To hold an in-person event or not? Karla Little, producer of the Fine Furnishings Show in Providence R.I., grappled with the decision for months,
“I was on a rollercoaster ride of should I cancel because that would be smart but also easy or do we forge on like Lewis and Clark, paving the way for shows to happen again. I kept coming back to the thought that if retail stores can be open, then our store can be open. I also felt I should do whatever was safe and smart to make the show happen for the artists and craftsmen who had not done a show since January or February and had nothing on the calendar through the end of the year,” says Little.
The show, held Nov. 6-8 at the city’s WaterFire Arts Center, had a mandatory mask rule, extra space between booths, and an occupancy limit. The exhibitor count was down about 40 percent, mostly because school policies didn’t allow students from the Rhode Island School of Design and North Bennet Street School to attend.
“I even had a few exhibitors who set up their booth and left out their marketing materials and a sign with their phone number to call. I also had some exhibitors keeping an eye on a colleague’s booth who did not feel comfortable being at the show and those others handled the sale of their work for them. However, I do believe we presented a beautiful, well rounded show with exhibitors happy to be at a show with an opportunity to sell their work,” says Little. “It was the most challenging show I have done since the crash of ’08 and ’09 and hope not to have to do it under this year’s circumstances again.”
The next Providence show is scheduled for Nov. 5-7, 2021.
For more, visit www.finefurnishingsshows.com.
This article was originally published in the January 2021 issue.