Artisan market becomes annual event

By Page H. Gifford

The art-centered businesses in Palmyra village are hosting an outdoor art market event to celebrate spring on April 11.  The outdoor art market will be located on the green behind the Old Courthouse in the village of Palmyra. Its main feature will be local artisans and crafters but will also include raffles for door prizes donated by the vendors, games, arts and crafts, and a self-guided historic walking tour of the village.

“We had one back in December that was attended by about 200 people and expect this one to be significantly bigger,” said Erika Mitchell of Sweet Art Emporium. This is an effort to get people to come to downtown Palmyra and see what artists and artisans are creating. Palmyra is the perfect setting for a growing arts community in Fluvanna. “For the events in the Village, we are also trying to get Fluvanna residents to recognize that there are local art businesses to support and to get folks to experience the village as a place to shop, learn local history, and walk the Rail Trail.”

Mitchell has been proactive when it comes to the art community and garnering support for local artists and crafters. Many local arts organizations see potential in Fluvanna’s arts as a draw for visitors. The Fluvanna County Arts Council would like to see an “Arts in the Park” event in Pleasant Grove

“I am super excited about an Arts in the Park event,” said Mitchell. For a long time, artists were seen on the fringes of local events and scattered and hidden throughout the county. With Mitchell and others like Linda Staiger, who has been pushing for an Artisans Trail, the FCAC, and the Fluvanna Art Association, artists, artisans and crafters are now at the forefront of defining a new era in Fluvanna. By building the community, it will be a draw for those who love art in all forms. Some may envision something akin to Crozet’s two-day arts festival in the spring and fall.

Artists and designers like Amy Shawley Paquette, who was at last year’s market, make jewelry and wall art blocks made from acrylic paint that looks like wood. The area has many jewelry designers with unique styles and fiber artists, weavers, and those who make ceramics among the multitude of artisans in the area.

Staiger anticipates that maybe by late summer/early fall the Artisans Trail may become a reality. She is also working with Mitchell on the April 11 event.

“This is a juried craft show and we will build it from there,” said Staiger. The biggest hurdle for Staiger in creating the Artisans Trail is getting a GPS account for the Fluvanna Leadership Alumni Group and plotting locations of individual studios. Participants would need to be able to host visitors, collect sales tax, allow photographs, and have a web site or Facebook page to link to.  She would also need to set up a website/FB page for events. She is also working with Lake Monticello, which has expressed interest in allowing visitors to studios during an event.

For anyone who would like to help with the Artisans Trail, contact Linda Staiger at or to learn more about the upcoming outdoor art market, visit FB at

Some of the events will be held indoors but others may be subject to weather. Subject to state and local mandates regarding public health, masks are required.

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