John Fleskes, Cathy, and I had mentioned sometime back on Facebook that we’ve been rethinking the concept for Spectrum Fantastic Art Live (SFAL for short). All of the previous shows have been successful in every way but one: audience attendance. Oh, sure, past SFALs have attracted more than 2000 fans and collectors and there have been exhibitors who have done extremely well, but we’ve always believed that we needed significantly more people coming through the doors to justify artists’ time and expense. We want to grow the audience for fantastic art while allowing for educational, networking, and social opportunities, all wrapped around a positive retail venue. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, depending on your point of view), there are a lot of conventions and shows competing for patrons all over the country virtually every weekend of the year and people—exhibitors, speakers, fans, and collectors—have to make difficult choices. Getting the biggest bang for the buck is always a consideration.

With that in mind, in 2019 Spectrum Fantastic Art Live is teaming up with one of the midwest’s largest pop-culture conventions, Planet Comicon Kansas City, to better serve the community. Featuring an eclectic mix of guests including film and TV actors, comics professionals, and cosplay stars, PCCKC attracts over 50,000+ attendees annually and takes up the entire Kansas City Missouri convention center. The show will run March 29-31, 2019.

Where will we fit in? Well, courtesy of Planet’s owner, Chris Jackson, SFAL will be something of a convention-within-a-convention: there will be a Spectrum Fantastic Art Live Pavillon set up on the main exhibit floor with Spectrum/Flesk Publications as the tent pole and SFAL exhibitors (booths and artist-alley type tables) surrounding it. We’ll be an island of art surrounded by 400,000 square feet of pop-culture goodness. As with previous SFALs there will be special guests, live demos, art-focused programming and after-hours activities, as well as a few surprises. We’ll have our security and volunteers on hand to help make this a safe and smooth event. And, of course the Spectrum 26 Awards Gala will be held at the historic Folly Theater. All of this plus everything that will be going on at Planet Comicon—and, believe me, it’s a full, non-stop event. (And just to be 100% clear, this is Planet Comicon Kansas City’s ball game and they’ll be handling all exhibitor sign-ups and, when the time comes, hotel reservations and attendee tickets. They have the staff and the systems in place to make things easy—especially for us.)

Naturally, regardless of the form it takes, it wouldn’t be an SFAL unless there was a Muddy Colors Rising Stars booth. This is sort of an advance notice that sometime this Fall, Dan dos Santos will open a competition here to choose the next Rising Stars honorees. We have purchased a booth (with electricity) at Planet Comicon in the SFAL section to host the winners of the competition where they’ll be able to display, sell, and promote their work. Convention memberships come with the booth, of course.

So if you’re an artist fresh in their career (or know someone who is), spread the word and keep and eye open for Dan’s announcement in the coming weeks. This is going to be fun!

(If you want to learn more about Planet Comicon Kansas City hit this link or visit them on their Facebook page. You can also get breaking news at the SFAL FB page, too. And while I don’t have links to all of the previous winner notifications, this link might be a nice refresher.)