The Downtown Spokane Partnership has begun a new program featuring local artists to be held every Sunday on Wall Street for the rest of August.
Art Mart will feature up to 10 artists a week from noon to 4 p.m. each Sunday on Wall Street between Spokane Falls Boulevard and Main Street. They’ll be showcasing their work, which will be available for purchase, and some will give demonstrations.
“Our overall mission is to create a vibrant community,” said DSP Marketing and Programming Director Elisabeth Hooker. “Our goals are really to create a reason to come downtown.”
There had been discussions in the past about doing a farmers market but they didn’t want to compete with the popular Night Market in Kendall Yards, Hooker said. The idea of an artist market came up, and the first event was held Sunday with only a week’s notice.
Two artists came the first day and six are scheduled for this Sunday.
“It’s open to anyone we think has enough product to sell,” Hooker said.
There are painters and photographers signed up and a jewelry maker plans to bring an anvil so he can demonstrate how he pounds out copper. Hooker said she wants to have a hands-on craft for kids every week if she can.
“I’d love to have potters, sculptors,” she said. “You have to be mobile because it’s only for four hours.”
Hooker hopes Art Mart will give people a chance to interact with the artists in addition to helping them get more exposure while selling their work.
People who stumbled on the Art Mart its first day were curious about what was going on. Most seemed enthusiastic once it was explained, Hooker said. “There was an appreciation for what we’re trying to get started,” she said.
The Downtown Spokane Partnership is perhaps best known for the downtown security ambassadors and the Clean Teams that patrol the downtown core, but the organization often organizes events on that section of Wall Street, including a food truck night. Hooker said she hopes to have a food truck or two come to the weekly Art Mart as well.
“We really want to make it a gathering place,” she said. “It’s not intended to be a destination. I want it to be a surprise along your journey.”
The weekly schedule is nearly full but there are still a few slots available for interested artists, Hooker said. The Downtown Spokane Partnership provides a 10-by-10 tent and a chair, but artists are asked to bring their own tables. Applications are available online at downtownspokane.org and artists can select what weeks they would like to attend.
Hooker said she’s hopeful the idea will take root. “I think the Art Mart will grow,” she said. “We’re just testing it out this August.”
If there is enough demand, Art Mart could continue next year and even expand, she said. “If it grows, we’ll become a little more formalized,” she said.
Hooker said the Downtown Spokane Partnership is always looking for ideas like Art Mart. She refers to the process of trying them out as throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks, and said people are always welcome to offer event suggestions for downtown.
“We love ideas,” she said. “We love collaboration.”
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