By Billy Ludt
The Artists of the Rust Belt are preparing for their yearly Winter Market, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The B&O Station, 530 Mahoning Ave. in Youngstown.
Upwards of 30 vendors will be selling wares at the winter market, a new high compared to previous years. This winter iteration is part of their series of quarterly markets.
Tony Nicholas, a professional photographer, has been the director for Artists of the Rust Belt for five years.
“We’re trying to get more and more artists from the region,” he said. “It’s not an exclusive club.”
Nicholas said the markets are generally open to all mediums, but have a representation of mostly visual pieces. All work for sale at the winter market is home or handmade.
“The only true guideline is that it’s your work,” he said.
Patrons can expect refreshments, food and live music as well.
Artists of the Rust Belt recently received non-profit status. They found a home early on at the B&O Station, and the venue has hosted them ever since.
Amy Komara is the manager of B&O, and a member of Artists of the Rust Belt.
“It’s always been home base, and we’ve kept it that way,” she said.
Being involved with the Artists of the Rust Belt from the beginning, Komara said the markets’ attendance has grown drastically over the years, seeing several hundred patrons consistently.
“I never think when a show’s going to happen that it will be dead,” she said.
Bill O’Rly is a local artist, who works in printmaking, painting, commercial art, photography and jewelry. He has been involved with Artists of the Rust Belt since 2006.
“I feel like [Artists of the Rust Belt is] a bit more straightforward in terms of directly providing opportunities for artists to monetize their work,” he said. “That’s really what every event has been about — providing a venue for artists to showcase and present their work and generate income for themselves.”
Opportunities for becoming involved with Artists of the Rust Belt can be found on their Facebook page, or on their website, http://www.rusted1.com. Admission for the winter market is $2, and children can enter for free.
“There are some interesting things in the works this year,” O’Rly said. “Artists of the Rust Belt is working with some other organizations, exploring how shared space and shared resources can help both the arts community and the general community.”