Local artists eager to return to in-person festivals this fall

Screen Shot 2021-05-11 at 5.26.37 PM.png
Posted at 6:08 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 19:08:10-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Three of Kansas City's biggest art festivals are returning this fall after being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Art Westport, the Plaza Art Fair, and the Brookside Art Annual are all scheduled during the month of September.

The in-person events will help many local artists get back on their feet after a year of challenges and shifting business models.

Local painter Rick Wright is looking forward to showing his work at festivals again. Like so many other forms of art, Wright said his paintings are meant to be experienced in-person.

"I'd rather see someone have a visceral reaction to something and walk away and then come back and look at it thirty minutes later after they've had a chance to walk around and look at other things," Wright said.

For many artists, festivals are their largest revenue stream. While many have shifted to online sales during the pandemic, local photographer Chris Dahlquist said it just isn't the same.

"I've spent my career making photographs that are intended to be experienced in person, not just on the screen, it's kind of the hallmark of my work," Dahlquist said.

Dahlquist hopes people recognize the small artist is a small business and can only thrive with community support.

"We're having the same struggles as other businesses are, you know even when the festivals return it will be not unlike restaurants where we won't be at the capacity that we once were," Dahlquist said.

With smaller crowds expected and fewer eyes on their work, artists hope Kansas City will invest in Kansas City.

"Purchase original art from local artists, something that speaks to you, and we can all chip in and help out our community," Wright said.