Arts bazaar coming to farmers’ market

BRADENTON — Beginning in October, residents will have their choice of arts and antiques among fresh veggies and produce when the new weekend arts bazaar, Mainly Art, opens.

The monthly art fair kicks off Oct. 17 and will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each third Saturday of the month on Old Main Street. The event, organized by the Downtown Development Authority, will coincide with the Downtown Bradenton Farmers’ Market, said Anna Pohl, downtown events coordinator.

It will showcase what Bradenton artists have to offer while drawing people downtown for a cultural experience. “Mainly Art helps to incorporate all the ideas of Realize Bradenton, melding the arts and culture with downtown,” Pohl said.

The idea for the event grew out of the popular weekly farmers’ market, which was re-established in January. As the number of vendors grew, so did inquiries from artists wanting to sell their items to browsers.

On average, the farmers’ market — held from October to May — attracts 750 to 1,200 visitors each weekend, Pohl said. Besides fresh food and limited crafts, live music is featured.

Pohl hopes to have 20 to 30 artist booths each month for Mainly Art. She is seeking art vendors willing to sell a variety of arts, crafts and antiques.

Donna Lee, owner of Village Voices and Eclectic Art Emporium in the Village of the Arts, said many artists in the Village like to be involved in small arts shows and events. They would welcome attractions such as this. “I think every step (the city) takes to promote the arts and to increase the visibility of our artists is a step forward,” she said.

While artist Bill Johnson, owner of Church’s Stained Glass Creations & Collectibles in the Village, is excited about the monthly bazaar, he is cautious about participating. He hopes it will be organized well with plenty of variety.

About three years ago, he sold his jeweled creations at the market, competing with 15 other jewelry vendors. That’s something he doesn’t want to see again. “They need to have a good mix,” Johnson said.

January Holmes, features writer, can be reached at 745-7057.