Local artists get exposure at weekly sidewalk market

Juneau artists market offers opportunity for artists, unique gifts for locals, tourists

Posted: Thursday, August 13, 2009

The month of August saw a new phase in Juneau's artistic life. The Juneau Arts and Culture Center started up a three-day artists market every weekend of the month.

Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire
Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire

Every Saturday, Sunday and Monday until Aug. 24, local artists will be setting up tents in the lawn of the JACC and selling their goods. The number of artists vary by day, but Nancy DeCherney, executive director of the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, estimates between seven and ten a day put their artistic creations up for sale. She's also hoping to attract food vendors and musicians.

DeCherney says the Market "adds to the liveliness of the community" and says it's like having a little festival every weekend.

"It offers the artists, particularly the ones who don't have the opportunity to sell their goods in stores, an opportunity to sell them in the open air," DeCherney said.

And DeCherney hopes to cater to not only locals but also to tourists looking for local and regional art. So in response, Saturday through Monday were chosen for that reason.

"Friday is a slow boat day," DeCherney explains. "Part of what we want is to do is give the artists the opportunity to reach out to visitors."

JACC gets cruise ship visitors coming by all the time looking for works by local artists, DeCherney said.

Wilder estimates that they see a pretty even split between cruise ship visitors and locals.

This past Sunday, eight artists and a food vendor had spread out their wares. One was Carol Shriver, who sells rugs and placemats made out of recycled materials.

"I'm a big recycler. I think it's important to do something with plastic bags because get them out of the dumpsters and water," Shriver said about her rugs. "I use plastic bags like Fred Meyer bags, grocery bags, any bags that are available. I use towels and sheets and blue jeans and wool. Anything I can use that is going to be tossed away gets a new life."

Selling her rugs is Shriver's full-time job and the artist market has given her a great opportunity to make money and teach others her craft.

"I just set up a loom on Saturday, a little loom. Just to give a demonstration and let people make little rugs," Shriver said. "I did it for kids but I had a lot of adults want to do it."

Amanda Neyenhouse also uses recycled material in her hand-knit hats, scarves, bowls and bags.

"I've been known to take apart sweaters and knit them back into things," she said. "I use whatever I can find that's interesting: recycled silk, wools, bamboo, cotton."

Neyenhouse said she thinks highly of the artist's market.

"I think it's awesome," she said. "It gives us a spot to show off our work and have exposure. (I've sold) a little bit here and there, but nothing like this that's a constant market and a weekly opportunity."

Annie Hurlbut is another participant in the market. Her Native art includes an Eskimo dancer, drummer, fisherman, a woman eating a fish and other dolls. She's uses sea otter and wolf hair for the hair. The drummer's drum is made of seal intestine and his coat is sea otter. She also makes beachgrass baskets.

Her market neighbor, Jeanne Wilder, sells jewelry made from a variety of colorful beads and stones.

"I use all kinds of beads. I use metal, I use glass, I use gemstones. I've actually worked with a wide variety of gemstones," everything except rubies and sapphires, Wilder said.

For Wilder the market has been nothing but a positive experience.

"This has just been a wonderful experience," she said. "Its given me an opportunity to have a store front without having a storefront."

The market hours are every Saturday, Sunday and Monday between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. To download a vendor registration form, visit www.jahc.org. For more information, contact Kari or Nancy at 586-2787.

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