Jason Wiese | Reporter
From Print [April 19, 2016] | Lindenwood Legacy
Each semester, since spring 2014, students of Lindenwood’s art department are given the chance to put their work on display at the Grand Art Bazaar. The student-curated event, which is open to the public, is an avenue for student artists to get noticed in the local art community and to make a profit. It has traditionally been held in the Grand Old Opera House in historic St. Charles.
But, for the first time, on Friday from 6-11 p.m, the Bazaar will take place at the Foundry Art Centre.
“It’s a lot bigger. It’s a lot nicer. It’s much more professional,” said Esther Mizel, co-curator of this year’s Bazaar, of the new venue on North Main Street in St. Charles. “The way we’ve gone about doing it, we’re just trying to rebrand the Art Bazaar, in a way… It’s always been really great in the past, but we’re just trying to reinforce the fact that we are working professionals [and] trying to present ourselves and our art in the best way possible and the Foundry has definitely allowed us to do that much more.”
This is the first Art Bazaar that Mizel, who also serves as president of LU’s Art History Association, is involved in. After volunteering her fiancee, graphic design major Matthew Winchell, to participate in the event as well, the pair eventually became the heads of planning it. Winchell said that the Foundry Art Centre has been greatly beneficial to their vision of this semester’s event.
“We basically re-envisioned it from the ground up, almost,” he said. “I think we just wanted to make it more inviting. More artists, more things to do while you’re there, more food. Just make it a really fun environment that people want to come and hang out.”
With booking the long-desired Foundry Art Centre as this semester’s venue for the Bazaar, the curators have junior Zac Farmer to thank.
“It’s kind of funny when I look back at how easy it was to just give them a call,” said Farmer, who has been involved with the Bazaar since its inaugural exhibition in March 2014. “Each semester,… we joke about how we should always have it at the Foundry, but there’s no way they would ever let us in. ‘Like, it’s too prestigious, too cool for just a student-run show’… I think now that it’s officiated, people are like, ‘Wow, it’s not that hard.’ It’s actually really nice to have Lindenwood students at this place… It’s nice to have the community helping us out too.”
Farmer said that he found luck in discovering that the Foundry’s Events Manager, Melanie Sanders, had been wanting to involve Lindenwood’s art department in the facility in the past, considering the fact that many members of their staff are LU alumni. By February, the Foundry was on board. Many of the 20-plus artists to be featured in this semester’s Bazaar have voiced positive reactions to the new venue.
“I think it’s a good switch,” said senior Tommy Stachowiak, whose first participation in the Art Bazaar was in the Fall 2015 semester. “It gives us a lot more space. The last Art Bazaar I was apart of, there was not much room for all the artists that we had, but I think this year, it’s going to be a little more spacious and more fitting for the number of artists we’ve got.”
The Grand Art Bazaar will include a variety of artwork by current LU students and alumni on display and on sale. According to Mizel, each piece will be labeled with a price of the artist’s choosing. Potential buyers are encouraged to speak with the artists about their interests.
“Haggling is allowed,” Mizel said, giggling. “I mean, like, please pay the artists what they want, but it is allowed.”
The Foundry will receive 35 percent of commissions made. Farmer is one hoping to make a profit this semester with two flip-book compilations of photography and illustrations, some of which he drew inspiration for from a study-abroad trip to Italy last summer.
“I’ve always come into the Art Bazaar wanting to show my best artwork,” he said, “but I think the way that we’ve always ran the Art Bazaar is for people to sell their artwork. So, this semester I’ve collected a bunch of stuff that I think is sellable.”
Mizel and Winchell will exhibit pieces that present their strongest talents, which is mostly two-dimensional illustrations on Mizel’s part and Winchell, who also designed the promotional poster for this semester’s show, will include some poster prints and photos in his exhibit. However, the profit is not what is most important about the Grand Art Bazaar to them or to any of the artists participating this year.
“For me, I’m planning on eventually getting my PhD down the road and working in a museum in some kind of curatorial position, so this is obviously very good experience running this…,” said Mizel. “And, also, just because art is very important in both of our lives (her and Winchell). It’s a lot more important than people give it credit for, because it’s basically everywhere… So, I think it’s really important to make sure that people view art as something that’s culturally important because it is.”
Winchell added, “I think what [Mizel] said is so true about how, for both of us, art is so engrained in our actual lives everyday and I think, for me especially, further into my degree, it’s become deeper and deeper. So, just to be able to be involved in this event that’s just kind of community-focused around art is just so much fun for me.”
Stachowiak said that he appreciates the Bazaar in how it helps students make themselves known in a more old fashioned method than most artists do today.
“You can’t really rely on things like Facebook and Instagram because it’s just posting pictures,” he said, “but I think when people actually come and look at your work, it’s like, they see it in person and then they actually appreciate it more rather than just a little picture on their phone.”
With the new venue and refreshing initiative artists have put into the Grand Art Bazaar, Farmer is happy to see the even reach a new level of attention and “prestige” since he was first asked to be a part of it two years ago. He hopes to see it reach higher.
“I want to see it grow,” he said. “I want to see it expand and help more LU artists because, right now, it’s not that we don’t have a lot, but this is definitely one of the better options that we have here at LU. I mean, this is huge. Not only are artists showing their work, but they’re getting a chance to curate it too, which is very important.”