Living in a city that has temperatures that “feel” like anything over 100 degrees is insanity, isn’t it? Twelve years ago at this time, I was getting ready for my first evening art market on 19th Street, to you know, avoid the heat. I was about to find out just how crazy we Houstonians really are.
The evening markets proved quite popular from the beginning, and those of us that survived set up (we all survived), loved it. Strolling among white canopied tents glowing like luminaries have a magical feeling. Making the evening markets a little more tolerable.
If you’re reading this for the first time, I own and operate First Saturday Arts Market on 19th Street and The Market at Sawyer Yards on second Saturdays.
The night shows are misleading to us that attend the shows all year because, in a very short period of time, the same number of attendees show up that attend the day markets. That can be a lot of people!
That same summer in 2006, a marketing group that consisted of area business owners, both retail and services, decided to launch White Linen Night in the Heights. I was part of that group and I remember we estimated about 5,000 maximum would attend the neighborhood-wide event. Did we ever underestimate the power of marketing!
White Linen Night in the Heights started out as a way to introduce our quaint neighborhood to Houston and celebrate everything we all loved about the neighborhood. At the same time, it was a nod to southern charm and tradition to our neighbor to the east, New Orleans, where the event originated and was obviously on hiatus during recovery from Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. It is back by the way.
We began our marketing campaign for White Linen the first weekend of April, in-kind advertising was in all the prominent magazines and newspapers, and we were live on the morning news shows the week of, touting free drinks to all. We wanted to make sure those 5,000 showed up.
Estimates that first year were more like 15,000 people and the event has exceeded expectations ever since!
All I can tell you is, buy yourself some linen clothing. It’s breathable and repels dirt. Many shops in the Heights have it now and you can practice wearing it at both of my art markets first! You have four opportunities to dress for the heat now, thank me later.
First Saturday Arts Market is a curated monthly outdoor market that features artists from all over the greater Houston area. Everything at the market is made by the seller and that includes the food trucks, wine, beer and the musicians who write and own their own music. Now that is cool! Open this Saturday 6 -10 p.m., at 530 W. 19th St. More information is on the website 1stSatArtMarket.com. White Linen Night in the Heights is scheduled to return August 4, to W. 19th Street.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the new Market at Sawyer Yards, find him at ArtValet.com.