“It’s one of these things when you have this idea, but don’t know if anybody will think it’s cool like you do,” says Adrienne Palm, director of Leadership for the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce, who manages Pulse and created The Artery concept.
The Artery has grown from 23 to 31 vendors after three engagements last year and is gaining interest from Milwaukee, Door County, Madison and Michigan, in addition to local artisans.
“While we’re trying to keep it Fox Cities focused, it’s nice to have a platform for other artists,” Palm notes.
Part of what makes The Artery special is the novelty and appeal. Palm plans to retain that by changing up locations and being selective on when it’s held. Having the mystery of a beautiful church, outdoor venue and a building that was vacant for 10-plus years — the first three location types — adds to the event. Palm hopes to bring the event back to the OuterEdge Stage during YP Week in April and offer vendors, along with food trucks and a DJ, she says.
“We want to make sure it keeps evolving and stays creative,” she says. In order to not oversaturate the market, three to four dates a year likely will be targeted. This also allows vendors time to restock their wares.
Artists need to apply to be included in The Artery, which will likely not grow beyond 40 artists, in order to maintain the exclusive feel, Palm shares.
As Palm notes, The Artery is not just about promoting the arts and small businesses, but also reaching a broad range of ages, career groups and promoting diversity.
“Everybody benefits from having seasoned professionals in the room,” Palm says. “What could be better for a young professional than to network in an organic way?”