What: Downtown Arts Market

When: 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, June 6 through Aug. 29

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Where: Hansen Arts Park

Admission: Free

More info: Contact Mindi Schmitz at 251-2496

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The Jamestown Arts Center is seeking funding to bring the Downtown Arts Market back to Jamestown this summer, after receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from event-goers last summer, said Mindi Schmitz, executive director of the Arts Center.

“It was an overwhelming response from the community with expectations that we will do it again this summer,” said Sally Jeppson, gallery manager for the Arts Center. “A lot of the performers want to come back, too. They enjoyed it, they liked the outdoor venue.”

Last summer, the Downtown Arts Market featured live music, entertainment, artisan vendors and arts activities every Thursday evening in the Hansen Arts Park in Jamestown. The event was free to the public.

“What was really striking is that there were so many people who came up after the market last year and said, ‘Wow, this is incredible, I don’t feel like I’m in Jamestown … please don’t stop, we love this,’” Jeppson said. “But yet, the reality is it’s costly. It’s wonderful to have it free, and we’d like to keep it free, but we need people to support it.”

While the Arts Center anticipates receiving some grant funding for the event this summer, it will be at least $10,000 less than last year because certain grants are no longer available, Schmitz said. The Arts Center intends to fill that gap with local sponsorships.

“We need businesses and individuals to sponsor the Downtown Arts Market,” Schmitz said.

The Arts Center is offering three levels of sponsorship - $1,000, $500 or $250 - that will come with varying levels of recognition for the sponsor. The Arts Center is also seeking volunteers to assist with various aspects of the event.

With enough funding, the Arts Center plans to offer the Downtown Arts Market at the Hansen Arts Park every Thursday evening from June 6 to Aug. 29. It also plans to make the event free to the public like last year.

“There will be two musical acts or performance acts, an opener and then a closing band,” said Jeppson. “While all of that is going on, there are arts activities, and there are vendors.

“When people come, they can listen to music, they can grab something to eat, they can wander around, they can purchase some art.”

Each month will have a different art theme. June’s theme is “Cultural Kaleidoscope” featuring West African and East Indian music and art. July’s theme is “Celebrate Sweethearts” featuring local painters, songwriters and polka dancers. August’s theme is “Community Favorites” featuring blues, rock ‘n’ roll and Dixieland music and North Dakota produce.

There will be activities for both adults and children, including some dance performers who encourage audience participation, Schmitz said.

The Arts Center will also partner with Two Rivers Activity Center to provide a group fitness class like zumba in the park during the event.  The Arts Center will continue to partner with the Jamestown Downtown Association, Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce and Jamestown Tourism in order to maximize the event’s impact on the community.

“When (Hansen Arts Park) was conceived, the vision of the board and the stakeholders was always that it would be something bigger than the Arts Center and for the community,” Jeppson said.

While designed for the community as a whole, the Downtown Arts Market has also helped to raise awareness about the Art Center and its galleries, which remain open during the event.

“It was phenomenal because people would come in and see the galleries and they’d go, ‘Can we go in there?’” Jeppson said. “And so many people would say, ‘Oh, I didn’t even know this was here, and I’ve lived here 20 years.’”

For more information about sponsorship, volunteer opportunities or the Downtown Arts Market, contact Schmitz at 251-2496.