Monday, August 31, 2015

Seattle Arab Festival 2015 (wrapup)

This past weekend I took part in the Arab Festival at the Seattle Center. I co-Lead the lecture series, was a major donor, participated as an artist in the art show and (wo)maned A Crafty Arab craft book.

It was very rewarding to fill the series with lecture topics about figs, hamas, and very well attended fashion show.  Unfortunately, since I was at my booth both days, I was not able to attend a single one.

I think the Festival staff, especially the Director, Laila Taji, did a marvelous job of thanking me as a major donor. I was compensated my booth, had my logo on the poster, was added to the postcards, given special t-shirts and received recognition on stage both days. I really felt that my dollars to the Festival were wisely used as the Arab Festival itself was very well run and efficiently organized. 

I displayed four art pieces in the upstairs gallery and they were well received. Three of the pieces had been seen previously. Camel Crossing was at the Bellevue Art Museum and Camel Border were at the 2014 Onyx Fine Arts Fine Arts Exhibit , while Kalamat Ball was at the International Refugee Committee. I created Standing Kalamat specifically for this show.
Standing Kalamat
The weather however, did not cooperate, and attendance was extremely low. 

Seattle had a brutal storm come in. The booths that would have gone on the Fisher Pavilion rooftop were forced to move to a new indoor location. This put them further away from the other booths in the Armory on the Seattle Center grounds.  Since the decision had to be made a few days out, there was no signage or extra volunteers available to direct attendees to the new location.

Needless to say, booth sales were the lowest I've seen in years, so low that when I did my cost analysis, I discovered I had made $3.25 an hour. Sigh. 

I've set up a meeting with a business adviser to discuss if booths might not be a good fit for this business. I'll keep you updated!

There were plenty of high notes to the events, including my favorite: seeing friends. Shukran to everyone that came to say hello. Your smiling faces and hugs of encouragement really made the event lovely.

Here are some highlights from the Fisher Pavilion rooftop stage that was relocated inside the Seattle Pavilion that was close to my booth.
MasterChef 6 Contestant Amanda Saab did a cooking demo. Both days!
The Gaza Mama Laila El-Haddad made some treats from her cookbook.
 Poems and conversation with Palestinian American poets Laurel Albina and Lena Khalaf Tuffaha.
The Iraqi Women Association Dancers packed the house!

Naseem Band created many rounds of impromptu dabke dancing.

Main headliner Shada Mansour gave a hip hop performance.
 My oldest daughter got a dragon henna tattoo from Henna Dervish.
I really loved the attention to detail, including these little Fun Facts boards that were scattered about the Festival for kids to find.
These are 2 inch buttons I created, along with the top part of my ad in the sponsor page in the Festival guide.
One of the (few) items I sold was this Mohammed name sign. I loved that it went to a grown man named Mohammed.
The Arab Festival photographer was able to snap this photo of me in the A Crafty Arab booth.
Be sure to save the date for Seattle Arab Festival 2016, July 23 and 24th, 2016!

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