Burlingtonians gather for local Art Market

It was a Saturday in City Hall Park and, unlike other days that week, the weather was not pushing Caribbean temperatures.  The Champlain winds were blowing steady, and Burlington families pushed around babies in strollers, their dogs tagging along leashless beside them. The combined effort of the Burlington Council of Art (BCA) and an array of local artists was showcased on Sept. 4 as part of the foundation’s summerlong Artist’s Market. The market features 33 artists, listed on the BCA website, whom after paying a fee, display their work in the hopes of acquiring faithful observers and a profit. “The market features handmade, original fine art … values innovation, creativity and experimentation in contemporary craft … and is constantly evolving,” the BCA’s mission says. For Claudia Venon, this is her fifth year in the marketplace and the extra spirit, creativity and devotion to local crafts has drawn her back again.   “[It is a place to] showcase my work, have a face to it, to see what works and what doesn’t,” Venon said. Venon determines the demand for her embellished clothing, Japanese silk bags and other nature-inspired accessories by what marketgoers purchase and ogle at, she said. By putting a person’s face to their craft, the market encourages local investment in a cause that people can identify with. UVM English and studio art alum Jennifer Kahn sells at the market and has found it to be a growing opportunity to explore what jewelry appeals to the locals who frequent her table. “I price at what people would spend, not what I need,” Kahn said. The fall is an excellent time to sell, she added, with tourists and returning college students who have not yet emptied their bank accounts.   Her intricately cut copper pieces, fired to dark and metallic hues of reds, are displayed alongside her experimentation with popular metal clay. “[A lot ] of people come for the farmers market, ” she said. “Eventually I’ll do a higher-priced line in galleries and stores.  [For now] I price as to what I’d pay.” Beyond the artwork, Kahn spoke of the market fondly. “This is my social life [every Saturday]; the food, the babies and the dogs.” From May 22 to Oct. 23, downtown Burlington welcomes locals, college students and visitors to see what the community’s strong relationship with art has helped support.