arts Festival will take place July 5-7. (Provided by Cherry Creek Arts Festival)

The art business is no different than most other businesses: you need a little money to make a little money.

This is true for all artists who show their work at the annual Cherry Creek Arts Festival. Exhibiting paintings, sculptures, jewelry, photographs, ceramics and more requires a significant investment in raw materials.

A painting by Annie Anderson, one of the winners of the Cherry Creek Arts Festival's Emerging Artists Program. She lives in Portland, Maine.
A painting by Annie Anderson, one of the winners of the Cherry Creek Arts Festival’s Emerging Artists Program. She lives in Portland, Maine.

Paint is not cheap, nor are cameras, clay, gemstones, sheet metal and other materials. In addition, individual artists often have to invest in infrastructure costs, such as renting a studio or setting up a kiln or wood-cutting workshop.

Then they have to invest in the fair itself. They have to rent a booth, transport their work to the venue, and put in three days of work greeting potential buyers. For artists just starting out and trying to figure out how best to make a profit, this can be a daunting task.

The Cherry Creek Arts Festival has long offered guidance to newcomers to the art fair world. For two decades, the Emerging Artists Program has provided mentorship to artists just starting their careers. The program offers professional advice as well as free booth rental for their first fair.

This year, to mark the program’s 20th anniversary, the festival is upping the ante. For the first time, it will offer direct financial support, awarding $5,000 grants to the five artists selected for the 2024 event.

“We do workshops with them on everything from pricing the work to marketing it to setting up a booth and all the things that go into it,” festival CEO Tara Brickell said in an interview last week. “And on top of that, they’re getting this unrestricted funding this year.”

The Emerging Artists Program is highly competitive. This year, 240 applications were received and the selection of the final five was left to the same jury that selects the fair’s overall participants.

This panel selects winners based on how helpful the program can be to them, but this year’s class is also a good example of the makeup of the fair’s larger group of artists, who come from a variety of places and work in a variety of media.

Emilia Ealom, for example, makes ceramics, while Giulio D’Amore works with wood. Adam Anglin is a graphic designer whose current works begin as digital prints before turning them into paintings.

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