How Do You Bring About An Arts Holiday?

August 8, 2009 – Hollywood: Art appreciation means art of all disciplines is being experienced, bought and sold in increasing quantities. Artists and art are valued and defended by a community.

On the main street in Glendale, California, Lafayette Silva walked into a furniture store, said he was with the Glendale Art Day Committee, and asked if he could put up a letter-sized poster in the window. The store manager asked for two signs, back to back, on the glass door, so they could be seen both when the store was open and closed. The young man pulled a colorful poster out of his green bag and taped it up. Now, anyone entering the store will be met with the eye-catching red and yellow phrase “Celebrate Artists!” amid the dancing paintbrushes, stars and musical notes. Next the sign says, “We wish you and your family a HAPPY ART DAY! 2nd Friday in August.” Beneath that is a website for more information. A little logo sits in the bottom corner, comprised of an artist painting at an easel with musical notes floating by. It says, “Art Day, Holiday for the Arts” then “Glendale: Home of Art Day.” At the bottom it gives credit to the sponsors and the graphic artist.

Do you get what you promote? Becky Mate, an award-winning fiction writer who founded international Art Day in 1998, gives a resounding “Yes!” Art Day, a day to celebrate the arts and artists of all disciplines, was created to build and restore appreciation for those who shape our culture. It’s a holiday, like Valentine’s Day and Arbor Day, but instead of hugging your sweetheart or hugging a tree, you hug an artist. And buy their work. Or go to their performance.

The way to increase art appreciation is to bring positive attention to the arts. The international Art Day holiday serves that purpose. For an artist, every day is an art day, just as a mother is a mother every day, but it is nice to stop one day of the year and show your appreciation for your mom, and your artists.

Businesses remind us of holidays with their sales and decorations. The fact that Art Day falls on the second Friday in August not only removes it from conflicting dates of traditional U.S. holidays, but it opens the way for the Fourth of July as a “shopping day,” the way Thanksgiving sales preceed Christmas. As well, being on a Friday each year, it enables events and sales on Art Day Weekend.

Marina K. Rehrmann, a Glendale-based artist, took advantage of the fact that promoting Art Day promotes herself. She customized the “Celebrate Artists!” Art Day poster with some of her own art so she could put her poster in coffee shops, galleries and other places frequented by art collectors. In addition, she made “Happy Art Day!” greeting cards, with her images on the front and her contact information on the back. These greeting cards were handed out to City Council at a meeting where the Mayor proclaimed the second Friday in August as Art Day. The cards were also given to some of the store owners who agreed to tape the poster on their windows. Her cards will be on display at a local Art and Chocolate Art Day celebration.

Celebrating an annual holiday for the arts on the second Friday in August increases art appreciation. How will you bring Art Day to your community to make the arts thrive?

by Becky Mate