I took on the organising of Art Bazaar by default really and it has been a big learning curve. I have a whole new respect for the previous Administrators of Art Bazaar and thank them profusely for taking it on. However, I also need to thank them for leaving a fantastic paper trail and list of jobs to do, as really I just needed to follow that and muddle through.

Luckily the committee that came together in 2010 also took on a lot of the tasks that makes Art Bazaar happen. There is a long list of jobs to do, and sometimes it is overwhelming so I am grateful for the Committee and it’s help. It amazes me that so many people can pull together to make it happen, and do it with a smile and without payment.
Art Bazaar started with an idea from Newcastle City Council and this is how the Hunter Arts Network was formed. The Art Bazaar has developed over the years and moved from Laman Street to Civic Park for obvious reasons. At first it seemed like a disaster, and with only a few days notice in 2009 it was very daunting for Lauren Boyd the Administrator for that year. However it does have a silver lining, as this has meant we could increase the number of stalls and diversity, plus introduce demonstrations by Artists. No matter what happens to Laman Street, I imagine we will stay in the park.

The organising starts with booking the Park and ensuring we have the Park for the day and no weddings are planned. We review the application process then put out the call for applications. This year we are trialling on-line applications and if successful will continue it for the future and any further Art Bazaars throughout the year.
The best part of organising the Art Bazaar is reviewing all the applications and viewing the creative genius of the Artists and setting about saying yes and no. Obviously it’s difficult saying no, but we do try to stick to a high standard, as we don’t want to be a ‘market’. The we are members of the HAN Committee who volunteer to review the applications with me, and in 2010 we certainly didn’t agree on everything and had to put a good case forward as to why to include or not include some applicants. The idea of Art Bazaar is to showcase superior crafts people and Artists at their best, and to possibly showcase Newcastle Art Galleries.

We have developed a loyal following and fan base with Novocastrians and so marketing the event is a key part of informing them of what is coming, and to ensure we keep our current audience and to grow the attendance figures. We have a marketing plan and budget and usually ask the HAN ‘army’ (members) to help by distributing posters and promo cards. We also have ads in all the local Hunter papers and produce media releases in the hope we get some articles and radio coverage. Last year we got both, so were very pleased with our efforts. This year we are considering TV and radio advertising. It is a big step, however I believe a well-produced ad will attract an even wider audience.
In the lead up to the day we have a lot of contact with NCC to ensure we have all the right safety equipment, insurance and plans for set up and take down. I feel like I receive and send gazillions of emails, so try to ensure all the information required is either on the website or in emails to all the participants. Council has been excellent support, and do provide a lot of assistance so we are lucky to have them! Livesites have been involved in the last few years, providing entertainment and a tent for our demonstrators.
azaars throughout the year.
Art Bazaar day is obviously very busy, and the week leading to it is unbelievable! There are too many little things that need to get done and never enough time. And no I won’t list them here, as it’s too long and quite boring. On the actual day we are very, very busy and usually frustrated by a few challenges. We definitely learnt some lessons from last year that hopefully we will put into action this year. Although I am absolutely sure, there will still be some drama on the day – just hopefully no meltdowns.

So I don’t know if this has given you a clearer idea on how we organise Art Bazaar, but if you want to help please don’t hesitate to contact us, as we always need helpers – particularly distributing the promotional material and on the day.

Leah Fawthrop – President, Hunter Arts Network