Mount Airy Downtown Inc. has issued a call for artists to submit their designs for upcoming downtown events, including the “Stay Saturday Night” campaign, held during Mayberry Cool Cars and Rods Cruise-Ins, with the deadline for submissions coming up on May 22.
This opportunity will give local artists a chance to submit poster art for various events throughout the year, with the chosen work printed and placed in window displays throughout the downtown district, online, and occasionally in other promotional materials such as newspapers and magazine ads.
The “Stay Saturday Night” campaign is a way to encourage downtown businesses to stay open until 8 p.m. during Mayberry Cool Cars and Rods Cruise-Ins, on the third Saturday of each month from June through October, from 4 to 8 p.m.. It’s also meant to encourage visitors and local residents to visit downtown businesses during the cruise-ins.
Artists like Toulouse-Lautrec created art that is now studied by art students, hung in homes across the world, and is considered to be highly valuable, but the art he created was once used for late-1800s posters advertising Paris attractions. Now, Toulouse-Lautrec’s posters for attractions like Moulin Rouge are part of pop culture, and he is known throughout the world. And even though designing posters for Downtown Mount Airy may not launch an artist into instant fame and fortune, it’s a great way to get their work out there, and get more public exposure, Main Street Coordinator Lizzie Morrison shared.
“As an artist myself, I have created logos for events like Fiddle Crawl and Art Walk and it’s really neat to use original art rather than clip art to promote events. It’s a great way to encourage creativity.” Morrison said.
The idea for using local artists work for advertising downtown events came to fruition when Morrison was talking to Dock Merrit, owner of Mount Airy Cyclery. Merrit’s wife, Alicia Merritt, is an artist who created the drawing for the new Mayberry Cool Cars and Rods Cruise-In poster, and Morrison said she realized it would be a great way to promote downtown, by allowing artists to submit designs for future posters and advertising materials; plus, it is a way Morrison said she could incorporate the vision statement for Mount Airy Downtown.
“One of my goals is to engage creative people with opportunities downtown, and I realized there was no need for me to spend time drawing the logos — instead, I could extend another opportunity for artists to get their work out there.”
Those who submit designs may choose to create an entire poster, which is fine, Morrison said, or to submit artwork that not only captures the event or campaign, but also incorporates the principles of the Mount Airy Downtown vision statement — “Historic Downtown Mount Airy resides at the doorstep of the Blue Ridge Mountains where our urban living is enhanced by arts, entertainment, local wine, and our Traditional Music roots. Fostering a diverse variety of small businesses flavored with authentic dining experiences, Mount Airy is a true southern town with all the charm of Mayberry.”
The designs should include the words “Stay Saturday Night” and should be oriented vertically and created in color, preferably with a downtown theme, Morrison described. The dates of “Stay Saturday Night” at the Mayberry Cool Cars and Rods Cruise-Ins are June 21, July 19, August 16, September 20, and October 18.
Submissions are due by May 22 at 5 p.m. and designs should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or taken to the Downtown Business Association office at 206 North Main Street, Suite 200. Morrison said to be sure to place artwork in a protective envelope/folder and slide it under the door if dropped off on weekends or during evening hours. Also, all photos of work submitted via email should be in high resolution. This opportunity is extended to artsits of any age, Morrison added.
The “Stay Saturday Night” campaign is a project Mount Airy Downtown and the Downtown Business Association are working together on, after receiving feedback about business hours from consumers and visitors.
“We hear so many people who say everything is closed in the evenings,” Morrison said. “This is our way to encourage businesses to stay open later. We know that businesses who have stayed open during the cruise-in and in general have a lot of success during those hours, so we are trying to push the envelope a little bit and encourage them to stay open later and think about hours they are offering.”
The next call for submissions will be designs for the Independence Day Parade and Celebration on July 4, Morrison said, with a June 4 deadline for submissions.
Morrison also created a Facebook page as an “online hub for artists” — the Surry County Visual Artists page at www.facebook.com/SCVisualArtists. The page is a way to spread art opportunities, collaborations, and a community for local visual artists, Morrison shared. Upcoming information about submissions and other artists opportunities, like Fiddle Crawl and Art Walk, will be posted on that page, as well as the Downtown Mount Airy Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DowntownMountAiry.
“I’m super-impressed with not only the amount of artists and creative people we have, creating so many different types of art, but also the quality of work is really impressive,” Morrison said, of local artists. “It is nice for an artist to have a more permanent presence, like with the Fiddle Crawl, and with the poster project, posters will stay up for a month or two at a time, and go in every downtown window.”
And like Toulouse-Lautrec’s infamous art, the art chosen for posters may live on, becoming works of art displayed in homes, and kept for future generations.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Morrison remarked. “The artwork chosen will ultimately be what best encompasses the vision of downtown.”
For more information about this and other Mount Airy Downtown events and happenings, visit www.mountairydowntown.org.
Reach Jessica Johnson at 719-1933 and on Twitter @MountAiryJess.