King Street Art Market showcases local artists through end of June

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Lily Kincaid

Jacob Moore (left) and Alex Woodbury (right), joined by a third musician, performing outside of the art market.

Lily Kincaid, Reporter

Between face painting, live music and people dancing on the sidewalks, the King Street Art Market made downtown Boone feel a little more like its old self over the first weekend of June.

Curio and the Watauga Arts Council organized the pop-up art market, which began during the First Friday Art Crawl June 4.

The event featured artwork from around 20 local artists across a variety of mediums. The items for sale included digital prints, resin pieces, zines, jewelry, clothing and houseplants. 

Along with the vendors, the King Street Art Market featured live music and demonstrations from some of the artists. 

“We’re pretty excited about just the camaraderie and the energy and the positive nature of what that event has done,” Bateman said. 

While the event only lasted the weekend, many artists chose to leave their artwork up at the King Street Art Collective until the end of June, and they are still accepting new artists, Bateman said. 

Bunny Eaton and Ben Loomis, creators of the Curio Machine, worked with Bateman to find a way to allow artists to engage with the community and sell their art, Bateman said, which is when they crafted the idea for the King Street Art Market. 

“We had the idea for the event just to do our part to help the world wake back up and show that art on King Street is accessible to everyone,” Loomis said. 

Eaton described Loomis and herself as organizers within Boone’s art community, which she said is a personal accomplishment they wanted this event to reflect.

“We’ve managed to meet so many fantastic artists throughout this process in the past year or so,” Eaton said. “That event was a really great way for us to put our work on display. Our work, in my opinion, being bringing people together and also bridging the gap between the university art scene and the local art scene.”

Elizabeth Walton, a metalsmithing and jewelry design student at App State and owner of Red Ren Jewelry, said she’d love to see Boone’s community of artists benefit from the pop-up market.

“I’m excited that these are happening again,” Walton said. “It’s cool to see these collective efforts grow.”

Art vending has historically been a large part of Boone’s culture, and Loomis and Eaton said they wanted the market to encourage others to be a part of it. 

The pair said Curio offers a space for artists and writers, both amateur and professional, to distribute their art and get involved in local vending.

Artists in the High Country can create an artist profile through the Watauga Arts Council website, which is how the organizers of the event found artists to participate, said Amber Bateman, director of the Watauga Arts Council. 

“Anybody who wants to sell their work or distribute their work or call themselves an artist: if you won’t give yourself permission, we will give you permission,” Eaton said. “Come sell your stuff.”