Artists will sell their arts and crafts in full force in Victoria on Saturday at the downtown Artisan Market and the opening day of the annual Victoria Art League Christmas Bazaar.

“I wanted to focus more on handmade and homegrown items, and a lot of downtown business owners and board members wanted to implement this type of event that focuses more on the arts,” said Danielle Williams, executive director of Victoria’s Main Street Program, about the Artisan Market. “We felt like we have a rich arts and culture community and wanted to showcase that. So we put together this little market.”

The market will have a maximum of 30 art vendors for an intimate feel and will continue to take place every third Saturday of the month for six months out of the year. Next year, the market will be held in March, April, May, October, November and December when the weather tends to be nice, Williams said.

The market focuses entirely on the arts unlike the prior Main Street Market Days. Williams also moved the market from DeLeon Plaza to the parking lot on Main Street behind the Coffee Box for more synergy with local businesses in that area of downtown including Moonshine Drinkery, Huvar’s Artisan Market, Vela Farms, Bethune and Son, and Texian Books.

Claudia Quintero, a local artist and art instructor at Victoria College and the University of Houston-Victoria, will sell her small paintings and hand-drawn postcards at the market. Her subjects are mostly coastal birds such as gulls and herons and sea life.

“(It’s appealing) because it’s outdoors, for one thing, and I also really appreciated the fact that the merchandise must be handmade in order to get in,” Quintero said. “It’s a great way to support local artists right now with not a lot of venues to sell our work with the lockdown. A lot of indoor craft fairs have been canceled, so it’s nice to have a place where people feel safer.”

Cody Haubert will sell primarily handmade jewelry at the market. She works mainly with polymer clay, yarn, embroidery and beads. Her jewelry ranges from pom-pom earrings and felt fruit earrings to embroidery work and beaded facemask chains. She normally has to travel to markets in Austin and San Antonio, so having this art market in Victoria is welcome.

“I like the whole handmade aspect of this market,” she said. “We need more things like this in Victoria — a bigger art scene. I know a lot of people who would like to be involved, and hopefully the market will spur that to happen, even though it’s hard with COVID-19.”

Artist Gail Dentler will sell her watercolor illustrations, 18-by-18-inch pillow covers made from fabric she designed and tea towels at the market.

“You have to put yourself out there as an artist before people know you’re there,” Dentler said. “(With the market), the downtown people do a lot of the marketing for you, so it’s easier to affiliate with them as an artist than it is to open up a store.”

The Victoria Art League Christmas Bazaar likely will feature the art and crafts of about 30 of its approximate 100 artist members, said Bill Bauer, chairman of the event. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds will go back to the art league to help with operating expenses.

The market will sell Christmas wreaths, ornaments and hand-painted cards in addition to other gift items such as pottery, paintings and wooden art.

“I try to encourage people to come and see our historic building and browse around in our nice, serene environment,” Bauer said. “Just being there is half the fun.”

Nancie Mayer will sell Christmas wreaths, ornaments and wooden lanterns that take battery-operated candles.

“If you’re into unique homemade and handmade (gifts), we are all artists of some sort and a lot of us are crafty also,” Mayer said. “There will be a good variety of handmade stuff.”

Claire Santellana, owner of an art instruction company, Art to Finish Studio, who teaches art at the Nave Museum on Saturdays, will sell Christmas cards at the bazaar. She works primarily in graphite pencil, colored pencil and watercolors.

“I’m hoping to get my name out there with my business and sell some cards to support the Art League,” Santellana said. “The Art League turns into a winter wonderland during this time in its pretty historic building. It’s a pretty place to check out local artists and their crafts, and find some good Christmas gifts.”

Elena Anita Watts covers arts, culture and entertainment for the Victoria Advocate. 

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