Some people find buying for others simple. But for the rest of us, the task of purchasing the perfect gift for friends and relatives can be overwhelming and tedious. That's where NoDaRioty — a nonprofit group advocating for the presence and support of art and artists in the NoDa neighborhood — comes in. In December 2008, the organization launched the All Arts Market, a free event at Neighborhood Theatre where local artists sell a variety of handmade arts and crafts. Last holiday season, I attended the event, buying a number of cool items for decent prices ... and thus avoiding last-minute holiday scrambles through department stores.
On June 2 and 3, the All Arts Market will, yet again, invade Neighborhood Theatre. Lauren Schalburg of NoDaRioty explains that due to artists' high demands for space, the event is going bigger this go-round. "There is room in Neighborhood Theatre for 80-90 individual booths. Artists rent booths for two nights at $15-$45 each and keep 100 percent of their sales (a savings that is passed on to customers)," Schalburg says. "Because we have so many artists on waiting lists for booths, this June 2 and 3, we are expanding the experience by informally organizing areas on the streets of downtown NoDa for artists to vend their art for free."
The All Arts Market has helped the local arts scene by letting the works of Charlotte-based artists, who may or may not be able to find refuge in a gallery, be displayed and sold. Beth Jackson, an artist who also works with NoDaRioty, sold her first painting during one of the early All Arts Markets.
"It has opened many doors for me," Jackson shares. "This show gives people, who might not have an opportunity otherwise, a chance to show the world their art and maybe make a sale, too."
Another local artist, David French, has also benefited from the event and sees it as an amazing opportunity. French, who composed drawings for a number of Publish America children's books and uses charcoal to draw portraits, is better known for his specialty of painting artsy spots in Charlotte.
"For the most part I try to paint places that some people would say are nostalgic, old places. Places people love for what they are and not for being upscale. Places that aren't trying too hard or care to rip money out of your wallet or suck you dry like so much of new Charlotte does," French explains. "I think there's a cry out there, a collective society scream that they hate what's going on in Charlotte and how everything that's good seems to be getting knocked down or taken away."
French, whose art can be found in spots around town -- including Green With Envy, City Supply Co., Zada Jane's and Paper Skyscraper, among others -- can often be found painting on the streets of NoDa. And when you visit the All Arts Market, French's booth will be one of the first ones you'll see.
Admission to the All Arts Market is free. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event continues until 10 p.m. on June 2 & 3 at Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. For more information, call 704-358-9298 or visit www.neighborhoodtheatre.com. To learn more about NodaRioty, visit www.nodarioty.org.
May 29: Let your mind wander (and wonder), as you try to figure out who-dun-it in the murder mystery and dinner, Murder is Par for the Course at Story Slam.
June 4: The God City art collective examines "the art of dope" with its controversial new show -- Coke -- at The Art House.
June 11-13: Featuring a lengthy lineup of local restaurants and eateries in Charlotte, Taste of Charlotte is a place where you can fill your belly with delight. Purchase tokens and gorge on a variety of cuisines.
June 12: At Rhythm & Brews, happening at Tyber Creek Pub, you can let loose and enjoy local craft beers, light appetizers and live music from Simplified. It's also for a good cause, as all proceeds will directly benefit programs and services for families living with disabilities.
June 17-20: Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas, an annual festival that celebrates African-American heritage, returns to Independence Park. There's a lot to see here: dance, musical performances and more.
On Aug. 7: Twenty-Two Gallery takes art on a ride with its Let The Good Times Roll group exhibition, featuring works of art on skate decks.
Sept. 10 and 11: Approximately 60 teams compete to see who has the best barbecue at Blues, Brews & BBQ. Of course, that means an abundance of food is available, in addition to beer and blues music throughout the course of the fest.