NAMTA’s Art Materials World

by Tina Manzer


NAMTA kicks off its tradeshow in Salt Lake City this year with a festive reception on Saturday, March 4, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Radisson. It’s the general session enhanced with complimentary beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres. Attendees can enjoy these treats as achievements of 2016 are reviewed, and awards presented to Hall of Famers and for Lifetime Achievement. Art Materials World opens the following morning and will run concurrently with the Campus Market Expo (CAMEX) through Tuesday, March 7.

“2016 was a year of change and growth, all for the better,” noted NAMTA Executive Director Reggie Hall, in a letter to members in December. Among the achievements he noted were NAMTA’s “best-ever financial position,” the launch of an art advocacy enewsletter, and the addition of new member-benefit affinity programs. The one disappointment was NAMTA’s lack of success in developing closer ties with the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA), recently renamed the Association For Creative Industries (AFCI). “We are frequently asked about involving CHA with NAMTA’s annual convention,” said Reggie. “We had numerous conversations with the CHA leadership in 2016 about aligning their annual convention with NAMTA/CAMEX, but in the end, CHA’s board elected to continue to meet on its own in mid- to late-January.”

The CHA tradeshow was also redesigned and renamed as part of its AFCI rebranding efforts. “Creativation” was held January 19 through 23 in Phoenix.

Art Materials World parties

On Sunday, March 5, the annual President’s Reception will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Natural History Museum of Utah. The $50-per-person ticket price includes heavy hors d’oeuvres, beverages and entertainment. Transportation is provided between the Downtown Radisson and the museum. Then, on Monday evening, March 6, the Next Generation Reception will take place at Salt Lake City’s BTG Wine Bar. Organized for those in the industry who are 45 or younger, this networking reception will feature complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $15 per person.

A product panorama

CAMEX, with more than 600 exhibitors, is the largest show for buyers who stock the shelves of college bookstores. Managed by the National Association of College Stores, it attracts about 1,900 buyers from nearly 900 campus stores. Registered attendees for Art Materials World may attend CAMEX for free, and both shows will take place at the Salt Palace Convention Center. The two are even located on the same show floor – although in separate areas.

CAMEX exhibitors run the gamut from clothing suppliers to electronics vendors, from providers of dorm necessities to manufacturers of paper products and art supplies. As is the case with many big tradeshows, CAMEX is a great place to spot trends. As a supplement to Art Materials World, it helps buyers of fine art supplies experience the full breadth of certain product categories important to their bottom line. Pay particular attention to the big office products companies whose new items reflect heavily market-researched colors, styles, motifs and innovations.

Paper pads and journals are a big category in college stores … and in your stores. While CAMEX will host exhibitors Roaring Spring Paper Products, Moleskine, Exaclair, and Michael Roger Press, Art Materials World will host Strathmore, Stillman & Birn, Borden & Riley, and new exhibitor Hahnemühl.

Art Materials World also has Manuscript Pen, General Pencil, Imagination International, and Sakura. CAMEX has Sanford, Pilot Pen, and Staedtler Mars. Pentel of America is at CAMEX, but Pentel Arts is at Art Materials World. Alvin & Co., with its new line of Draft/Matic Pencils will be at CAMEX only. Look for Dixon Ticonderoga at both shows, along with distributor C2F. (Tip: check out The College Coloring Books booth at CAMEX, booth 3165. The company creates custom coloring books for colleges, universities, Greek organizations and more.) 

NAMTA can boast 24 new exhibitors, many of them from overseas. Among them are Dala from South Africa, makers of paint, glitter and other art-making supplies; Magnini 1404, papermakers from Italy; and Mont Marte International, the Australian market leader in art products. (Tip: check out the booth of new exhibitor Ixidor LLC, booth 1148, from Virginia, presenting a unique line of canvas stretcher boxes.)  

The Art Materials World exhibit hall hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, March 5 and 6; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7.

Demos and presentations

NAMTA makes it easy for retail buyers to get the most out of its tradeshow by scheduling demos and presentations right on the show floor, during show hours. What’s more, they are free for attendees of Art Materials World and CAMEX, and no preregistration is required. Each day offers something new. Here are just a few examples.

From 1 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 5, Alex Preston from Jacquard will present “The Three-Week Tattoo,” a demonstration of its new temporary tattoo kit that uses gel made from Jagua, a South American fruit. The gel is applied to the skin over a drawing to protect it during normal everyday washing. Demo participants will be allowed and encouraged to make their own tattoo designs that will last up to three weeks.

Up next is Canadian retailer Kim Fjordbotten to discuss, “How to Earn Publicity and Press Coverage for Your Business.” She’ll offer tips to help attendees become the go-to art experts for reporters and editors in their communities.

On Monday, March 6, from 9 to 10 a.m., “How to Get a Better Deal from Your Landlord” will be discussed by real estate expert Rich Aries, president of ESR Commercial. He’ll present a guide to the commercial lease negotiation process and target the fine details that get storeowners the best deals.

Afterwards, Guerilla Painter will present “Painting Small for Big Results,” about the benefits of adding small paintings to plein air customers’ repertoire.

From 3 to 4 p.m., Global Art Materials will discuss the history of Viarco’s Art Graf products, and demo the graphite and carbon discs. “This presentation is about the value of labor and craftsmanship, how the handmade can be highly innovative when you mix knowledge with creativity, the importance of keeping it alive to transform it into something new, and respect for the past as a bridge for the future,” says the event’s description.

Enjoy the urban scenery

Salt Lake City is much more artistically well-rounded than its mountain vistas and Mormon roots would have you believe. Remember: it’s the original home of the Sundance Film Festival. Begun in 1978 to attract filmmakers to Utah, the festival today encompasses Park City, Salt Lake City and Ogden each January, as well as the Sundance Resort. In 2016, it was attended by 46,600 lovers of independent film.

In 2002, the Winter Olympics turned Salt Lake City into a prime tourist destination with the great outdoors as a playground. Skiing is spectacular in the winter, and biking, hiking and climbing are favorite activities during the rest of the year.

The city is easy to navigate. The grid from which it is laid out originates in the center at Temple Square, the location of the Mormon’s magnificent Salt Lake Temple.

Downtown is its oldest district. It offers an exciting, enriching and contemporary urban scene thanks to a revitalization plan begun 10 years ago. Investments were made in the convention center; in Abravanel Hall, home of the Utah Symphony; the three-venue arts complex at Rose Wagner Performing Art Center; and Capitol Theater, a 1913 landmark. Continued development contributes to the cultural diversity and artistic life of the entire region.

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