Local artist Bradley Carter talks pandemic setbacks and getting back in the market groove at Art for All

Bradley Carter’s booth at Art for All at Brooklyn Arts Center. Carter will return to his first arts market in a year this weekend. (Port City Daily/Courtesy of Bradley Carter)

WILMINGTON — The pandemic crushed markets and the festival circuit for local artists who make a living setting up booths to sell paintings, pottery, photography, glass, metalwork, woodwork, and other handmade creations. Art for All at Brooklyn Arts Center (BAC) is hoping to alleviate some of those losses by reframing its 11th event, taking place this weekend, to be Covid safe.

Masks are required of guests and vendors, and hand-sanitizing stations will be set up as folks shop through safely spaced arts booths across the BAC church and its adjoining Annex. Normally welcoming more than 50 vendors, the 2021 event has scaled down to 40.

Local painter Bradley Carter will be back in the mix for his first market in exactly one year. His last one before Covid-19 hit was the 10th Art for All in February 2020.


“Then the world shut down,” Carter said.

Outside of having exhibits and making sales through local and regional galleries, Carter participates in around six markets a year. “These events usually account for 40% of my income,” he said.

Carter often can be found pushing his wares locally at May’s Orange Street Arts Festival, as well as fall’s American Craft Walk. Plus, he often hits the road to attend larger markets in metropolises in and out of state.

“But [I’m] not sure yet if I will travel out of Wilmington to shows just yet,” Carter said. “At least not the first half of 2021, but I’m hoping mid-year things will continue to improve, and we can book out in Charlotte, N.C., or Richmond, Va., again.”

To make up for the loss of in-person events experienced in 2020, Carter has put more focus on his website. He continued working through the shutdown, despite the pandemic’s early days of stunting some creativity.

“[I]t was kind of a catch-22,” Carter said. “All this free time but nowhere to show the artwork — and then you have to put on the business hat. Can I afford to keep buying paint and canvas and not have income, or reduced income, with increased cost or production? It was a tricky slippery slope of creative personality verses business personality fighting to see who would win. But the creative personality is definitely winning this year with lots of new work and hopefully the return of shows in the future.”

Seeing buyers face to face is something Carter has missed, not to mention interaction with colleagues and fellow artists. He said he is looking forward to resuming contact at Art for All this weekend.

“[Markets are] just a great way to meet people and talk about art and make connections for the future,” he said.

Carter’s acrylic-skin sketchbooks and journals will be priced at $20-$25 at Art for All this weekend at BAC. (Port City Daily/Courtesy of Bradley Carter)

Part of the appeal of Art for All is that works are priced less than $500. Carter has items from $5 to $500, including handmade acrylic-skin sketchbooks and journals for $20-$25, prints starting at $45, and original paintings starting at $100.

“It will be a 50/50 spilt between brand new and barely dry work and work that was created last year or so,” he explained of his inventory.

He also will have pandemic limited-edition prints. “My floral impressions series gets updated and altered every year,” Carter said. “This will be its third year/series and the first show to display them.”

Other artists slated to be at Art for All include Lauren Rogers Ceramics, CJ’s Sea Shop, Chris Bloom Fine Art, Bragg About Art, Jira Kalina, Susan Machamer Jewelry Design, Decaying Dough Photos, Helen Duffy Art, Z. Duff, and more.

Catch the Food Truck will be set up on Saturday and Will’s Pizza will be serving on Sunday. A coffee shop and full bar will be pouring specialty drinks for guests inside the event all weekend. There is a $5 cover charge to attend (children 12 and under get in for free), which allows guests in both days. Admission also comes with a raffle ticket.

Art for All takes place at Brooklyn Arts Center at 516 N 4th St. in the Brooklyn Arts District on the northside of downtown Wilmington on Saturday, Feb. 20, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 21, noon – 5 p.m.


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