In the Market for Local Art
Menomonie artists will show off their stuff in Wilson Park
The Menomonie Farmers Market will be growing more than just flowers and produce this year. In addition to the vendors selling your favorite fruits and veggies, the Wilson Park pastime will be expanding its services to include its very first Artist Market. With the grand opening on May 21, market coordinator Veronika Zazovsky will finally see a long-held dream brought to fruition.
As an artist, vendor, and small-business owner, Zazovsky has always felt passionate about providing opportunities to local talent. The self-proclaimed “farmers market regular” comes into contact with countless skilled artists and crafters on a regular basis – many of whom live right in the community of Menomonie.
“Menomonie is an artistic community. We love arts here, so allowing local artists to showcase their art and creativity will benefit everyone.” – Veronika Zazovsky, Menomonie Artist Market organizer
“Just in the past year I have met more than 200 local crafters,” Zazovsky said. “And Menomonie is an artistic community. We love arts here, so allowing local artists to showcase their art and creativity will benefit everyone.”
In addition to the crafter stations, the market location at Wilson Park will have a new pavilion as well as a kids’ booth with a variety of crafts and activities. This year, Zazovsky also has plans to invite artists, musicians, and poetry readers to the park’s bandshell for live performances.
Taking the initiative to jumpstart the Artist Market was something that required both experience and organizational expertise – qualities that Zazovsky has proven to possess through a fervent commitment to her trade.
“I participate in 40-50 craft shows and business expos and have a regular booth at four farmers markets,” Zazovsky said. “I started collecting business cards of all handmade vendors and created a local directory of all crafters and handmade businesses in the area. All this time I have been asking if they would be interested in joining the farmers market, and many have expressed interest and appreciation.”
This growing appeal and intrigue at starting an Artist Market may come as no surprise considering the past success of the Menomonie Farmers Market. From daycare toddlers to UW-Stout undergrads, Wilson Park has been a popular stop for community members from every walk of life in recent years.
“Many families make it a weekly routine to stop at the market,” Zazovsky said. “We see people of all professions and ages, and it is always fun to meet the ‘regulars’ and greet newcomers.”
The debut of the new Artist Market will not only be met with open arms by eager customers, but by Menomonie-based crafters and artisans who will see it as a venue for opportunity.
“We have many crafters that are experienced in doing art shows and some are just starting the journey. We welcome all levels of experience and all different media,” Zazovsky said. “We also have free spots for those doing more of a show or demonstration. It’s a unique opportunity for an artist to showcase their work and see if the market is a good fit.”
For Zazovsky, having a role in the operation of the Menomonie market goes beyond a simple appreciation for local wares. Knowing that her late sister and former business partner Natalia always had a deep infatuation for the Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market, Zazovsky sees her efforts in the trade as a continuation of a shared family hobby as well as a commemoration of sisterly love.
“It was very emotional for me to have a booth at a farmers market without Natalia,” Zazovsky said.
“But it was one of the goals on overcoming the loss. To me, the Eau Claire Farmers Market is an emotional connection with my sister.”While both the Menomonie and Eau Claire markets hold a dear place in Zazovsky’s heart, she finds that the two venues have their own styles.
“I think the Menomonie Market is much more cozy and local,” Zazovsky said. “Many vendors are well-known, and we all know each other outside the market. It also has a slower pace – people don’t just come, shop, and go – they like to stay, socialize, and have lunch.”
And now, with a new Artist Market prepped and ready for the Wilson Park stage, the community of Menomonie will have just one more reason for stopping by to mix and mingle. Zazovsky believes that people, above all else, will be the single most important factor in determining the market’s success.
“We have wonderful people in Menomonie,” Zazovsky said. “The farmers market has been a success due to the enthusiasm of local residents that love local foods, local crafts, and local people. Together we make it a wonderful celebration every time.”
The Menomonie Artist Market will be located at Wilson Park in Menomonie every Wednesday from 11am to 5pm and every Saturday from 8am to 1pm starting May 20 and ending Oct. 24.