Area Artists Display Their Crafts

A soulful jazz melody emanating from James Palmore’s saxophone could be heard for several blocks of The Eastern Market Festival and Arts & Crafts Fair Saturday.

Palmore, like most who participate in the weekly festival, has come off and on for several years to showcase his unique artistic talent.

Began in 1978, The Eastern Market Festival and Arts & Crafts Fair features painters, potters, jewelers, silversmiths, musicians, clothing designers, and street performers. The festival provides a place for those not typically exhibited in commercial galleries, an opportunity to showcase their work.

“I’d play anywhere,” he said. “There are people that have an interest in what I’m doing.” He added that he playlist is “whatever pops into my head.”

This past Saturday, his melody of choice, “Do Nothing ‘Til You Hear from Me”, slowed the walking pace of many patrons, as they stopped to drop money in his instrument box. Many stood and watched for a few moments and then explored other varying booths that lined the 7th st. in southeast Washington.

Valerie Breedlove, Director of the Great Zimbabwe Inc has showcased original artwork from Zimbabwe for five years.

“My husband and I go to Zimbabwe twice a y ear for six weeks to work with the artists,” she said.”Then, we bring back the artists’ work for retail.”

The painted textiles, sold at prices ranging $65 to $150, are made from hand-picked cotton and hand mixed paints. After being painted, they are washed, sun-dried, and baked in an oven by three cooperatives: women and children that lost their husbands/fathers to HIV, farmers, and a family.

Not far from Breedlove’s both is one that showcases original artwork by Mac Macintire and his wife. They have sold photographs by themselves and a Seattle friend at their Greenleaf Photography booth every Saturday for almost five years.

“We just do this on the side,” Macintire said. “This festival is on the tourist’s circuit, so we get a good mix of people.”

He said the festival has been affected by the recent change in the area.

“The neighborhood used to be a lot rougher but since they’ve built it up, it’s been a lot more traffic,” Macintire said.

Find out more about The Eastern Market:http://www.easternmarket.net/

Find out more about The Great Zimbabwe Inc.www.thegreatzimbabweusa.com