This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by mother-daughter team Amy and Hannah Amdur of Amdur Productions. For over thirty years, Amdur Productions has organized and directed many of the Midwest’s most esteemed juried art festivals. Andersonville is proud to have Amdur as this year’s festival producer for Andersonville Arts Fest which end-caps Andersonville Arts Week + Fest on September 21 and 22 from 10AM-6PM on Clark from Winona to Argyle.
“The opportunity for the public to come in and meet the artists and see artwork, is more important now than ever. Freedom of expression is guaranteed in our constitution, but it isn’t a right we should always assume is there.” – Amy Amdur
Here are some references from Episode 78 that you may want to check out:
- Amy developed a passion for art starting early, at the age of five. Amy watched painters at a nearby art school when running errands with her mom and started painting that very summer. It was a skill she carried through her entire childhood and into school at Northwestern University and the School of the Art Institute. Amy’s first fest was downtown Highland Park 36 years ago, with only 40 artists.
- Amy’s daughter Hannah just graduated last year from the University of Iowa and started working for her mother and Amdur as the Marketing and Events Manager. Her first festival was the Port Clinton Art Festival at 2 weeks old!
- Hannah is working to streamline Amdur’s social media, but also taking the time to learn from her mother and take in all aspects of festival production. She also mentions Art Zipper, Amdur’s online e-commerce site that also features juried artists often found at their fests.
- Over time, Amy has seen the presentation of art displays evolve along with the evolution of the art itself. The field of photography has changed the most dramatically over the years due to the introduction of Photoshop and different kinds of printing mediums like aluminum. Hannah recalls the jury process taking place for Amdur when she was young, using a projector and slides in a rented conference room to bring everyone together.
- Amy mentions two particular artists that will appear during Andersonville Arts Fest: Derek Christensen and Annette Fiscelli who both focus on upcycled art using recycled materials like license plates and old bicycle parts.
- Amdur currently produces about 30 events a year. They’ve recently expanded into Wisconsin and Indiana markets as well. Check out all of their festivals here.
- Amy’s biggest advice when shopping for art is to take a photo of the blank space in your home that you’d like to hang art, maybe even take a few measurements. Then, go to a festival and walk around and take note of the pieces you like and the booth numbers. Take in the entire fest, go sit down and listen to music and have something to eat, and then revisit the art pieces you are still thinking about and speak more with the artists. Some buyers purchase thematically (all black and white photos, all glass, etc.) and others select just one larger piece that over time, will grow into a very unique collection.
- Amy also encourages buyers to consider setting up a commission with an artist you really enjoy to design a one-of-a-kind, custom piece. Hannah even commissioned a piece for Amy’s birthday a while back.
- Amy also mentions the Arts Fest bucks that are available on Amdur’s website. These gift cards are accepted by the artists at all Amdur fests, and it’s a great way to give a personal experience along with the gift of art. You can even enter to win Arts Bucks right now for Andersonville Arts Fest on Do312!
- Amy sees buyers these days in general caring more about the environment and making a real connection with the artist.
- Amdur also runs and Arts Fest boot camp. Amy started this series as part of her mentorship to other artists. These are free events a few times a year, where artists come together to ask questions about art display, pricing art and how to sell your work when speaking with customers.
- Hannah speaks of a photographer, Mark Hersch, who started in his photography career a bit later in life. He came to one of Amdur’s bootcamps to learn where to start, and now many festivals and a book later, he dedicated his book to Amy! Mark’s work will also be on display locally at Transistor (5224 N Clark) after Andersonville Arts Fest.
- Andersonville Arts Fest September 21-22 will feature more than 100 juried artists including a few selected by Andersonville local businesses. In addition to the art, the fest will feature a Youth Art Area, live music, a performance by Gus Giordano Dance School, food, and beer from Urban Renewal Brewery.
- If able to switch places with an Andersonville business for a day, Amy would choose to switch with FOURSIDED (5060 N Clark) because of the visual nature and curation aspect of the shop. Hannah would choose to switch places with us, the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, in order to also interview business owners and learn their stories.
- Hannah asks her mother what her favorite part of the job is: Amy loves the envisioning aspect of a new fest. Amy sees the fest as a vision of a fully active fest, not just a map in the beginning, and she loves the load-in process when everything comes to fruition.
Thank you to Amy and Hannah for joining us today and thank you for listening to Always Andersonville: The Podcast. For more information about Andersonville Arts Fest and Amdur Productions, please visit please www.andersonville.org/aaw and www.amdurproductions.com. Show notes on today’s episode can be found at andersonville.org.