Funny how God has a way of working out things out. It was my plan to take part in NoDa’s two-day Arts Market in early December. Since this is during the time of the holiday season, it was a big deal and I didn’t want to miss out. I had planned to sell my “Twelve Days of Christmas” cards and was pretty excited thinking that I was better prepared this year.
Unfortunately I blew it and was late for the registration; and by late, I mean I went online about fifteen minutes AFTER registration opened up. There was not a booth to be had. It’s not all that unusual for the booths in NoDa’s Arts Market to sell out in less than a day, but this was the biggest holiday season of the year.
So I was disappointed, however, not too long afterwards I received an email from artist Trish Veverka who is involved in the coordination efforts of the Atherton Market in South End. She “Liked” my Facebook fan page a few weeks ago. In her email she told me that Atherton Mill would hold their first Holiday Arts Market. It so happened to be that same Friday as the market in NoDa. I was warned that potentially there might not be as much foot traffic compared to NoDa however I knew about South End’s growing arts community so I figured there was nothing to lose.
After a couple of email exchanges, I met Trish a few days prior to the event to look at the booth space. The booth is well, an actual stationery BOOTH, not just some random table or open space. They were all over the place and looked very similar to what one would see at a produce market. In fact the Atherton Market was open on Saturdays for this very thing, to sell produce and other good eats. The front of the booth had a lot of room for me to spread out my art and Christmas cards. The building itself is very open with high ceilings and plenty of lighting.
On Friday afternoon I arrive an hour before the event. Loading and unloading was probably the easiest of all of the fairs and markets that I’ve been to. Parking was plentiful and FREE! I could carry my stuff right inside without any problems. No steps either. YES!
There was a mixture of arts and crafts and food vendors. For me personally, I’ve always been a bit tentative about being in the same general vicinity as food vendors since I kind of feel that they compete with potential sales. Much to my surprise it actually was okay. My neighbor was the “Pickle Man.” He sold pickles, lots of them and they were delish! I funneled down a couple of samples. He was quite the charismatic salesman. He is also a musician, and he even played his trumpet, sang a little bit, and told his customers to “Have a sour day” (because of the pickles in case you were wondering).
We also had some entertainment that included about three or four young violinists and cellists who played some Christmas tunes; and a Charlotte favorite, the House of Prayer band.
There was a balloon artist on hand as well and she provided plenty of entertainment for the kids by making santa and reindeer hats, poinsettas, you name it. She gifted me with a candy cane balloon bracelet shortly after she set up her station. Cute, huh?
So yes, a totally different vibe than NoDa but I liked it. The only things that I wished for were a larger turnout (although forgivable since this is the first “arts” market) and that it ran later than 8:00 even though that was the “soft” end time.
I wish the Atherton Market the best on this endeavor. There is great potential here for visual artists and I look forward to participating again!