A pop-up Holiday Art Market opened Dec. 7 at the corner of Center Point Way and Market Street West, fulfilling the vision of local shopkeepers, city staff, the Kentlands Community Foundation and Kimco Realty. My Big Finds owner Jodi Rapaport, Arts on the Green Art Education Coordinator Jaree Donnelly, former Kentlands Community Foundation Executive Director Mariann Zylstra, and Kimco Realty’s Kat Kaufman worked for months to create a new kind of gallery—one that showcases the work of local artists and operates as a non-profit.
It has been a grassroots effort, one that organizers believe will draw people to Market Square and perhaps be another step toward creating an arts district in Kentlands. Opening as the Holiday Art Market, the gallery is sponsored by the Kentlands Community Foundation and hosted by Kimco. Organizers hope that in the coming months, the gallery may transform into an artists’ collective.
Situated in the former Persiano Gallery location, the space is perfect for an art gallery, explained Donnelly. Its 2,000-plus square feet features wood floors and windows on two sides that let in lots of natural light. The pop-up hopes to operate in the location for at least a year.
Zylstra explained that the gallery ties into all three tenets of the Foundation by bringing cultural opportunities to the community, encouraging a vibrant and vital downtown Kentlands, and perhaps even encouraging volunteerism through gallery hours. The Foundation is supporting the gallery so that the community and artists might profit. “It really does take a village,” Zylstra said.
Exhibiting artists rotate depending on their availability, meaning that shoppers will find new creations from week to week. Opening night featured artists from the Art League of Germantown—Jeanne Sullivan (collage and knitted goods), Terry Lynch (carved wooden boxes), Hiral Joshi (mixed media), and Sheryl Winans (jewelry). “Quite talented artists have come to join us,” Donnelly said. The space can accommodate up to 12 artists, she added, and “We have plenty of room.”
Donnelly is working on turning the market into an artists’ collective for the coming year. The collective would take a commission on works sold, but this would be low, Donnelly said, just enough to cover expenses like insurance, credit card fees and administrative supplies. Each artist would be asked to take a shift at the gallery.
The Holiday Art Market is open weekends: 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. “We’re hoping to create a boutique corridor” with My Big Finds on Market Street West, Donnelly said. Evening hours are a perfect browsing opportunity for people who are dining at area restaurants.