If, like so many others, you’ve picked up an art hobby while stuck indoors at the height of the pandemic, or if you’re a seasoned veteran with a lens, brush, or knitting needle, this could be the perfect opportunity to share it – and maybe even sell – your work with the community.
On August 14, Somerville is holding its first Yart Sale, a city-wide event that welcomes artists of all sizes to sit on their porches or in their courtyards and driveways and sell their artwork to passers-by.
The event is a mix between the city’s annual pop-up music gathering, PorchFest, and Open Studios, where artists open their workspaces, that the participants can hop from one quarter to the next all day to see what is displayed.
Officials see the “yart sale” as the ideal way for creatives to showcase their talent without having to advertise and host a private art exhibition and hope that people will show up.
“We hope it looks like a city-wide art exhibition, but also gives artists the opportunity to sell their work, especially after what we’ve just been through,” said Iaritza Menjivar over the past year and a half. Somerville Arts Council event coordinator hosting the event. “It gives people a platform to get a commission from their work.”
The event will take place from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Live performances are not allowed (“let’s save this enthusiasm for PorchFest,” officials said in a statement) and food cannot be sold.
“We didn’t want this event to interfere with PorchFest, and we didn’t want live music to interfere with the art on display,” Menjivar said.
But when it comes to “art”, the possibilities are usually limitless. “Yart Sale” is not just something for artists. The organizers encourage anyone who has tapped their inner artist to sell their creations or collections this month.
Or just show them.
“Many artists didn’t have a space to exhibit their work or sell their work because museums and galleries were closed for so long,” said Menjivar, a photographer. “This felt like a way to exhibit your work and sell your work from the comfort of your home.”
Media can be paintings, photography, ceramics, handmade items like jewelry, ceramics, quilts or knitwear, as well as collectibles like coins, postcards, baseball cards, instruments and magnets, organizers said.
Band merchandise such as t-shirts or albums as well as art tools, accessories and art books are also welcome. Even plants made the list of items that can be sold.
“That was by chance,” said Menjivar with a laugh. “We were in a staff meeting and thought about what is acceptable and what is not.
Somerville isn’t the first city to turn its neighborhoods into an outdoor art gallery. Yart sales took place in places like Illinois and Pennsylvania.
So far around 50 artists have registered and Officials will be posting flyers around town this week to attract more interest.
“We will do a social media push and post it in various Facebook groups and share it via newsletters,” said Menjivar. “It’s a new event for us, but more importantly, it’s a new event for the public, and I think a lot of people are getting used to this new idea.”
Registration closes on August 9th. Those interested in selling and sharing their artwork can visit the Art Council’s website and fill out a Google form indicating their location and sales plans.
For those who haven’t enough to display their wares, the city encourages attendees to work together and share spaces.
Menjivar said an interactive map will be put online later this month. The map, which is similar to those at PorchFest and other city-wide events, allows people to plan which houses to visit, just like on a self-guided tour.
“It makes it more accessible to the public,” said Menjivar, “but it also helps the artists promote their work.”