Archived Story

Local artist organizes swap [UPDATED]

Published 2:41pm Friday, January 14, 2011 Updated 11:02am Thursday, January 20, 2011

Phena Keil had a dilemma. She needed art supplies, but she didn’t know where to get them.

“I’m a found item artist, so I’m always looking for unique things to use for my collages and assemblages,” she said.

Keil knew she wasn’t the only person with that problem. The 31-year-old art student works at the Kaddatz Gallery when she’s not attending classes at M State, and she has long served as a go-between for artists looking to give items they don’t want to someone in need.

“There are always artists coming in and saying, ‘I have this, who do I go to with it?’” she said. Though Keil said some art items are available at Ben Franklin Crafts, sometimes people are looking for something a little more unique.

However, rather than complain or go outside of the community to buy or find art supplies, Keil decided that she would bring the supplies she and others needed all to one place: an art swap, which Keil said will take place in March.

Though Keil said she has never been to an art swap, she knows how they work and she knows there’s a need. She even has come up with a system to make sure people get their fair share of supplies.

On the day of the swap (an exact date has not yet been chosen), Keil explained, “Artists would come in with their unwanted … supplies.” A panel of appraisers would then examine all of the supplies and determine their monetary value. Then, each artist would be given a voucher equal to the value of supplies he or she brought in.

After an artist receives a voucher, he then is free to peruse all of the items and use his voucher to purchase supplies that are valued at that amount of money.

“Let’s say that they only have $15, but they find something that’s $10 more,” said Keil. “They would just pay that extra $10.”

Only artists with something to swap would be allowed in at first, but after a set amount of time, the public would be welcome to peruse the supplies as well.

“I would open it up like a rummage sale,” Keil explained. The money raised from sales would cover the costs of advertising and venue rental. The tentative venue is a side room at the Kaddatz, but Keil said she might move it if it looks like the event will be big.

And big it very well could be. Once Keil resolved to get the swap done, she turned into a one-woman networking machine, calling every organization and artist she could think of who might be willing to help. She’s received a lot of positive feedback from local artists in particular, who agree with her that an art swap is sorely needed.

There’s still time to get involved in the planning stages. Keil invited anyone who was interested to a brainstorming meeting at 1 p.m. on Feb. 1 at The Spot, and she urged people who had good ideas to get a hold of her on Facebook, via e-mail ( or by calling her at 205-3306.

Keil is excited about the impact the swap could have on the local art scene, and she said she’s driven to keep it going.

“I’d like it to be a yearly thing,” she said.

  • Pingback: Local Artist Organizes Swap « The Love Art and Junk Blog

  • Ruth Hoglund

    When doing a supply swap remember to canvas local businesses for paper, wood, fabrics or other outdated supplies. They are often happy to have a place for their unwanted or needed goods.
    Hope this is a success.
    Good luck from a summer visitor to Fergus Falls.

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