The Downtown Arts Market will introduce a variety of culture to goers in June, as the event returns for the second year to the Hansen Arts Park on Thursday evenings starting June 6.
With the theme “Cultural Kaleidoscope,” each of the Markets in June will have some unique cultural aspect, said Sally Jeppson, Arts Center gallery manager.
“We’re trying to infuse it with some cultural aspects, so you’re getting cultural experience as well as just other musical” experiences, Jeppson said. “The Arts Center has a history of doing culture festivals and we wanted to bring more of that in for the summer.”
African Arts Arena is one of those planned cultural experiences that will perform Thursday.
“They are a nonprofit group out of Grand Forks who specializes in traditional African drumming, storytelling and dancing,” Jeppson said.
Audience participation is part of the performance, added Mindi Schmitz, executive director of The Arts Center.
African Arts Arena will also perform for residents of Ave Maria Village and the Heritage Centre at 2 p.m. the same day as part of the Arts for Life program, Jeppson said.
The Gina Powers Band, an alternate country/Americana/mixed genre band from Fargo, will perform following African Arts Arena. Along with arts activities with Linda Roesch, food and artisan vendors are also expected to be on hand and to grow in number as the Markets continue through August.
June Markets will include some type of dance component, Jeppson said. East Indian dancing and Northern Plains Dance Company are featured in the June 13 and June 20 Markets, respectively.
“We wanted to have movement and activity as well as people sitting and listening and enjoying and socializing,” Jeppson said. “They can get up and move, too.”
A grant funded last year’s Downtown Arts Market series. This year, Schmitz said sponsors “really came through,” from businesses to individuals, to support the continuation of the Market.
“The community just really liked it,” Schmitz said. She is experiencing the Market this year for the first time as The Arts Center’s executive director, having taken the position earlier this year.
She said the support and interest of the community in the event have been “pretty overwhelming, actually.”
Hundreds attended the individual Markets last year including from the surrounding area, Schmitz said. Jeppson said that attendance remained consistent throughout the season. Some people come and go, while others stay for the whole evening.
“I think our whole summer has a great lineup,” Schmitz said. “... We’ve consciously did programming that would relate to what was in the gallery, and so each week there’s a different theme, and each month that theme runs throughout. We’ve got a great lineup - a lot of different entertainment and artists, and it should be something for everybody throughout the summer.”
In the event of inclement weather, the Markets will move indoors to the Arts Center. Last year, only one event moved inside. If attending, lawn chairs, blankets, sunscreen and umbrellas are recommended.
Ultimately, Schmitz hopes that the Downtown Arts Markets will also grow membership at the Arts Center.
“I think that the cultural experience that we can provide our community is invaluable,” Schmitz said. “A tangible thing is I’d like to translate it into people thinking that the Arts Center is very important to our community and become members.”
Their membership commitment helps the program and to provide experiences for the community, she said.
Jeppson said the Market has the ability to translate into a greater awareness about The Arts Center.
“It seems amazing that it’s been here for 50 years but there is still people in the community that goes ‘Where’s The Arts Center? I didn’t know we had this,’’’ she said.
Last year, the Downtown Arts Market brought people into The Arts Center, Jeppson said.
“It’s like the outdoor activity brings awareness to what’s happening in the building.”
If you go
What: Downtown Arts Market
When: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays, June 6-Aug. 29
Where: Hansen Arts Park, downtown Jamestown
Admission: free; vendor prices vary
June 6: Gina Powers Band; African Arts Arena
June 13: Deb Jenkins Band; Margreat Sam
June 20: Ryan Keplin Band; Northern Plains Dance Company
June 27: Open Mic Night; Stevie K & Friends
June 6 Market timeline
*5:30-5:45 to 6:15 p.m.: African Arts Arena performs
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Gina Powers Band
Throughout the event: arts activities with artist Linda Roesch