ivoh local conversation inspires painter to organize an art market
Sherry Funt came up with the idea for her first “pop-up art market” after attending an ivoh event in Miami. She’s pictured here, second from left, talking with other attendees in a small group discussion at the event. (Photo taken by Away Ken Studios.)
Sherry Funt, a painter, has been thinking a lot lately about how to bring artists and community members together. Last month, she put her thoughts into action by organizing a “pop-up art market” to make it easier for artists to not just showcase their work but interact with local community members.
The event — held April 23 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Cafe Cita in Aventura, Florida — attracted seven artists and about 60 residents from the Miami area.
Funt said fostering a sense of community was key. “People are lonely these days, and I think they need to feel connected; they need to know they have friends where they live and that they can meet new friends — that they’re not isolated,” she said by phone.
Funt got the idea for the art market after attending an Images & Voices of Hope (ivoh) event in March. The event — which featured guest speakers Thom Collins and Amy Rosenberg — focused on how the arts can create positive change. During the event, ivoh leaders asked participants to separate into small groups and answer questions such as “How have the arts and your art influenced your life?” and “How might we expand the influence of the arts in the communities where we live, work, play and learn?”
It was while answering these questions that Funt started to think about how she could make an impact on the local arts community. Building off the idea of farmers markets, Funt thought about creating a pop-up art market that would be free, casual and relaxing — a place where people in the community could share their interest in art and leave feeling inspired.
Soon after the ivoh event, Funt started planning; she contacted local artists, spread the word, and found a venue — Cafe Cita.
The night of the event, Cafe Cita was transformed into a makeshift gallery. Much of the art was displayed on easels inside and outside of the restaurant; other pieces were displayed in more creative spots. Funt, for instance, hung one of her paintings on a rack of potato chip bags.
“I didn’t know where else to put it,” Funt said, laughing. “The artists loved the art market; a few did sell their work and many of them gave out their cards. I had more artists who wanted to come, but there was only so much room.”
Local community members, meanwhile, had the opportunity to talk with the artists about their work, listen to live music, and enjoy dinner together. The market made Funt realize that there’s a need for events that make artists and art more accessible. The response was so positive, she said, that she plans to hold other pop-up art markets throughout the Miami area.
One of the attendees told her he thought the pop-up art market was “just what Aventura needed to bring community back to the city.”
Overall, Funt said, the event had the impact she hoped it would.
“When people left, they felt very connected to the community — and upbeat. It was a very positive feeling.”
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