There is a buzz of excitement among the arts community in Dawson City.

Starting last weekend, and continuing every Saturday throughout the summer, Dawson will have a regular artists’ market.

The market is a joint initiative between Tr’ondek Hwech’in and the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture (KIAC).

“There’s so much talent in this town and the market is there — tourists are always looking for local work,” says Elaine Corden, market coordinator. “We just needed the commitment to make it happen.”

Corden says there has been talk about an artists’ market for several years. Finally, after much research; a feasibility study; support from the Mayor, the City and local businesses as well as 100 per cent positive feedback, the market has become a reality.

“It’s high time,” says Corden.

“I’m so glad this market is happening,” says local artist Aubyn O’Grady.

She and Rian Lougheed-Smith founded the Klondike Drawing Company three years ago and create locally inspired silkscreen prints on t-shirts and postcards. “The market gives us the opportunity to make and sell on a regular basis,” she says.

O’Grady points out that many artists come to Dawson, but are not able to find a market for their art. She feels the artists’ market will give these artists a place and an opportunity to find their niche.

“And for us, the beauty of this market is that we can experiment more and try new things,” says O’Grady. “It’s such a good idea and I’m very excited.”

The rules are simple: the market is open to all Yukon artists; merchandise must be made by, or value-added by, the vendor; and no food is allowed for sale.

A maximum of 15 tables will fit into the outdoor community events shelter where the market will be held, and artists may share tables if they wish.

Artists must register at KIAC during the week before the market. Membership is $40 per season, plus $5 per day, which includes a table and chair donated by KIAC, or $15 per day for non-members. One table will be available for youth 18-and-under for free.

Corden hopes that eventually the market will be self-reliant. Money generated from memberships and fees will go towards the purchase of tables and chairs, marketing and signage. She also hopes to feature First Nations art, and is working on getting a name for the market in Han, the local First Nations language.

“There is tons of talent in this community,” Corden says. “I’m really hoping this market will fly.”

The Dawson Artists’ Market will be held on Saturdays throughout the summer, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the community events shelter on Front Street. For more information, please contact Elaine Corden at market@kiac.ca, or phone KIAC at 993-5005.