Location, location, location.
That’s the problem plaguing the open-air artists’ market that has occupied and lost two different prime corners along North Highland Avenue. The weekends-only market needs yet another Virginia Highland parcel if it expects to re-open for a third season as soon as March.
“The market brought foot traffic and a lot of energy to both the neighborhood and to businesses here,” said Janet Armell, owner of , on Virginia Avenue. “I also loved the fact that it has helped support our local artists. So I hope they find a new spot, but I’m not sure where that could be.”
Hosting 10 to 23 artists selling their creations in open-tent spaces, the Virginia-Highland market in 2009 set up on the southeast corner of North Highland and Virginia Avenues. When Shaun Doty’s came to that corner, the market relocated for the 2010 season to the long-vacant lot at 1199 North Highland Avenue (corner of Amsterdam Avenue).
But Scott Stern, the owner of that property, recently informed the market’s organizers that they could no longer use that nearly half-acre parcel at the Amsterdam intersection.
Stern of Highland Real Estate LLC also owns the storefronts directly across the street; he said his tenants there needed that lot for parking.
“My tenants complained that the demand on the parking was adversely affecting their businesses,” Stern wrote in an email. “I had hoped that the traffic from the market would drive business to the stores across the street, but the perception was that the strain on the parking exceeded any benefits derived from the additional activity. My priority being the shops and restaurants across the street, I was compelled not to renew the arrangement.”
Stern added: “I enjoyed having them at the intersection.”
“The official word is that we have lost that location and are looking for another one,” said Patrick Dennis, who with Randall Fox organizes this one and a number of other artists’ markets through Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces (AFFPS), a nonprofit organization they formed to provide arts and crafts markets and other outdoor community experiences.
But Dennis and Fox aren’t looking to ink just any deal.
The Virginia Highland location they hope to secure should have three chief components: enough room for at least a dozen sales tents, adequate parking, and visibility.
Weather permitting, the market would be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Patrick Dennis is hopeful a solution is on the horizon.
“We’ve enjoyed working with the neighborhood,” he said. “It’s a wonderful group of people. But are we gonna do it this month? No. Are we going to keep looking for the right fit? Yes. We love this neighborhood and we want to support its artists. We’re all about the community and getting people out of their cars.”
If interested in working with Dennis and Fox toward finding a new location for the market, call 404-845-0793, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.