DENHAM SPRINGS — Area artists and creators of crafts found a new venue to show and sell their creations with the opening of the Mattie Street Art Market in the Antique Village on the first Sunday in December.
Heather Dronet, proprietor of the Brushfire Art Studio and overseer of the Art Market, said that about 15 artisans brought booths to the markets in January and December, and all of them sold some of their art work to what she termed was an appreciative group of area residents.
On Sunday, the number of artists purveying their creations was somewhat diminished because of the Super Bowl and uncertain weather. However, those who did show up were enthusiastic about the new addition to the attractions in the Antique Village.
“The Mattie Street Art Market is a way to support local artists and bring more people to the Antique Village. The market affords even more families the opportunity to come to the Antique Village and enjoy what we have to offer here. Our first markets were quite successful and as spring approaches, we anticipate that about 30 artists will be here with their works on the first Sunday of each month,” Dronet said.
She said more than 100 visitors had perused the art market on the first two Sundays that it was held and that the feedback from those attending was positive. “Those who visited the art market expressed a need to support local artists and said they were happy with what we had started,” she said.
Dronet said the artists pay a $25 fee to set up their booths. She said the artists who wish to participate submit a request on line. In that request the artists must show what they anticipate selling and their proposed product is reviewed by a group that oversees the market. “All items for sale must be handmade and original. We don’t allow the sale of prints or commercial art,” she explained.
“Our community needs this. All who visited our art sale were impressed. For our first market in December, we had an art professor from LSU visit, and he returned last month. We like to see a variety of art and craft items on sale, and we have reached out to all ages. Last month we had a young man still in high school who sold some of his art. We are always trying new things in the Antique Village, and this is the latest. After the flood in August of 2016, things changed here. The Antique Village is back, better than ever, with all the stores open including some new ones,” Dronet said.
She opened Brushfire Art Studio two years ago and said she was grateful that her building did not flood. Her shop offers painting classes in both ceramics and canvas, and she holds children’s art classes every other Saturday morning.
“Our young art students thoroughly enjoy what they are learning. I think that it is important to give our young people the opportunity to be creative. It’s also an opportunity to get them away from their computers and telephones for a little while,” Dronet said
Dronet has included one group of aspiring young artists in the art market. The Luke 10:27 Church in Denham Springs sponsors a Young Artists Academy, and Dronet allows them to use a booth free of charge to bring things to the market. Beth Lawson, who teaches the Artists Academy, said she is seeking to make the academy a thorough learning experience.
“I absolutely love the idea of the Mattie Street Art Market. This event helps artists connect with each other and with the general public. It has been great for our young people. They are learning not only how to be creative but about marketing — how to price items, and to promote and market them. There just aren’t many markets like this in our area and we are grateful for the opportunity to participate in this market,” Lawson said.
She has established a nonprofit organization, Psalm 37:3, to sponsor the Landers Program that supports the Young Artists Academy.
Ty and Sabrina Kinnison, owners of the Crow and Fairie Shop, were selling wooden shields, fairy dolls and other creations. Sabrina Kinnison said of their venture, “We are still new at this. This is our first time to be at the Mattie Street Art Market, and we are excited about being here. We are from Baton Rouge, and we didn’t know about the Antique Village. This is such a unique place … the architecture is so interesting. We really enjoy going to craft fairs in different areas. We are getting a chance to explore what I call our own backyard … something we had never done before,” Kinnison said.
Suzette Turner and her daughter, Sarah, were offering a wide assortment of fabric art for sale including finger puppets. "This gives us a chance to get together with other artists and with the public," Suzette Turner said. "We needed something like this in Denham Springs. We enjoy the crafts we are involved with, and it is fun to share what we do with others.”
Dronet said she anticipates more success with the art market as more area residents become of aware of what is offered at the event. “We’ve really just got started with this, but everything so far has been positive and I can only see bright things for the future. We think that holding this on a Sunday is a good thing because it gives families something to do when they are not busy with school and other activities. We are here for the artists and for our citizens who appreciate creativity. It’s one more thing that adds to what the Antique Village, and Denham Springs, has to offer,” she said.