Creative Life in the Gateway Arts District
One of the best parts about working with Art Lives Here partners is seeing the creative ideas proposed back in January start to come to life. Nothing has been so rewarding as watching the growth and development of the Gateway Community Development Corporation‘s Route 1 Farmer’s Market and Bazaar. What started out as a seed of an idea, has quickly blossomed over the past month under the careful watch of Executive Director Carole Bernard, her dedicated team and an incredible collection of artists and volunteers.
So it’s with great enthusiasm that I’ve been following the Route 1 Farmers Market & Bazaar on Facebook. It’s here that you can see the documentation of the transformations taking place. What was once an empty auto lot and ignored field has turned into something totally different.
The Route 1 Farmers Market & Bazaar is not your average market. In fact this creative placemaking venture blows the sleepy upstate farm stands of my youth out of the water. Gateway Community Development Corporation has created so much more than an environmentally friendly, shop-local effort for the summer. They’ve pulled on the Gateway Arts District’s greatest resource to give this market lasting transformative effects, our artists.
The Route 1 Farmers Market & Bazaar blog says it best: “Local farms, vendors and artists are invited to participate in our efforts to improve the quality of life for the residential, business and artist communities by activating this space with a community revitalization project that integrates the arts. The market will provide access to fresh produce, family activities for all ages, and handmade products from regional crafters and artists. The market looks to serve the diverse communities of the surrounding towns.”
However as any local to the DC-MD-VA area can attest, introducing arts and crafts vendors to a new farmers market is not an original idea nor an easy feat, especially with giants like Eastern Market just a hop, skip and a jump away. So what makes the Route 1 Farmers Market & Bazaar different? It listens to the community.
Back in April, Huffington Post writer Troy Campbell, a Social Scientist from Duke University, wrote “Ask People About What They Love, Not What They Do“. He writes, “Philosophers and psychologists often ponder the question, ‘Who are we?’ Consumer researchers have found the answer to this question is very much reflected and expressed through what we consume.” The Gateway Community Development Corporation asked the Gateway Arts District, “what do you love” and through the Route 1 Farmers Market & Bazaar, attempts to serve the community.
Thus we get community-sourced projects like Gleaning the Rains: Performance artist and local resident J.J. McCracken collaborates with Red Dirt Studio’s Margaret Boozer to address site-specific/local and broader issues of stormwater management with their project, Gleaning the Rains. Together with Catalog Brewing’s Patrick McDonough & Kenny George, plus a team of students and interns, McCracken and Boozer transform a hitch trailer into a mobile rainwater collection unit for the market site.
And Sunflower Fields: “Michael Turner, resident of Gateway Arts District, will be planting a small field of sunflowers produced June to October will effect to the observer yellow-a-plenty, not at foot level, but high up at eye level or higher! Observers are encouraged to walk among them and get lost a little if they can. The sunflower field will function to provide pollinator-insects and feasting birds space to be, and a draw to humans (who like flowers).”
With family-friendly opportunities every Saturday for people of all shapes and sizes to create and move with local artists and a date-perfect Twilight Market the first Friday of every month (except July), the Route 1 Farmers Market & Bazaar is not your average market.