Waco Artist Market to pop up downtown on Saturday

The Waco Artist Market gets going from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at Heritage Square in downtown Waco. Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

Waco artists will no longer have to wait for events like Art on Elm Avenue or the Cultural Arts Festival to show their work. The Waco Artist Market, which started at the April 2 Texas Food Truck Showdown, will allow local creators to showcase their work on a regular basis.

The market will be installed from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at Heritage Square in downtown Waco, and at the same time on intermittent Saturdays after that.

Monica Shannon, one of the market’s founders, said the new venue will provide an opportunity for Waco Downtown Farmers Market shoppers to mosey downtown for their Saturday art fix. Shannon said the farmers market’s burgeoning popularity is promising for the new artist market as well.

“The farmers market started out a few years ago. It was very small with only a few booths, but it has grown and grown and grown,” Shannon said.

Shannon said she would like to see the same kind of growth occur at the artist market. Twenty artisans, including photographers, painters and jewelry designers, will set up their booths at Saturday’s market. Some will sell their work, while others, like local crafts store Gypsy Canvas, will invite others to create their own pieces.

“I’m going to have a large canvas with squares, and people can come and paint,” said Jessica Hollingsworth, the owner of Gypsy Canvas. “It’s really for creativity. I want to give adults and kids a chance to relax and be creative.”

Joining Gypsy Canvas will be cartoonist Greg Peters, of Pinky and the Brain fame; painter Mark Kieran, who paints surreal shapes in swirling landscapes; and several other local artists and designers. Funky cover band Venus Envy and kids dance group Dot Buds will also perform at different times during the day.

Shannon said several artists approached her about getting another venue for their work after the Creative Art Studio and Theater, a gallery space she operated downtown, closed in December. Now, the market gives a new chance for artisans to get out into the community to share their work.

“The arts community has been really coming together more and more in the last few years,” Shannon said. “This just gives an opportunity for artists who have been painting and doing their craft to display it on any given Saturday and talk to the people.”

Shannon said the new market will also contribute to nonprofit Creative Waco’s initiative to get Cultural District designation for the downtown area. The designation would allow downtown Waco to benefit from state marketing and funding.

Until the city finds out about its Cultural District status, however, Wacoans can continue to benefit from the growing downtown arts scene.

“I think art is such a great outlet. I think Waco really needs it,” Hollingsworth said.