Art Valet: Stock up on art market insights | Arts

Think of it as a sporadic continuation of sightings in outside markets.

Being in a public company that runs on a regular schedule, I took note of things that tend to happen repeatedly. This is in no way intended to discourage, disparage or offend anyone. These are observations that I find amusing.

To educate new readers, I own and operate two outdoor art markets. My community connections through the marketplaces are the reason I’ve come to grace these beautiful pages in The leader. To those familiar – I hope you’re ready for more pontification!

Let’s start at the beginning of the day; implement. No matter how well I think I communicated with my exhibitors, someone will always end up in the wrong place, too soon, too late, or lost. Artists always paint, draw, create or set up their stand outside the lines. Especially if I painted a line not to cross, they will cross it. It’s in our blood.

A few years ago, I visited a market in a trendy new space during installation (I may have coveted), and a vehicle got trapped in a full circle of tents. It was actually a very large rectangle, but I digress. A very angry artist couple had to tear down their tents to let the vehicle out.

Although I’ve never had a car stuck inside the market, I dreamed of the worst. I’m not kidding, I have a recurring dream that I’m late to the market, and the exhibitors set up without me, and it’s chaos. The tents are oriented in different directions, on the sidewalk, and without any concern for order. The only time the dream gets worse is when you realize it’s not a market day!

People show up all the time for various reasons and I expect that and welcome that. The funny thing is that I know for sure when to wait for someone without fail. Either when I sit down for the first time – or just when I take a first bite of lunch.

The other time is when the market calms down, and just when I’m starting to worry, a very excited artist shows up, asks questions and talks about it like the market is the best thing since the introducing air conditioning to Houston. Meanwhile, I listen to the crickets…I feel better after these conversations, confusing as they seem at first.

While I am eating, friends seem to take pleasure in photographing me while I am eating. There may be a growing collection of photos of me just stuffing my face on social media. We have the best food trucks, so I can’t complain. Many.

Live music is the best way to fill a space with people. The market can be deadly still and when the live music starts, people appear. It’s absolutely amazing.

I also have news for you – this summer I will be combining the two art markets into one covered, air-conditioned market that will span one day and into the early evening.

Save the date, August 13, at Silver Street Studios’ giant event warehouse at 2000 Edwards St. at Sawyer Yards. Details will be released soon and you can bet I’ll probably have some fun stories to tell at my own expense after this one. Stay tuned!

Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find it on for additional highlights and artist stories.

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