Market in the Park aims to return bigger and better next spring

Musicians perform at Market in the Park in Page on Friday.

The last Market in the Park of 2021 was held last Friday at John C. Page Park, but the monthly event will be back next spring and will be stronger than ever, according to Maschelle Zia, president of Grand Circle Arts Alliance.

The market – a cooperative effort between Grand Circle Arts Alliance and Page Farmer’s Market – is held on the first Friday of the month. Last week’s market featured about 10 vendors, as well as live performances by local musicians.  

“This is just a small sampling of the artists in this town. There are so many people doing such amazing artwork, we can’t wait until next spring. Probably in April – we want the weather to warm up enough,” Zia said. 

Once the market is revived, it will again be held monthly, but if interest grows, it could potentially become a weekly event.

“As a revenue maker for our nonprofit, it’s not really,” Zia said. “It’s really just about getting people started in their art, and for us to be able to make that a draw for people – and not just our community but, obviously, the visitors.”

She said the alliance wants to support local art not only in Page but also in the whole Grand Circle region, including the Navajo Nation. 

“We have met many wonderful artists (in the Navajo Nation), but they’re not able to do this yet because they don’t have their business license,” Zia said, adding that having a business license is a requirement to participate in the market. 

“It’s really an easy process to get your license, it shouldn’t be so intimidating,” she said. “We’re working with the city to put on the markets, and we’ve agreed that all of our members would have their tax license. We’re working to get folks up to speed on that.”

Toward that end, the alliance is working with another organization to help people living in the Navajo Nation get their business licenses. 

“You have to have an actual residence, and that’s one of the things that holds up artists living on the reservation, the residential issue, the address, so we’re going to be holding a workshop over the winter to just sit down with them with a computer,” Zia said.

While plans are being made for next spring’s market, closer at hand is the Balloon Regatta and Vendor Fair on Nov. 5 and 6, where the alliance will set up the Grand Circle Arts Gallery.

“All of our members will be able to have space in there. We got two separate 10-by-10 spots, so we’ll just have one canopy over the two spots and have a gallery in there with as many of our members that want to vend their art,” Zia said, adding, “Some of our musician members will also be playing at the Balloon Regatta.”

She said that since the start of the COVID pandemic, the alliance has been trying to find more outlets to sell art in Page. The organization now has partnerships with Hyatt Place and Atomic Art Gallery, and is working on more. 

The alliance also organizes a jam night for musicians at Gone West family restaurant, held on the first Sunday of every month from 6 to 8 p.m. 

Grand Circle Arts Alliance was founded in the spring of 2019 by Zia and Jim Hickman. There are currently around 40 paid members

“We’re a really small group of volunteers,” Zia said.

“Outreach is one of the things we’ve really been suffering in – our outreach and our social media presence. That’s something we would love to have if anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer and becoming a member of our group. We just need to get the word out. People just need to know that this is an opportunity for artists.” 

As for Market in the Park, Zia said she would eventually like to see John C. Page Park full of vendors and people.

“We’re small but we keep growing just a little bit and a little bit, and we think if we can just hang in there, other people are going to gradually come,” Zia said. 

“The city has worked with us to try to get more activity here in the park. They would like to build a big amphitheater, so our organization, our music director, has been working with them from the beginning to help them find music for the Balloon Regatta, for other events. They really want the park to take off in that way.”

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