So yesterday was the opening of the BIG 200, and what a spectacle it was! I volunteered for a 4 hour shift, from 2pm (when the doors opened to the public) to 6pm. Part of me figured I’d have the easier of the shifts, since most art-shindigs really get rollin’ at nite, and I’d be done by then. The other part of me said, “Don’t bet on it”. After all, this wasn’t my first rodeo. Last year the place (then, @ the Goodfoot Lounge) was packed solid -with art and people. But this year the Big 200 occupied 3 large galleries in PDX’s downtown mall. Plus, i thought, there’s lots of stuff going on this weekend: crafty wonderland, milepost 5 was doing a weekend event, and with it being in a mall, it would be diluted down a bit. Still busy, but not chaos, or so i thought. Wrong, wrong, pleasantly wrong i was.
I got there early to help out, and it seemed like we weren’t gonna be ready, but as usual, it really came together in the last minutes. Then the wait –we had a guy on bagpipes who was gonna “pied-piper” people through the mall and bring em up to us on the 3rd floor. Not that it was needed. A half-hour before we opened there was already a good sized crowd. With the piper making his way up, we heard our cue and opened the door. Within 5 minutes i was helping my first customer. By the time i was done with my first transaction, there was a line of 5, and by my second, the line just about reached the door —and stayed this way until 5:30pm.
WOW. Teresa (my fellow retail clerk-volunteer) and I manned one sales desk, with her taking the majority of credit card sales and me doing cash and checks. There was another sales booth in one of the other gallery spaces, but i guess we were the only ones who could do cards —BIG PLUG for the SQUARE (squareup.com) which is all we used for credit card transactions. So freakin easy! (so now i gotta get a damn smartphone, I’m sold!)
They say time flies when you’re having fun, and lots of fun was had –what better way to look at 2500 pieces of art than to have people bring them to you to buy –and most (most) people understood the reason for the long wait in line (hey, i gave everyone a smile!) –still, it was work, and time was actually being very very slow! That 4 hours felt like 8, but no complaints here.
It was all the more rewarding afterward to go hang out with my friends/fellow artists Scott, Jonathon and Jade down at Virginia’s Cafe, downing some PBRs and having some laffs.
….and who knows, i might’ve sold something!
here’s some pics of various Big200 entries. Part of the Beauty of the Big 200 is that it allows artists of all skill levels to show their work.