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#ThrowbackThursday Artist Trading Card Event of 2019!

Updated: Sep 6, 2022

Ever heard of Artist Trading Cards? They are trading cards that display the artist's own artwork. Then they are able to trade their artwork for other artist's artwork. The only requirement is that the card must be 2.5"x3.5" (or 6.35cm x 8.89cm). Any and all materials can be used but it MUST be that size. That is the only mandatory requirement.


So now that you know the basics of what ATC's are, I hosted an event at the local art community/center, ReCreative in Denver Colorado. Every month, they have a Friday which is known as Art Walk Day! They like to rotate the participatory events to get the community active in creating art. I had mentioned to one of the workers about this idea and they were excited to give it a shot! So a week prior we were allowed to come in and set up our display that I had envisioned. This was actually the first time I was able to plan out an event/activity, had to organize help and assistance for the installation, as well as follow-through and host when the event is active. This was nerve-wracking for someone who deals with anxiety all the time and second-guesses each step wondering "am I doing too much?" "am I asking for too much?" "Is this ridiculous?" "Will people even be interested?" and more...For those who live with anxiety, you know the spiral.


But with John, I was able to calm down a bit and just keep going. It ended up being a lot of fun and I got to introduce an easy art activity to more people than I expected to talk to. This would also be a great company employee activity or challenge to help create rapport and connection. I would love to create a program to introduce this and almost had a chance to connect with someone to host this! But even if we did talk out a plan together, there was no way we would've been able to predict what was in store for us coming in only a few months following. Still, I may write out a plan for this for the fun of it and if anyone is wanting to use it with their employees then please send me a message! This activity can still be done today on zoom calls however would require some preplanning (mailing ahead of time) if wanting it to be a success.


Anyway! On to the art installation that was in the community art center for two months! It was very popular the first month so it stayed up longer with signs to help people figure it out when I wasn't there to explain. At the event, there is a large table with chairs, and at the center of the table is a pile of papers, stickers, and drawing materials. Against the wall, still sitting on the table, are four signs giving details on how to participate and what is expected of this activity. Against the wall to their right are these picture frames that they interact with after they have created their own card.


As you can see there are four picture frames with chicken wire stapled to the back. I love the rustic look and that this is also practical in design for this subject. This created the perfect backing to use clothespins and hang different cards for display. Also, the action of adding a card and removing a chosen card allows the participant to feel a bigger connection to the other artists doing the same at this art installation. This is where they can view different cards for trade made by different artists and will be able to trade their own (that they just made) for it. They are also able to keep their card that they made if they want but must make a card to trade if they want one from the wall. They are also allowed to make as many cards as they'd like but most were fine with just making one card and trading it.


Below are the signs I used to help explain ATC's during the event to help explain what is going on in case I am already explaining to someone else. Many I saw read the sign and sit down to participate without me having to speak up at all meaning I think it encouraged them to attempt.



The last display is to show off other artists trading cards and allowing those who didn't want to create a card (usually due to being embarrassed about their art skills or busy), but wanted to take something home. They were allowed to take one from this display and that's it. However, if they made a card they can trade for one and also take from this display!



With this event and everything I had to do to prepare and follow through with, I am much more confident at following through with my plans. It's one thing to constantly be making plans and having them constantly spiral through my head versus taking the steps to make it a reality. I used to over-focus on certain steps, get depressed and never follow through with the full project. Great memories and I do hope to be able to host another one of these events again!

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