The First Saturday Arts Market will reopen for business this Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at 530 W. 19th St.
As the artists get ready and I prepare to reopen the market, reminiscing comes easily, especially with challenges like COVID-19 and opening during the day instead of our usual “summer” nights. I think the last summer day market for June was in 2005.
The market and artists have had our share of challenges. Moving, tropical storms, oppressive heat, snow, iced streets, hurricanes and a recession were challenging. A global pandemic that basically shut down our economy was more than enough to make everyone’s lives a “character building” experience.
Sometimes before we look ahead, it’s good to look back. Especially with 16 years behind us!
Cammie Cain owns Cammie’s Handmade Soaps, and with her husband has been making and selling soap for many years. The Cains joined the market when it was still a mix of craft and art. They are popular regulars now that keep many neighbors in the Heights, myself included, smelling good and coming back for more.
“I have had the privilege and good fortune to be a First Saturday Arts Market ‘artist’ for 14 years,” Cammie Cain said. “It has been interesting to watch the market grow and change over the years. The market has an excellent blend of painters, jewelry artists, ceramics, photographers, creative multimedia artists, beautiful handmade wood furniture and on and on. Every month now I meet new artists there, but there is a core group of artists who are always there, too. It truly is a wonderful art market. The number of artists has increased, the quality of art has gone up tremendously, and now I meet artists from far away who have traveled to be part of our market.”
Lauren Luna is a painter and has been attending First Saturday Arts Market for about eight years. She has some advice for artists.
“When I moved to Houston from Ohio, First Saturday Arts Market was one of my first markets,” Luna said. “Not only has participating helped me grow professionally, it’s also allowed numerous opportunities unrelated to the market. Once you’re plugged into the market, you’re plugged into the pulse of the Houston art scene.”
When you meet artists for the first time, it’s good to leave your preconceived ideas at the door. Heights artist Steve Sellers is a good example. He stands over 6 feet tall, and with a full white beard, long hair and a robust physique, he can easily pass for a biker or Santa Claus. He is the Heights Santa, actually.
Sellers also designs and makes women’s jewelry and rings from 100-year-old coins.
“Things always change over time,” Sellers said. “First Saturday Arts Market is no exception. In 16 years it’s changed, had at times incredible growing pains, even relocated. Despite every possible challenge, one thing has remained unchanged. The constant heartbeat of love and creative spirit that is poured into every piece of work on display in each exhibitor’s booth. Whether it’s 20 booths or 50 booths this energy is palpable, and it’s what keeps people coming back for more.”
What I love most about the market are the people. Both our community of customers and the community of artists that have evolved from not just our common love for art, but our love of community, too.
Find your people. Love on them. If you need some company, we’d love to visit with you. The market and artists will be following CDC guidelines related to COVID-19, plus we have a huge parking lot. More on that, and the complete artist roster is at 1stSatArtMarket.com.
Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com for additional highlights and artist’s stories.