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Art Materials Trade Show offers wholesale prices to the public as well as SCAD students
More than 50 vendors will take part in the popular Art Materials Trade Show at the River Club, on MLK and Bay

In the middle of Savannah’s busy festival season comes a different kind of arts event — one that, while slightly under the radar, might be just as enriching on some levels.

SCAD brings its fourth annual Art Materials Trade Show to the River Club at MLK and Bay Sept. 30–Oct. 2.

“This is different from other consumer trade shows in that it puts our students into the booth with the vendors, through our Booth Assistant Program. Students can volunteer and actually help in the booth,” says John Rise, professor with the SCAD School of Foundations Studies, which puts on the show.

“It’s like a mini–internship, if you will. That aids the manufacturer in that they don’t have to bring staff, and more importantly it gives students the opportunity to learn what it’s like on the other side of the counter.”

Students who wish to take things to the next level, Rise says, can also use the show to network with the over 50 manufacturers represented there and learn about entrepreneurship.

“A number of students have turned these opportunities into summer jobs,” he says. “Some students who are now alumni have turned that into fulltime jobs.”

The benefits go both ways. Such trade shows are also vital to the tight–knit art materials industry.

“The art materials industry is a small one, especially compared to industries that create commodity-type items,” Rise says. “It’s more subject to the whims and desires of a smaller group. The companies focus on that and they get very creative with it. This show conveys to students that business is just as creative in its construction and execution as being an artist.”

Rise says an art supply company’s “long–term cross–generational survival strategy” to avoid getting swallowed up by larger corporations is to educate young artists about their products.

“This school is particularly successful in producing a lot of graduates who actually work in field they study,” he says. “They then commence their careers using those products and continuing to use those products.”

As with previous Art Materials Trade Shows, the community at large is urged to attend and enjoy all the same things SCAD students enjoy, including the wholesale prices.

“We are aggressively wanting the public to come and join us,” Rise says.

Vendors enjoy the fact that the community at large comes to the shows in addition to the core student audience.

“A number of hobby painters and professional painters come in and they get to meet the people who’ve been making the products they use,” says Rise. “It gives them a chance to give feedback, positive or negative, and that contributes to the quality of the product.”

In addition to the multi–floor product sale, there are a number of seminars offered as well. “We present  highly technical seminars, always to standing room only crowds, about the chemistry and technical aspects of the products.”

The SCAD Trade Show is, according to the school, the only such trade show in the country sponsored by an educational institution.

On Oct. 1, at 11 a.m., SCAD student Katie Cantrell will be recognized for her four illustration images featured on the 500 Series Marker Pads made by Strathmore Artist Papers.

Four SCAD students will also be recognized as finalists in Chroma’s “International Student Art Competition!” Chroma’s international jury selected paintings by Cantrell, Cleonique Hilsaca, Solongo Mellecker and I Chun Kuo. 

Art Materials Trade Show

When: Sept. 30, 11 a.m.–7 p.m., Oct. 1, 10 a.m.–7 p.m., and Oct. 2, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Where: River Club, 3 MLK Jr. Blvd.

Cost: Free to enter