Ithaca, N.Y. — This Friday, the annual Ithaca Artists Market will be back—and bigger than ever before.

For many years, only about 40 booths were used for the event, which will occur from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. this year at the Ithaca Farmers Market.

This year, all 88 booths at the venue will be filled with the work of over 70 painters, photographers, sculptors, and other artists from Tompkins County and beyond.

For no entrance fee, visitors will be able to view, talk about, and purchase everything from felt-tip prints to fine furniture.

Allen Smith at the Ithaca Artists Market. (Image provided.)

“I think [that] every year, more artists attend as visitors and put it on their calendar to apply in coming years,” said Robin Schwartz, who has directed the event since 1993.

Schwartz also attributes the event’s increasing popularity to “lots of savvy marketing and lots of social media.”

According to her, one of the biggest attractions of this year’s Market will be the presence of more than just visual arts.

“Since we are the arts council, we want this event to be a showcase of all mediums of art,” she said. “Now, musicians, authors, filmmakers can have a booth.”

Among the artists taking advantage of these new opportunities are author Kari Aguila, who will be selling her novel Women’s Work, and filmmaker Sue Perlgut, who will be displaying her documentaries.

Dede Hatch at the Ithaca Artists Market. (Image provided.)

And there will be many more new faces.

“About 40 percent of [this year’s] Market is new people, and that makes me very happy,” Schwartz said. “We want to give the artists the opportunity to sell their work, but we also want to have a varied and interesting variety of work for the general public.”

Also making a first appearance at this year’s event will be WITH Radio. The local radio station will cover the entire fair and interview an artist every 15 minutes.

Face painting, food, and music will add to the festivities. Asian Taste, On the Street Pita, and King Ferry Winery are just three of the vendors, all of which operate regular Farmers Market stands. The East Hill Jazz Group—which consists of trombonist–trumpeter Johnny Russo, guitarist Doug Robinson, and their gang of accompanying musicians—will provide a musical backdrop to the event.

Several Tompkins County arts organizations will be operating booths that showcase their history, objectives, and events. They include the Community School of Music and Arts, the Hangar Theatre, and the History Center in Tompkins County.

In addition, there will be a raffle to help offset the costs of running the event. For $1 per ticket, visitors can enter to win prizes ranging from Cayuga Chamber Orchestra concert tickets to a portrait session at Monroe Payne Photography.

(For a full list of artists, vendors, and raffle items, visit www.artspartner.org.)

History

The Ithaca Artists Market was founded in 1991 by three local artists. It grew shortly afterwards, and the Tompkins County Community Arts Partnership (CAP) took over.

CAP is a Tompkins County arts organization that aims to “cultivate, nourish, and grow the arts” through funding and networking local artists and running artists’ workshops. The organization’s other projects include the calendar site IthacaEvents.com as well as the Greater Ithaca Arts Trail, a program by which locals can visit the studios of nearly 50 local artists.

According to Schwartz, CAP has maintained and expanded on its founders’ mission of organizing “a fine art market that was an opportunity for painters, photographers, printmakers, sculptors to sell their work.” Last year, artists at the Market sold a combined $50,000 of art.

“We have amazing artistic talent in this area, and the quality of the work at this Ithaca Artists Market is very high,” Schwartz said. “This is an opportunity for people to meet the artists and talk to them about their work. And vice versa: it’s an opportunity for the artists to say to the general public, ‘What do you like about this? Which one is your favorite?’”

“It’s an opportunity for everybody—it’s fun!”