With infection rates dropping and vaccine levels soaring, community events are starting to return to the capital city.
On Saturday morning, a line of tents popped up along the brickyard downtown as vendors and shoppers met under misty skies at one of the first outdoor art events of the summer — the Fresh Air Market, sponsored by the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council.
Vendor Kelsey Hoke Martin said that about 20 people had stopped by her booth in the first half-hour of business.
“I think it will pick up as people get coffee and stroll over,” she said.
Martin said that she relocated from North Carolina to Juneau last year and that she’s been busy creating paintings that reflect local landscapes.
“It feels great to be out here,” Martin said, adding that she’s eagerly awaiting the return of large-ship cruise passengers.
An opportunity to create
At a nearby booth, artists Sydney and Spike Bauer were busy putting the final touches on their Musical Menagerie booth.
“We’ve been doing a lot of creating,” said Sydney Bauer, as she showed off her wares. She explained that local art fairs represent the bulk of her selling opportunities and that the absence of public markets during COVID-19, plus the extra time she had available over the last year, resulted in “a lot of new creations.”
Sydney Bauer creates iconic Alaskan images using musical notes.
“Every line, every stroke, is a different musical note,” said Spike Bauer, as Sydney joked that he is her chief sales representative.
Sydney Bauer’s work was recently featured as a Fan Favorite on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” after she shared a sample of her work with the show’s bandleader, Jon Batiste, on social media. She said the experience has led to an uptick in online interest in her work but that her heart is still invested in selling locally at art fairs.
Having an abundance of work to sell was a sentiment shared by potter Linda Vallie.
Vallie said that Saturday’s market was her first post-COVID event though she had sold pieces through Panhandle Produce during the community event hiatus.
“It feels really good to be back out,” she said, sharing that she was a little surprised by the number of things she had with her as she set up Saturday morning.
Selling for a cause
At the Switzer Village Recreation Hall, eager shoppers combed through donated goods at a make-a-donation style garage sale to support Juneau’s Helping Hands Food Bank.
Toys, furniture, clothes and kitchen items were all available.
Organizer Karen Fortwengler said that volunteers run both the food bank and the sale and that all money raised from the sale will support operations at the food bank.
She said that the need for food remains high and that the food bank is serving about 100 individuals a week, many of whom have families fed from supplies picked up from Helping Hands.
Fortwengler said that she plans to host additional garage sale-based fundraisers this summer. She said Christmas and other holiday items will be featured at the July 10 sale, which will take place at the Switzer Village Recreation Hall.
“We will even have Christmas trees,” she said.