Drive-in Art Show Drives Local Economy

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DES MOINES, Iowa — In a time when art festivals, markets and shows are canceled, local artists have to get even more creative in order to display and sell their work.

An event organizer brought his local art show “Limited Space” to the big screen. Limited Space is an art/music showcase. The last seven events have been indoors.

“When the pandemic hit in the spring, we canceled all of our events, just for safety reasons,” Limited Space organizer Soren Albaugh said.

This made it difficult for artists to sell their work.

“Usually I’m selling work at markets and shows, sometimes in a gallery space, but primarily I participate in farmers’ markets and in shows here and there,” said Maddy Fusco, an illustrator from Indianola.

“A lot of artists do festivals like the Des Moines Arts festival, so a lot of their income is dedicated on that. And now it’s just gone,” Des Moines artist Tim Wicker said.

To help local artists, Albaugh decided to take the 8th Limited Space event outdoors.

“We came up with this idea of using drive-in movie theater technology to show art. It works the same way as normal drive-in. Instead of movie dialogue, it’s music you’re listening to. And instead of a movie you’re watching, it’s artwork,” Albaugh said.

Sixty different artists watched their work flash across the screens, all while Albaugh bumped some beats.

“Trying to make art events more accessible to people that maybe haven’t gone to a gallery opening before, by giving them something else that they maybe have gone to before like a dance party mixed into it,” Albaugh said.

It’s a socially distanced dance party that brings people together.

“I do miss the people because there’s a lot of connections that you make and … it helps grow the community in ways you don’t really realize,” Wicker said.

It’s growing the community with a drive-in that also helps drive the local economy.

“It’s art that makes people happy and makes people want to live in any particular city, not just visual art but arts in general, and all that creative energy kind of has a virtuous cycle to it, so many things get built off of that,” Albaugh said.

“It’s been amazing just being a part of something like this, this year. I’ve really missed being in that environment of other creatives and seeing work come together and it’s something I’ve really missed, so it means a lot,” Fusco said.

If you want to check out all the artists involved, search Limited Space on Facebook.

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