By Thalen Zimmerman (Originally published in the Alexandria Echo Press)
Art Market kicked off its Saturdays in the park at Big Ole Central Park on July 31 with art, music, activities, and food from the farmers market. The art market will continue every Saturday at Big Ole Central Park until the end of September. The Alexandria Art Guild, Downtown Alexandria, and Carlson Music Center sponsored the event.
“The purpose is to grow and promote local artists,” said Merodie Seykora, a member of the Art Guild in charge of organizing the attending artists, “We want to teach the artists how to sell their work so they can continue to grow their passions.”
The Saturday Art Market featured local artists who deal in paintings, drawings, pottery, handmade jewelry, wood crafts, quilts, and even booths where participants could paint their ceramic sculptures and get their faces painted with live music by the duo Paradocx.
Kira Essig, 13, was able to showcase and sell her work at the market, encouraging her to continue her passion. Kira has been practicing her artistic skills for as long as she can remember, with inspiration stemming from her uncle’s drawings.
“She first picked up a pencil to draw when she was 2 years old,” remembered Christina Essig, Kira’s mother. “She loves it. We began collecting her work to create a portfolio when she was in third grade.”
Kira was able to teach herself by practicing and watching Youtube videos. When she isn’t creating art, she is teaching it to her family and friends.
“They usually start off thinking they aren’t capable, but I keep encouraging and show them things I have learned, and they eventually make really good progress,” she said.
Kira hopes to sell her work online to a wider audience.
Alexandria author, Allison Bakkum, had a booth to promote and sell her book children’s book “My Mud Kitchen is Rad,”
“It was such an exceptional event,” said Bakkum, “The turnout was outstanding and really helped promote the book!”
There are two print versions of the book — one in a traditional font and the other in OpenDyslexic font, designed to help readers with dyslexia.
Seykora hopes that there could be a grandstand added to the park to add more musical and theater performances to the market in the future.
To get involved with the Art Market, contact Merodie Seykora through her and her husband’s Facebook page, Facebook.com/turninglakedesigns, or at 320-760-1727.