Art market season a resounding success

SUN PHOTO BY TOM CHANG Margaret Albritton, owner of Margaret Albritton Gallery on 13020 Fishery Road, said the Placida Saturday Arts and Crafts Market has seen a boost in business since last season. She may extend the market through the summer.

PLACIDA — The Albrittons have reason to celebrate, given their success this season with the Placida Saturday Arts and Crafts Market. It’s been such a good year, they plan to continue the market into summer.

“It has been a very good season all the way around,” said Margaret Albritton, who owns her own gallery at the Fishery Restaurant circle. “We have a lot more sales from the artists out front, from what they report to me. They’re very pleased.”

Her sales on market days are up 30 percent over last year, she said.

“Our success is a combination of word-of-mouth, and publicity we get out of artists featured in the Sun,” she said.

Margaret said from October to January, the market has their usual artists. When season kicks in, activity expands.

“We have snowbirds who come back part of the year who are also artists,” she said. “Then it blows up. It probably doubles (over) what we start with in October. So by the end of the year, we probably have 200-300 people.”

Margaret said the number of exhibitors can fluctuate throughout the season as artists attend different shows.

“Space hasn’t been an issue this season,” she said. “We’ve done a better job of allocating spaces. Last year and before, there were times we’ve been maxed out. We’ve learned from those times, and artists are better at managing their space.”

Some of the success of the market could be attributed to artists being allowed to exhibit for free.

“I think being free gives a starting artist an opportunity to show off their work without risking money,” Margaret said.

Another reason might be more people discovering the market.

“There are people in Rotonda, Englewood and Port Charlotte who have never been to Placida before. We’re getting more and more in,” said Garry Albritton, who runs the market with Margaret.

The Albrittons said they’ve been discussing expanding with other owners around Fishery Road including Jon Hatch, who owns his own gallery, and Mark Asperilla, who is taking over the Fishery Restaurant from the Albrittons.

“Everybody’s been working together,” Hatch said. “Margaret put a lot of money into advertising. Everybody’s been working together.”

Plans are to expand the Saturday market through August to gauge possible interest as an experiment.

“I think we have enough of a pull from our artists to keep going,” Garry said. “I think it will work even if we only have 10 artists underneath the shade. It’s a great feeling to know how often people walk around here.”

The next Placida Saturday Arts and Crafts Market will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday on the grounds of the Fishery restaurant, 13000 Fishery Road. Parking and admission are free, and artists can display their work for free. For market information, call 941-698-0603.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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