Behind the Scenes

Having you been thinking of having a show in the backyard?   Or even filling a store window with art?   Take a tip from 49º North Artists:  setting up is more tricky and time-consuming than it looks on TV!

Luckily, improvisation and a shoe-string budget will teach you a lot of new skills you had no intention of ever learning.

With six windows now displaying art from Okanogan County artists – and five more to come – our installation crew (woefully under-staffed, but optimistically dedicated) has learned by trial and error about hanging framed art, balancing window layout, repurposing cast-offs to create visual accents, and the fine art of struggling with fishing line. 

As we have floundered our way to installing display after display, we also found problem-solving to be surprisingly creative and richly rewarding. 

But you already knew that, right?

Remarkably enough, we have gotten rave reviews from professional artists for our creative windows! 

For example, hanging Justin Haug’s photographs from chains (and with our secret hangers of fish-hooks) caused the artwork to slightly twist so sidewalk viewers must move around the display to see everything, rather than a quick glance before walking away.  We had no idea.  

Walt & Vicki Hart of Vicki’s Boutique have generously loaned us many items to serve as backdrops and window “props”; we can thank them for the antique doors in the Old Laundromat and for the blue satin dress on “Patsy”, our mannequin,  drawing attention to Jim Weaver’s watercolor prints at the Dental Clinic block.   Coming up, a “Road Trip” theme for our historic maps’ window will feature a yard sale’s worth of toy vehicles, to highlight Okanogan County’s first road map (in advance of the road, actually).

We have even learned how to build back-drops (to hide the empty building behind) with PVC pipe.  Ordinary field fencing might do nicely to back up metal artworks.  With some heavier artworks still to set up, we may have to get into more serious carpentry!   Don’t think the Metropolitan Museum of Art has done it this-a-way–but they probably don’t have as much fun.

If there be anyone out there along the 49º North Parallel dreaming of creating window displays—even looking for some imaginative fun with cast-offs–they are more than welcome to join The Crew (see above lament).  No experience necessary, but some hand-to-eye coordination probably a plus.  Just contact us on Facebook and we will definitely get back to you.  Make that “eagerly”.   Even “desperately”?