Author: Raini Armstrong
Date: January 31, 2020

Several Chaparral Artists visited the Southwest Arts Festival in Indio on January 25. As always, we hoped to see more members in attendance, but those that did travel together on Saturday found something to come home with to the Morongo Basin!

This festival has been going strong for 34 years featuring art forms of all shapes and sizes, including traditional, contemporary, and abstract fine art and high-caliber craft. Approximately 250 artists from around the world display and sell their work over the 4-day festival.

From inspiration to home decor items, there was a lot to see at the Southwest Arts Festival. I, for one, enjoy the layout of the grounds. This particular festival is easy to navigate; there is ample room between booth groupings in all directions. It is especially pleasing that each artist is provided a corner booth due to the layout, as booth groupings are in pods of four. Finally, the festival coordinators added more seating this year, which came in handy during the late afternoon when taking a break in the shade was especially appealing. I can think of a few pleasing additions, but I cannot complain about anything in particular.

I enjoyed the Southwest Arts Festival this year, but I admit that when I attend any festival, I am always comparing it to the ones I had the chance to visit during my youth. My parents made their living creating art - jewelry painted using oils, acrylics, and crushed metals. They sold their artwork at Arts and Crafts festivals across the United States. I got first-hand knowledge of the joys and the trials of making one's living in this not-so-typical job. My life was significantly enhanced by travel opportunities and exposure to the art world. Now, I am a member of a few art groups, and the focus is often on the gallery experience. I have to say that the difference between gallery expositions and art festivals is quite drastic. It has left me with sincere respect for the travelers that schlep their art from state to state. I can, because of my exposure to the art festival world in the 80s and 90s, venture to guess at the artist's experience of this Southwest Arts festival, but I cannot say with certainty that the show is a good money maker. Who can without having been able to work at the festival? A lot goes into making high-end arts and crafts festivals a success, for both the artist and the customer. I can say that I think this event is an ongoing success for the customer, so for our sake as visitors, I hope it will be around for many more years to come!

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