WOFFORD HEIGHTS, Calif. (KGET) — Many small business owners were forced to reinvent how they served the public under statewide COVID-19 restrictions. Freelance artists, although free from overhead cost, also had to make adjustments. As Governor Newsom teeters on issuing another stay at home order the Kern River Valley Art Association (KRVAA) is working to keep art in the eyes of potential buyers.
The KRVAA has held annual shows for the members in Kernville during the town’s busiest holidays. Chris Buffalo Folsum, President of the Kern River Valley Art Association reminisced over more profitable times for artists.
“The Art Association has traditionally done two things: they’ve had two different art festivals, one on memorial day and one on labor day,” said Folsum.
Folsum and his team have arranged and hosted virtual art shows the ‘Armchair Art Show’ for members since the quarantine and lockdowns kept artists and patrons apart.
“You have to look at things in a different light,” said Folsum. “This year you couldn’t have either one of but what I saw was the opportunity to have art shows online.”
Photographer and KRVAA member Susan Neves usually shows her photographs and sublimated serving trays at the yearly Kernville art festivals.
“We are getting exposure to people without actually being out there which is the way I usually do shows,” said Neves. “Until we can do the outside shows, I guess it’s a good way of being exposed to the community.”
The Armchair Art Show facilitates virtual meet and greets between buyers and artists looking to make a connection. Kelly Pankey, Second Vice President with KRVAA manages social media pages that help get the word out to the community about featured artists and their work.
“The goal of the virtual art shows are to promote a sense of community centered around the arts and to provide opportunities to show work while most venues aren’t accessible,” said Pankey.
The association is currently looking into facilitating a creative workspace for artists in Kern County.
“This valley is so beautiful it’s got so many resources for recreation to have it have another resource as an industrial art complex would be outstanding,” said Folsum.