Monday, June 1, 2009

NAMTA Annual Trade Show

A few weeks ago a few members of our staff and I traveled to Louisville, KY for the annual NAMTA trade show. Over 150 booths were set up and manned by all the big name art material manufacturers and suppliers for art retailers like us to come see what’s new in art supplies. This is one business trip that requires good walking shoes and plenty of room in your suitcase to haul home lots of free samples. There ends up being way too much to see and do but I couldn’t ask for a better trip.

The NAMTA organization (International Art Materials Trade Association) not only works to unite the art material suppliers and retailers but they also serve to better anyone who works in the fine arts. The organization offers scholarships and grants, news about what’s happening in the art world and resources for everyone. These guys (and ladies) do an amazing job.

On top of a fantastic trade show, we also got to enjoy the city of Louisville -pronounced “Lou-ah-vull” (I was corrected every time). It rained everyday while we were there which we enjoyed quite bit because we just don’t get a lot of rain in Colorado. The city was so friendly and there was no shortage of fun things to try to fit in to our busy schedule. On the first night of the show, we had the president’s reception dinner at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchhill Downs. It was a lot of fun; we sipped mint juleps and talked art and horses all night long.

Not surprisingly, Carl managed to get some painting done with his ThumBox. He painted the Alvin booth from across the aisle. There was too much going on for me to even think about trying to paint any of it – but Carl has been doing this for years and he loves the challenge.

The trip was quite a success. I found some new products that you might enjoy and you’ll see them online or in our next catalog soon. There is still a lot of sifting through samples to be done. I already added one find to our website, “The Artist’s Book of Excuses”. It’s a funny little book about plein air painting that any artist is sure to love. Yes, this trip had it all: a great host city, lots of fun things to do and see, an amazing trade show filled with tons of products for artists and some great folks, and the NAMTA organization to take care of us all. I only wish it was open to the public… any artist would have loved it!


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