The Cherry Blossom Festival was moved online for the first time in its history, with 12 artists still participating.
“[The artists] have great information on there and this is a good opportunity for them to continue to get their name out and to show people what they create and sell some,” said Lisa Deavers, director of the Gallery on the Square.
The festival was inspired by the virtual Kentucky Crafted Market, where all the artist’s information is posted under the event in the description, Deavers said. Many of the artists participating are guild members and from Simpson County, however, all are from the area.
Mary Beth Brace, a guild member for a year and a half, said this was her first festival to ever do. Her dream was to be able to do people’s portraits in charcoal and pencil like a caricature.
“I’ve had that dream for years and the first time it is canceled,” Brace said.
She works with a variety of mediums like chalk, charcoal, watercolor, pencil, pen and ink. She said she likes to try it all. Brace said she has sold several of her artworks through the online Facebook page.
Sherry Hall, who has been a guild member for three years, said this is her third festival to participate in, but she is please with how it is turning out.
She has also been selling some of her jewelry through the virtual festival, but usually to people she already knows since the event was shared with the artist’s friends on Facebook.
“If we were having it on the square or even inside the gallery it would probably be people, not only people that I know, but people who have never met me before or people who are unfamiliar with the jewelry I make or the art that I produce,” Hall said.
The new take on the festival allowed her to expand her abilities by having to take pictures and write descriptions of her jewelry. The time she would have spent putting up her tent and talking to people about her work, went into setting everything up online.
Brace said she still has some improvements when it comes to promoting her work online, but looks at this festival as a learning experience.
Deavers said changing the festival into a virtual festival was a good learning experience for the gallery to help keep their artists engaged in the community.
“I think if it dictates that we need to do a virtual festival we can go back look at this get feedback, see what we need to tweak,” Deavers said.
The festival has actually given her some ideas to implement in the future, like having a virtual festival in conjunction with a physical festival to reach a larger audience.
“I really appreciate all the work that has already been put into the festival as well as the virtual Cherry Blossom Festival,” Hall said.