Downtown Gilbert is brimming with amazing food and beverage these days. One group is trying to add a little arts to the flavor of Downtown Gilbert. District Second Saturdays is a self-guided, site specific, art tour through the Heritage District of downtown Gilbert taking place on the second Saturday of each month.
Partnering heritage district merchants with artists is a recent grassroots endeavor that a couple of local businesses have undertaken. Elaine Kessler, of Elaine Kessler Photography, and Jenny Satcher, of Behind the Scenes Execs, are the current coordinators of District Second Saturdays. Together they find local artists and pair them with Gilbert venues to encourage people to experience the artistic talents of our community.
Various heritage merchants are participating or have participated, including Art Intersection, Bergie’s Coffee Roast House, Saint Xavier University, Flancer’s, Gilbert Road Self Storage, C&J’s Antiques and Garden, and the Gilbert Historical Museum.
Artists have included musicians April Anne, and Katelyn Snyder, poet LaKisha Jeans, painter Anessa Matthews, dancers of Ballet Folklorico – Quetzalli, Ministry band No Other Name and performance art students in Gilbert schools. Artists demonstrate their creativity by painting, dancing, singing, etc. on a specific merchant’s property.
A map is posted to the Facebook page so community members can visit the various artists across varied locations. In addition to the map, bright orange cones are placed at the venues featuring art/artists. The time frame is 4 – 6 p.m. until June when the time frame become 5 – 7 p.m.
To make the tour a little more interesting, the coordinators invite participants to take a selfie with the art/artists in the background and hashtag it #DSSGilbert on Facebook which enters them in a raffle to win a gift card to a downtown merchant.
The intention isn’t to sell artist’s wares but to share in our community’s talent and expressions of creativity. While artists are invited to display some of their work that may potentially be for sale, the intent is to share a working artist’s process and or product. The hope is that more artists and more merchants and more community members will step forward to help celebrate Gilbert’s uniqueness through the arts.
Depending on the current month’s sponsorships, artists may receive stipends for showing their work. There is no fee for participating though artists are selected based on compatibility with the participating merchants.