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Art in the Square connects artists to the public

Fort Collins is home to artists of all kinds, and on Aug. 3-4, they were given a chance to get together and sell their work to the general public at the annual Art in the Square showcase event.

Many of these artists typically sell their pieces online but took the opportunity to get out into public and directly interact with potential customers. The wares for sale ranged from paintings and photography to handcrafted jewelry and knives. 

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“I mostly sell online,” said Andrew Madison, a painter and Fort Collins resident. “Selling online, it’s hard to find the right buyers. … Marketing’s not my strong suit. It’s much easier meeting people this way, in person.”

Madison’s oil paintings elicit the beauty of Colorado, portraying mountainous vistas with colorful skies above. However, selling his paintings online, he’s often unable to interact with potential customers, which creates a lack of something that he feels is important to his artistic process.

“I’m more interested in the feedback at this point, as opposed to just the selling part,” Madison said. “Sales are great, but the feedback is almost more important for me.”

The world of online promotion can be difficult, so when artists are given the opportunity to meet customers and talk about their craft, it can give them an array of interested buyers. 

“I have an Etsy store; I have my own website,” said Cindy Mitchell, a Colorado native and retiree who handcrafts jewelry with her company Lone Gray Wolf Design. “I won’t lie to you, online is tough. The internet is a big place. That’s a big reason I do these shows.”

(Painting) is the best way I have to express my relationship with nature and share it with people.”– Andrew Madison, painter and Fort Collins resident.

Mitchell’s jewelry is made of colored and polished stones embedded into metal in all forms: rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. On her website, she says that her inspiration comes from the natural beauty of Colorado.

“I think people appreciate what I’m doing,” Mitchell said. “They don’t see many hand-made things now. There are so many import things and repeats of things that I think that they like that I do one-of-a-kind. They know that if they buy that piece from me, there’s not another one like it.”

Both Mitchell and Madison are making an effort to go to more events where they’re able to sell in person and hopefully broaden their reaches. For Madison, he’s only sold his art at one other market before, and Mitchell is trying to ramp up from doing one per month.

“I just want to be able to connect with people and let people know that I’m here and inspired by the area that I live in,” Madison said. “I’m a creative person, and I think (painting) is the best way I have to express my relationship with nature and share it with people.”

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The theme of connection connects the artists as well, and Mitchell sees it as leaving her mark on the world.

“This stuff is going to be around for a long time,” Mitchell said. “If I’m not here, it probably will be out there somewhere. And that makes me happy knowing somebody’s gonna be wearing a piece of my jewelry for a long time.”

Collegian reporter Graham Shapley can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com and on Twitter @shapleygraham. 

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