In partnership with Simon Pearce Glassworks, the Garrett County Arts Council (GCAC) has “rolled with the COVID-19 punches” to create a new version of its popular “SEYMOUR, An Art Experience” marketplace, which has been held for the past two years as part of Garrett County’s annual Autumn Glory Festival. This year’s event will be an all-online virtual experience.
“We are so excited to offer a dynamic, immersive, virtual marketplace that will be marketed throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia, and the District of Columbia,” said Kathy Beachler, GCAC executive director. “Our online art experience will be held in conjunction with the Autumn Glory Festival on Thursday, Oct. 7, through Sunday, Oct. 10, online at www.seymourart.org. Guests will be able to continue visiting and shopping on the site through Oct. 21.”
For the first two successful SEYMOUR experiences in 2018 and 2019, the GCAC engaged in a unique collaboration with Simon Pearce, and held the high-quality art market in a section of the glass-making company’s facility in Mountain Lake Park. Because of the pandemic situation this year, the entire enterprise will move online, although not without the continued partnership between the company and the arts council. Together they will present SEYMOUR, an Online Art Experience. Visitors to the website will be able to use a multi-layered search function and interactive elements (video and live streaming) to take part in the virtual event. They will be able to view artists’ work, as well as take part in such online events as Meet the Artist Q&As and creative demonstrations.
Beachler and the SEYMOUR Planning Committee have been working on the transformation from in-person to online for several months, with the driving goal of preserving the popular event and continuing the GCAC’s tradition of supporting and promoting local artists.
“We are investing time, energy, and funding so our artists can still exhibit and sell their work during the annual festival,” Beachler said. “We felt strongly that this was an important tradition to uphold despite the pandemic.”
In addition to online shopping features, SEYMOUR will offer a wide range of entertainment experiences ranging from interactive Q&A sessions, promotion of local writers and poets through readings, local musicians through online concerts, and more.
All artists’ work has been judged by a multi-member jury in order to bring the finest art to this endeavor. Artists chosen to participate are being assisted via online tutorials as to how to write their own biographies, how to photograph their products, and website building. Beachler noted that these forms of assistance are in keeping with the mission of the Garrett County Arts Council to help support and sustain artists of all disciplines.
Patrons will be able to view a wide array of each artist’s work online and choose items to purchase. Customers may order items to be shipped to them by the individual artists, or they may utilize the curbside pickup option at The Gallery Shop (108 S. Second Street, Oakland, Md.).
“We so appreciate our continued collaboration with Simon Pearce, a company that produces its own exquisite hand-made art, in this year’s SEYMOUR Art Experience,” Beachler said. “Together we are happy to not only keep SEYMOUR alive, but to create a needed outlet in this trying time that will support both our artists and our art-lovers.” Everyone is invited to come to www.seymourart.org and enjoy the SEYMOUR, An Online Art Experience!
By Mary McEwen of The Garrett County Arts Council