Downtown art gallery owners have started a new Saturday afternoon event designed to attract crowds during daylight hours.
Organizer Syd Padgett, the owner of OddFellows Gallery on Eighth Street, wanted to coordinate a daytime art walk beginning next year. A shooting after July’s First Friday festival, however, convinced him that downtown couldn’t wait any longer.
“We don’t want to replace First Friday,” Padgett said. “That’s a great event, but it’s gotten more away from the art atmosphere and more towards the party atmosphere.”
Après Market began about a month ago. Après, French for “after,” refers to the event that is held on Saturday afternoon after the Augusta Market on the River. Padgett said he hopes large crowds going to the morning market will stay downtown to support shops.
“We want to reacquaint people with downtown and Artists Row and get people back in the galleries,” Padgett said.
Seven galleries and The Book Tavern are participating in the art walk. The J.B. White’s Building is also planning live music and an art demonstration this Saturday.
The event will continue every Saturday until November, when the Augusta Market closes for the season. After that, the art walk will be held on the second Saturday of each month.
Richard Borgatti, another organizer of Après Market, said First Friday is a big revenue source for the galleries but some people stay away from the event. Most galleries were already opening on Saturdays, he said.
“We’re trying to make the same thing happen on Saturdays. To get people into the galleries,” he said.