Pop-up art market comes to Urbana
Art installed on the walls, shelves, makeshift walls, clothes hangers and boards. One foot from the door, nearly every exhibit was visible. A barrage of color.
“Groove is in the Art,” a pop-up art market, came to Parasol Records in Urbana this weekend.
The show featured Hospice Hearts, an animal rescue in Central Illinois.
Bringing artists from Southern Illinois, Missouri and Urbana-Champaign, the art market connected artists with customers, said Jill Miller, an artist who organized the event.
Volunteers from Hospice Hearts also attended the event, introducing people to cats and raising awareness for the organization.
“I have been doing art shows for over 30 years now,” said Miller, who goes by her brand name, Hooey Batiks. “Maybe 10 years ago, I started organizing my own shows because I have a history.
“I’ve become friends with so many artists that I knew them all.”
Facebook made advertising for the event easier, Miller said. With social media, she could invite artists and customers for free.
“[Organizing] is basically: find your space, figure out who all can come and, of course, you want different mediums and fun people,” Miller said.
Before the COVID-19 lockdown, Miller said, she hosted events at her house for 17 years. However, home shows required her to clear out all of her furniture and invite strangers into her house.
“COVID just shut me down,” Miller said. “Now, I’d have to clean, and I don’t want to clean the house.”
Miller said during the COVID-19 lockdown, she started doing small shows in her backyard.
“There weren’t any art shows going on, and so we made our own art shows,” Miller said.
According to Miller, these events prioritized showing artists whose only source of income was art, whom she referred to as artists who were desperate as opposed to a little desperate.
“We’re artists, and we don’t necessarily have ‘job’ jobs,” Miller said. “Our job is to sell art to people. [Backyard events] got us through when art shows weren’t happening.”
Lydia Puddicombe, an artist from Urbana, said she created art during the COVID-19 lockdown and exhibited it for the first time on Saturday.
The art followed the exquisite corpse theme, she said, where artists sent each other unfinished art pieces to complete.
“We were given bits of a whole, and it was just a really fun way to send physical work around during the pandemic,” Puddicombe said.
Artists leaned on each other during the COVID-19 lockdown, she said
“When people come to these types of events, you see the community that we’re surrounded with, but, from the day to day, things were very alone,” Puddicombe said. “[Artists] were very isolated workers.”
Zoom calls kept artists going and kept their brains engaged during the COVID-19 lockdown, she said. As artists kept leaning on one another, they also took each others’ art and made it their own.
Kayla Johnson, director of Hospice Hearts, led a promotional event at “Groove is in the Art” that connected customers with cats.
“There’s something special about seeing a cat in person,” Johnson said. ”People come here, and they’re like, ‘Oh, we’re here for the art show, but, oh my god, kitties.’”
The visibility created by these events is important for bringing in new volunteers, Johnson said.
People who cannot foster but still want to help Hospice Hearts approach her at these events, Johnson said. Volunteers have made catnip toys and blankets, sold plants to raise money and helped transport materials to events.
“A lot of rescue or shelter people will say like any little bit helps, and that is always true,” Johnson said.