On July 19, the Ithaca Farmers Market’s pavilion on Cayuga Lake will be filled with artists instead of its usual vendors, as the 29th Annual Ithaca Artist Market displays the work of 75 local artists in booths filled with paintings, sculptures, jewelry, books, and more.
After 125 artists applied to be considered for the show, 75 were selected to present and sell their work to the public. Graphic designers, books, etchings, and even furniture are among the crafts that will be presented, and attendees will be able to speak with the artists about the work they are selling.
The market started in the early 1990s, and has continued to grow since then. Robin Schwartz, program director of the Community Arts Partnership, has helped organize the market for 25 years and praised the uniqueness of both Ithaca’s overall art scene and the experience of shopping at the market itself.
“I think that when people buy art, it’s kind of an elevated experience in getting to know the artists,” Schwartz said. “And meeting them is all part of that experience.”
Other artists, like Marie Sanderson and Annie Zygarowicz, will be participating in the Artist Market for the first time this year.
“We spent time today measuring the booth, planning our displays, and conferring on what we’ll be displaying,” Sanderson, a watercolor artist, said.
Zygarowicz, a freelance illustrator and graphic artist, described the process of organizing and planning for the market, detailed down to a sketch of the best way to showcase their art pieces. The two artists, who are members of the same art collective, will share a booth on Sunday.
Christi Sobel, vice president of the Ithaca Farmers’ Market, said the group is pleased to be co-hosting the event with the Community Arts Partnership for the first time this year. Sobel, a longtime vendor with the Farmers’ Market, has also participated in the Artists Market for years.
Sobel appreciated that the artists in the market are different than the ones who regularly appear at the Farmers’ Market, describing the Artist Market as “your one chance a year to find them.” Sobel, who will present nature art, also said that the once-a-year event is an opportunity to be more experimental, and sell pieces she doesn’t usually display at the regular Farmers’ Market.
"This is an amazing annual event," Schwartz said. "The Farmers’ Market's open-air structure on Cayuga Lake's inlet is beautiful. Music will be playing, there's plenty of food and wine and beer, and visitors can take their time looking at the art and meeting all the artists, all carefully juried into the show. Each year I am reminded that the artist talent we have in Tompkins County is truly outstanding.”
Market sales last year totaled in at $57,690, according to data provided by Schwartz, a number that has grown steadily over the years. Only 2 percent of artists made no sales during the market, and the average sale per artist was around $700 over the past five years.
The market will include longtime attendees who have been part of the market since its inception, like Jim Burlitch, a fine art photographer.
Burlitch, who had just printed a “light writing” image called “Creation” for the market when interviewed, said the most exciting part of preparing for the market is finding new images. For him, part of the joy of the market comes from simply seeing the reactions of the visitors of his booth.
“Of course, I like to sell my work,” Burlitch added.