Artist Market Looks To Next Year

August 16, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Ionia Street Artist Market will run four more weeks before closing down for the summer.

Anywhere from 100 to 200 people have been showing up on Saturdays for the event, which has been staged every Saturday since June 5 at the new, three-acre Heartside Park on Ionia Street.

The artist market features original and handcrafted art, musicians and performers, fresh produce, food and beverage vendors and free music.

Sponsors of the weekly event include The Warm Red Dime, Sanctuary Folk Art, Heartside Gallery, the Heartside Mainstreet program and local businesses.

On a good day, between 15 and 25 artisans show up, said Annamarie Buller, assistant Mainstreet manager for the

Dwelling Place
and an event coordinator for the artist market. About 10 artists have been pretty loyal to the cause and have participated in the event regularly, she said

The three to four bands that play in the park’s pavilion every Saturday have been a draw, but Buller said the artist market has not been generating enough business to keep artists coming back week after week.

“It’s a growing event that really needs Grand Rapids’ support,” she said. “Every week we get two or three new artists. I think the word is getting out. I think we just need to have some more time under our belts.”

About a half-dozen volunteers haveg been helping out with the event every Saturday and plans are already underway for next year.

Buller said the group plans to raise more money for advertising to compete with other events in town.

“Legitimate advertising is something we’ve lacked this year,” she said. “We’re going to tweak things a little bit. I think we’re going to try to involve more produce next year. Maybe part of the problem is labeling it an artists market. We’re definitely catering to artists, but we’re not exclusive to artists, either.”

On Sept. 11, the last day of the artists market for the summer, there will be free music from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Buller said.    

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