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Art on the Prairie to hold virtual event Nov. 13-30

Allison Ullmann
Perry Chief
Terri Siglin, of Creston, looks at Marion Nehmer's booth in La Poste with Bonnie Fast, of Corning during Art on the Prairie in 2019. The 2020 edition is moving to a virtual event Nov. 13-30.

This year’s Art on the Prairie will still feature art and music though it will be in a different format. 

COVID-19 concerns forced the annual festival, which typically features around 100 artists, authors, poets and musicians, to move to a virtual format.

Lynsi Pasutti, one of the Art on the Prairie committee members, said there was a lot of discussion behind the scenes on what this year’s event would look like. The committee listened to the artists and decided it would be too difficult to hold an in-person event. 

“But we still really felt it was important to provide an opportunity for connecting artists and the patrons that come out to support and shop Art on the Prairie,” Pasutti said.

The committee started working on expanding the typical two-day festival into a longer virtual experience. This year’s virtual event will be held from Nov. 13-30 and will incorporate Small Business Saturday and Artists Sunday before ending on Cyber Monday.

Pasutti said the event will feature three main components, Artist Marketplace, CSA (Community Supported Art) Packages and Artist Spotlights.

Artist Marketplace

The artist marketplace allows artists to upload items directly to Eventeny.com. Pasutti said the platform is a fairly new one that is geared towards the arts. Over 20 artists have already signed up, she said, and started uploading items to the website. Additional artists and items will be added throughout the week and the month.

Kathy Bullock, of Perry, shops with her great-granddaughter, Lenyn Walton at Sue Espinosa's booth in the Perry Public Library in 2019. The 2020 Art on the Prairie event has moved to a virtual format.

Pasutti said the website is broken down into smaller shops and categories, from jewelry to ceramics to photography and more. Shoppers can add items to their shopping cart from multiple artists and just check out one time. 

“That’s one major component so we can still be supporting the arts, shopping handmade, shopping local arts which is what Art on the Prairie truly is,” Pasutti said of the artist marketplace.

The artist marketplace will be open starting at 12 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13.

Community Supported Art Packages

Another component includes the CSA packages, where participating artists send items to the committee at a set value and quantity and the committee puts together curated packages. 

“If someone wants to say ‘I’m not caring too much of what it is or where it’s coming from but I want to support the arts in the amount of $100, send me this beautiful package of handmade items that you’ve curated and packaged together,’” Pasutti said of the idea behind the CSA packages. 

A group of local artists put together a Mother’s Day package earlier this year. Pasutti said the package was so successful that they decided to look at a way to put together packages featuring Art on the Prairie artists from around the state.

The committee will be gathering items and putting the packages together this week and more details will be released.

Artist Spotlights

The last component includes artist spotlights. Pasutti said the committee is working on a few artist interviews and behind the scenes videos. They are also looking at highlighting musicians. 

Just Cause performs in 2019 at the Hotel Pattee. Musicians will featured in virtual spotlights during the 2020 edition of Art on the Prairie.

“We thought this would be an interesting way to incorporate musicians into this virtual event where maybe they’re having their own house concert and we’re inviting people to tune in and send their tips virtually instead of putting them in the guitar case in person,” Pasutti said.

The music performances will be streamed from the Art on the Prairie Facebook page.

The Show Must Go On(line)

The committee hopes the event will be back to an in-person one next year.

"No one knows what that’s going to look like so we’re calling this year 10 ½ so we can really get back on track with the annual festival next year but time will tell," Pasutti said.

Going virtual this year will help stretch the committee's muscles and Pasutti said they may end up adding a virtual component in addition to in-person events.

She added that the committee is grateful for all of the support it has received over the years and it is looking forward to continuing Art on the Prairie in a virtual format.

The marketplace will open on Nov. 13 and will be open through Nov. 30. Pasutti said they will also be selling Art on the Prairie merchandise as a way to raise funds for the event to go on in the future. 

“That’s kind of the theme this year, that the show must go on(line) and we’re hoping this can kind of help carry us forward and still continue to support the arts,” Pasutti said.

More details about this year's virtual event will be announced at http://www.artontheprairie.org/ and on the Art on the Prairie Facebook page.

Judy Hansen, right, of Ames, shares a laugh with artist Vikki Morain at the Carnegie Library Museum in 2019. The 2020 edition of Art on the Prairie will be held virtually from Nov. 13-30.