6:17 am
Mon April 15, 2013

High Point Arts Market: Establishing a Tradition

If David Briggs' idea comes to complete fruition, High Point is just beginning to establish a future arts tradition.


High Point Theater Director (and the driving force behind the High Point Arts Market) David Briggs
High Point Theater Director (and the driving force behind the High Point Arts Market) David Briggs
Credit photo by Steve Biddle - WFDD

High Point Theater Director David Briggs came to town a few years ago.  And right there, in front of the theater, was a place called the Mendenhall Transportation Terminal, which looked to Briggs like a perfect venue for... something.  It was being underutilized.  But this past Saturday, that changed.

"This is the first High Point Arts Market, Briggs says, "It's a juried art event; it's really high-quality arts and crafts. This week a lot of our artists were committed to other, bigger shows, but for an inaugural event everybody's doing well.  We've had good traffic.  It's actually the Saturday before (High Point Furniture) Market, so we've had a lot of folks who have come to set up for Market, both buyers and sellers and the craftspeople, so they're getting a chance to see this wonderful artwork also."

Among the works of art were meticulously crafted woodwork by a Thomasville man who identified himself as Bobby.  He's a Civil War re-enactor, who bases some of his artwork on his fascination with that era. "My woodcarving, my walking sticks, my love spoons, and my birdhouses are all handmade," he explains.

And next door to Bobby was Dante, who creates necklaces, bracelets and earrings from antique coins. "All this turquoise is mixed with Buffalo nickels, half dollars," Dante points out, "And some foreign coins. That's from Chile... Panama," he says as he indicates each piece.

Briggs worked with HIPAN... the  High Point Artists Network, The High Point Arts Council, and Theatre Art Galleries to get the show off the ground.  The first one started smaller than expected, with only about half a dozen artisans... but the Market was competing with the much larger and more established arts and crafts show in Greensboro... and there's a great deal of optimism about the future of the event.  The High Point Arts Market is modeled on one in Baton Rouge, where Briggs lived before coming to High Point.

"In Baton Rouge, we had the Baton Rouge Arts Market, and it was actually done in conjunction with a farmers' market," he says. "We don't have the farmers' market component here -- yet -- but we do have this wonderful group of artisans that are willing to participate with it, and hopefully it'll just grow and grow and become a monthly event."

There's likely to be entertainment and other attractions added as the market grows.  High Point Art Market will be held the second Saturday of each month, as well as the first three Saturdays in December, at the Mendenhall Transportation Terminal on Commerce Street in front of the High Point Theater. The Market will not operate in January and February.