The Fair was inaugurated in May of this year, with the purpose of promoting and celebrating local artists and craftsmen, as well as the work being done by the Hillside Dams Conservancy and Ethandweni Children's Home. The aim was to raise the profile of the individuals, communities and organisations involved, as well as offer a new event on the art and culture calendar for Bulawayo. Proceeds, once expenses are covered, are split between the two organisations and after the May Fair the organizers were able to give 0 to each.
The first fair had an incredible response, attracting around 40 artists and craftsmen from around the country and welcoming over 500 people through the gates. The organizers have once again had a very positive response to the December fair, with artists pledged to come from as far away as Victoria Falls and Harare, and are pleased to have opened up the scope in terms of art on display, with this year a jeweller, Anne Bonett, exhibiting, as well as Mary Fillanino with her range of hand-painted pottery.
A highlight of the May Fair, which will repeat on December 8, is the "Paint-Off", sponsored by LNA, a fun, interactive art event in which artists have just half an hour to paint a canvas which is then auctioned for charity. This proved to be a real crowd puller and excitement is high for this year's installment, which will be run slightly differently to increase interest.
In addition the day features entertainment, art demos, workshops, food stalls and activities for children, making it a fun day out for the whole family.
The organizers envisage the Art Festival growing from strength to strength and one day becoming the "Wild Geese" art festival of Bulawayo. The interest and enthusiasm from the artists is already there, their outlook being that more important than sales on the day is the exposure to their work, a venue to exhibit it and an opportunity to interact with the public and one another, basically sharing their passion with a wider audience.