The Dustbowl Arts Market is steadily becoming something of a local tradition. Located on Campus Corner near the University of Oklahoma, the market is the collective effort of three friends, Reese Truesdell, Katie Huskerson, and Dana Scott. Most local arts fairs attract vendors from a nationwide circuit, but the Dustbowl Arts Market has built a reputation for prominently featuring regional artists, music, and a children’s activity area.
Truesdell said they started the bi-annual event in 2009 because the trio of friends wanted an arts show that would suit their quirky style. The organizers were keen to start a market that would enable all artists participating to find the support to build and manage their own arts businesses.
“We want people to be self-sustaining and enjoy doing what they love as a full-time job,” Reese Truesdell said.
Over the past three years the Dustbowl Arts Market’s been growing at a steady rate. Truesdell said there was a dramatic increase in their planning budget as sponsors Fowler Toyota of Norman and Campus Corner Merchants Association donated enough money to expand this year’s event from one to two music stages. Other new features this year are a pre-party, being held in conjunction with OU Howdy Week on Friday Aug. 26th, and an after-party that closes Saturday’s festivities with two surprise musical acts appearing on the Pepe Delgado stage at midnight on Sunday Aug. 28th.
On Saturday Aug. 27th the market opens at 11:00 a.m. and closes at midnight. Until then, all along Buchanan St. artists will be lining the street while live music plays on the FowlerToyota and the Pepe Delgado stages. The types of art featured vary. There will be unique vendors selling: clothing, jewelry, handmade goods, dolls, photography, paintings, and screen prints.
With a growing reputation, the Dustbowl Arts Market has become a favorite among regional artists who return to the event for the ambience and adventure. Pamela and Dylan Dowdy of Dowdy Studios are two such artists. They specialize in handmade and hand drawn designs. They too have expanded as this is the first time they are taking their new studio wagon to the market.
“This is will be our second Dustbowl Arts Market,” said the Dowdys. “We participated in the very first one and it was love at first sight! We’re from Dallas, so trucking up to Norman, Oklahoma is always a fun adventure. We are constantly blown away by the local talent, the great music, the town, and all the super nice people who came out to enjoy the day with us.”
Blackwatch Studios has partnered with the Dustbowl Arts Market organizers for the past two years and Truesdell said they have done amazing job finding local musicians. The 2011 Fall Dustbowl Arts Market features music sets with Pretty Black Chains, Jabee Williams, Brine Webb, and Colour Music to name a few. Truesdell said the music begins earlier too, at noon on Saturday, to accommodate for the expanded number of musical acts.
The children’s area will have simple crafts and face painting, but it will not be located in the same area. Katie Huckerson said a few location changes have been made. The children’s area is between Hideway Pizza and the Antique Garden, while the Toyota Fowler stage is between Hideway Pizza and Brothers. The Pepe Deglado Stage is on the back patio of Pepe’s.
“This year will be exciting because we are more organized.” Truesdell said, “And because of that we have been able to offer more music and a full line-up of artists.”
SLIDESHOW: More Dustbowl Arts Market Goodies