New farmers market plans to offer veggies and art

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | 5:00 p.m. CDT; updated 9:20 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 11, 2011

COLUMBIA — The city may already have art fairs and farmers markets, but come June, the two will merge.

The North Village Arts District plans to host a farmers market each Sunday in the parking lot of the city-owned Wabash Station on Tenth Street. This would not be your average farmers market, though. Among the locally grown fruits and vegetables, art vendors will sell their creations.

The Columbia City Council still needs to approve the market and the location, but Community Events founder Sean Spence was confident this is what Columbia needs to showcase the wide range of artistic talents.

“We have world-class art galleries and world-class businesses that should be attracting people from all over the country,” Spence said. “The farmers market helps us highlight these incredible businesses and gives one more reason for people to visit.”

Assuming the project is confirmed, the market would begin operating in late June and run through November. Lisa Bartlett, owner of Artlandish Gallery, is a member of the board of the North Village Arts District. She said the hope is that the market will draw in church crowds and those spending Sunday afternoons downtown.

“We have this whole group within this few block radius and we’re really hoping to make this area a destination, so we thought a farmers market would be good,” Bartlett said. “We’re hoping that people will leave church and they’ll be able to eat, be entertained, shop for veggies and look at artwork.”

In the central area, Bartlett said there are multiple film and dance companies, art galleries, nightclubs, yoga centers and more. One of the market's goals is to help community members discover all of the arts that are prominent downtown.

The market is designed for 30 vendors, farmers or artists to sell their products. As it develops, Spence said, it will hopefully expand to include even more.

John Ott, another member of the North Village Arts District, said it made sense to host this type of market downtown at the Wabash location. He hopes people will spend more time in the art district and take advantage of the talent in Columbia.

“There’s no doubt that the quality of life is enhanced when people take advantage of the arts in their community,” Ott said. 

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