Downtown arts market expanding the suburbs

    The popular monthly Baton Rouge Arts Market, held on the first Saturday of the month at the downtown Main Street Market, is expanding to Jefferson Highway with an arts market to be held on the third Saturday of the month.

    The new market is the result of a partnership between the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, producer of the monthly market, and The Arc of Baton Rouge, a nonprofit organization that serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    The market will be held in the parking lot of The Arc’s new headquarters building on Jefferson Highway, between Parkview Baptist School and Stumberg Lane, and will include 12 or so artists, who regularly participate in the downtown market, as well as client/artists of the Arc, whose work is produced at the organization’s day programs.

    Additionally, works produced through the Capable Arts Camp, a program of the McMains Children’s Developmental Center, will also be on display and available for sale.

    The expansion of the monthly arts market is a move Arts Council Executive Director Renee Chatelain has wanted to make for a long time, and she and Arc Executive Director Susanne Romig have long discussed it, she says, as The Arc always had a booth at the downtown arts market. When The Arc relocated much of its staff and programming to its new headquarters building earlier this summer, the timing seemed right.

    “It is going to be such a great fit to have this location on Jefferson because it will bring the arts market to an entirely new part of the city and make it available to people who, maybe, don’t want to go all the way downtown,” she says. “Hopefully, it will also open workforce development opportunities for The Arc’s clients and become a revenue generator for the organization.”

    Under the terms of the deal, the Arts Council will produce the show for the first year, much as it does downtown, selecting artists through a jury process and collecting vendor fees from participating artists. In the second year, it will split the fees with The Arc. In year three, The Arc will collect all the fees.

    Artists keep the proceeds from any works they sell.

    For The Arc, which has struggled to provide services to a needy population amidst dwindling public revenue sources and increasing costs, the social enterprise the arts market represents is a promising development, Romig says.

    “We’re going to start small,” she says. “But we’re really excited and encouraged about what this could mean for the artists, our clients, and the neighborhood.”  

    The new market kicks off Saturday, Sept. 21.

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