La Vie de Ville: Palmer Park market links artists, art lovers

The Arts Council of New Orleans’ art market at Palmer Park is a great distraction from the balmy summer temperatures. On my recent visit to the market’s shady Uptown location at South Carrollton and South Claiborne avenues, not even the threat of approaching thunderstorms deterred artists and shoppers from turning out in force.

The market is one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday afternoon. Virtually every medium of art is represented here with artists setting up shop under rows of meandering white tents, each displaying the artist’s unique style and creativity.

On average, about 80 artists participate each month in the Palmer Park marketplace. “About 40 percent of our artists are from the New Orleans area,” said Morgan Sasser of the Arts Council. “The remaining spots, or roughly 60 percent, are filled by artists from surrounding cities and neighboring states like Mississippi and Alabama. Demand is seasonal, but we process about 10 to 15 new artist applications per week.”

The markets were established in 2007, after Katrina. In large part, the arts markets helped rebuild the arts community by providing an affordable venue for the artists to sell their work to willing buyers eager to rebuild their homes lost to the storm.

On the day I visited, 32 new artists were showcased, according to Gene Meneray, director of artists’ services.

The arts markets are so much more than a place to purchase great local art. They are a gathering place for neighbors to catch up, for families to spend an affordable afternoon out, and one of the best places in the city to connect personally with some of our area’s most talented artists.

The Arts Council of New Orleans traces its beginnings to the early 1970s. For more than four decades, the nonprofit group has continued to expand programming and services that enrich our community through the arts. Today the organization provides cultural planning, arts education and marketing initiatives aimed at showcasing New Orleans as an international center for art and culture.

The next arts market at Palmer Park will take place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Aug. 31. For more information about the arts markets, visit www.artscouncilofneworleans.org.

La Vie de Ville captures city life New Orleans style every Thursday in The Advocate New Orleans’ Community News Section. Please email information on your upcoming event to robertagrove@hotmail.com.