The laughter of kids drawing on the sidewalk with chalk and the mellow tones from one piece of a jazz trio fill the air mixed with the steady lull of shoppers chatting with local artists filled the air in downtown Victoria Saturday morning.

With the historic Victoria Bank & Trust murals as a backdrop, the Victoria Main Street Program was poised to fill the space with local artists from all across the Crossroads as part if its inaugural Artisan Market.

“We have woodworkers, watercolor artists, a spray paint artist who is doing art on site, a candle borer, jewelry makers and even Gulf Breeze Winery,” said Danielle Williams, the executive director of the Victoria Main Street Program. “It’s been incredible and people have really turned out.”

Artists from different parts of South Texas traveled to greet the patrons on Main Street, including Nicole Jackson, of Gonzales who woke up at 5:30 a.m. to pack up her creations and drive to Victoria for the event.

“I prepped for about two weeks after hearing about this market because I was excited to come and share my work,” said Jackson, the owner of The Mary Magpie, a shop for custom intricate wood ornaments, signs and trinkets. “I do this full time, so events like this are lifesavers.”

Working closely with her husband Michael Jackson to run the shop, she said she is happy to be selling her art to people in person again, as the pandemic has canceled most of the events she usually attends.

“I have a marketplace on Facebook, but that is so-so,” Jackson said. “It so nice to be able to add a little backstory to the item for shoppers. I’ll tell them about my inspiration for making it or that ‘oh, I cut my finger making that darn thing,’ — it’s just so much more personal.”

The distinct sound and smell of spray paint came from Daniel Decker’s booth where he was taking requests and creating colorful pieces of art using stencils and the light breeze blowing through the lot.

“This event is awesome because it really gives him an outlet and we always try to support that,” said Renia Moore, Decker’s cousin who drove nearly two hours from Katy to help with the event.

Decker, donning a flat-billed Bob Ross hat, drew groups of visitors to watch him create his pieces in real-time, creating radiant depictions of space, planets and superheros.

Williams said the event benefited other businesses in the proximity to the market and she is hopefully other businesses in the area will take note.

“They have had a really good turnout at Vela’s Farm and the people at Texan Books across the street were just overjoyed with the amount of foot traffic they had today,” Williams said. “Hopefully I can convince a couple more of these businesses down here to be open during the next market.”

She plans to hold more Artisan Market events on the third Saturday during the months of March, April, May, November and December. The next one will be Dec. 19, the Saturday before Christmas.

“It’ll kind of be like a last chance for people to come shop for some really unique items before the Christmas holiday,” Williams said. “It will be good because we want to encourage people to shop local this holiday season, especially this year as COVID-19 has not made it easier on these artists.”

Chase Rogers covers breaking news and public safety for The Victoria Advocate. He can be reached at 361-574-1286, or on Twitter.

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