With the rise of new local events, Art to Cart 2023’s first run as a dedicated event to spotlight Filipino artists brings about major potential in giving a platform to support local creatives. Held as a two-day event on Oct. 14 to 15 at Centris Elements, Quezon City, artists, art enthusiasts, and attendees alike gathered to see what they could “check out” at this new event.
Art to Cart is a celebration of each local artist’s artistic expression and accomplishments in turning their crafts into self-made businesses. It aims to give a platform to both new and established artists to showcase their products and works to a wider audience. Furthermore, the event hopes to bring together a dynamic and tight-knit community of artists, creators, and entrepreneurs within the creative industry.
With over 350 Filipino artists exhibiting at the event, Art to Cart is a hotspot for all things artistic and creative. Besides prints and stickers, artists of various backgrounds also sold button pins, charms, keychains, jewelry, clay sculptures, apparel, and more.
Alongside the usual stage program and games, the event also had freebies from sponsors, raffles, and even a stub redemption system to encourage attendees to support the artists. With the aim of creating an event where “art meets its market,” the organizers seemed to have focused on elevating the local arts and crafts scene in this event.
When canvases and commerce meet
As Art to Cart opened its doors to the public on Oct. 14, exhibitors were ecstatic and hopeful for several attendees to roam around and support their artists. Some of the aisles across the venue filled up with people browsing each booth– usually a good sign that an event has pulled in its target market.
In a series of brief interviews with The Benildean, some artists shared their experiences regarding the event. Kim Franco, a small business owner and freelance graphic artist took notice that, “The banana mascot [of the event] was iconic and has a strong recall which the organizers can use to market their future art markets.”
At the same time, there was a program that had games and giveaways for both the exhibitors and attendees to keep the event vibrant. But there were some dead airs between segments. For a student artist named Castle, they aired out that “A better program or more consistent announcements would've been great to keep things lively while also reminding attendees of the stub system, stamp rallies, and different artist promos.”
Lining up for fun experiences
Heading over to the second day of Art to Cart, however, the foot traffic seemed to slightly improve. There were more attendees flocking to the venue and the organizers added table markers for each exhibitor’s table so attendees could find the artists they were looking for more easily.
By the early evening, Art to Cart wrapped up its first event, with artists exchanging stickers, original character trading cards, business cards, and having formed new connections within the local art community. While the event had some hiccups during its start, the organizers immediately took action and listened to feedback.
Systems to put back on the shelf
Overall, as a first of their many events, Art to Cart still has some successes and improvements to be made. According to freelance artist and photographer, Riesolai, she mentioned that “I broke even, but just enough to cover the fees and my expenses for the event. I think the main reason is the lack of traffic/marketing talaga. There's only a few people who knew about the event.”
A student who goes by the artist name of Desaevia also yearned for Art to Cart’s next events to have more “Space, a better location, extended hours, and seats for food.” As there were over 350 artists during the event, tables were crammed, providing little space for artists behind their booths to move around and for attendees to freely roam.
On the other hand, the event had some wins. Castle added, “I really appreciated how communicative and personable the organizers were, especially compared to other big event organizers. Children’s book illustrator, Marbin Macalino also expressed that “As a first-time exhibitor, I got the chance to meet with other co-exhibitors. Got to know more about the community a little more.”
When asked if they would table again for Art to Cart, artist, writer, and streamer Mel with a C stated, “Yes! I’m happy to see more artist-centric events popping up recently, and I’d like to see them flourish.”
Meanwhile, illustrator Salamangcat also aimed to return for Art to Cart’s next events saying, “Yes, it's rare to actually experience an organizer who considers the well-being of an exhibitor in the artist alley community. It means they're not just here for the cash-grab, but they're here to actually provide a decent platform to the art community in the Philippines.”
As more arts and crafts markets pop up across the country, it’s certainly a testament to how rich the local creative industry is. Art to Cart 2023 is just one of the many events new to the Filipino art scene and it has the potential to become a major platform for Filipino artists and merchandise makers to bring their artworks and crafts to different people.