NADMA started out as a complete and utter failure...
We were all in college at the time and we were struggling photographic artists trying to sell our fine art photography work. We'd spent countless hours creating the artwork, spent money on framing and mounting, and then we sped months pounding the pavements to find coffee shops and other places like record stores, diners, etc. who were willing to let us sell our work. Well, long story short, practically nothing sold and our work turned in to permanent decorations for these places. It wasn't long after when decided to meet and talk things over. There were about 8 of us at the time who were serious and ambitious about the photographic arts and the sale of our work. We agreed to meet at a small coffee shop on the south side of Philadelphia just off of Chestnut St. It was then we decided to form an association and hold art shows where we could not only sell our work, but also promote ourselves as local artists as well as network with other local artists.
About a month later, after handing out thousands of adverts and promos, we held our first "art show" at a public school gymnasium in the city. Well, about 4 people actually showed up and we were left scratching our heads yet again.
During the initial stages of planning our first show and one thing we didn't realize is that people needed some kind of incentive to come to an art show and it wasn't just art. We were all sitting there after our failed show and one of us yelled out... "Cheese and crackers!" It wasn't out of any of our characters to yell out off the wall things so we kinda ignored the rant, at first. We went on to discuss how we needed to make the art shows more of an experience rather than just try and sell them our work. We all agreed and at that moment, our 2nd show was in the works. There were only three of us left at the time as the others jumped ship. We contacted dozens of wine, beer, and cheese and cracker manufacturers until we finally had a simple list of willing people to provide refreshments for our shows.
When it came time for our second show, we were very excited to see what the turnout would be. We'd recruited about 30 student artists to showcase work and we promoted for a whole four months this time around. We booked a respectable venue for the show, we had all of our venders lined up, we had all of our work ready to sell. It was a Friday night and we were ready for success. Well, threat of another failure loomed above our heads, to say the least. We received a call from the venue requesting our permit to provide food at the show and requesting our insurance information. We had no permit and no insurance. We thought we were finished! What happened next was a miracle.
Many, if not all, of the artists participating in our show were students from Temple University. We began calling students informing them of what had happened and of the 2nd show's cancellation. Needless to say, many of the students were disappointed not only because we had all chipped in to help fund the show, but because we'd all spent a lot on preparing our work for the show, not to mention all the time and promotional effort we all put in. It was one lone law student who saved us from failing this 2nd time around. She was a hobby photographer with amazing work and she was determined not to let the show go down in smoke. She made a few calls and before we knew it, the show was back on schedule. It was at this moment we all realized how important each individual was in the success of what our vision was.
Since that very first art show in 2004, and the bonafide formation of NADMA in 2008, We've held hundreds of successful public art exhibitions nationwide with some artist revenues breaching our wildest expectations. At NADMA's 2011 Philadelphia area art show, some artists made as much as $8,000 in point of sale art purchases of photographic enlargements and digital artwork.
We started with a simple vision and we found others who believed in what we strive for as working artists. Join our group of visionary artists! Become part of something revolutionary!