Salt Market: The face of Syracuse’s burgeoning art scene

More vendors fill a larger venue for this year's Salt Market in downtown Syracuse.

Each year, the Salt Market has grown.

This year, locally-printed seasonal greeting cards, hand-dyed print shirts, artisan handmade jewelry, handmade soaps, art prints, scarves and other crafts filled two floors of the newly opened Sky Armory in downtown Syracuse. The chic string-lit venue was packed with shoppers.

“We have vendors from Pennsylvania this year, apart from other central New York cities like Buffalo and Rochester,” said Vanessa Rose, co-founder of the market.

This year’s event has been the most expansive in its six-year history. Fifty-five vendors set up on Saturday, up from 40 last year. The market’s growth has given the founders more direction and encouragement for the future.

Rose, who’s a teacher at Enders Road Elementary School in Manlius, and Briana Kohlbrenner, curator at Onondaga Community College’s art gallery, started the Salt Market because they wanted to offer something for a younger crowd.

“There was no market for the young, urban and edgier audience. We saw little pockets of art scene and reached out to a few local artists. The word spread and that’s how we started to grow,” Rose said.

This is the second year that Esther Yaloz, 32, owner of Planetarium Textile and Design Studio in Elmira, has showcased her print designs at the Salt Market.

“There are a lot of creative people here and there are people who appreciate local handmade stuff,” she said. Michelle Damato McCaffrey, a communications design professor at Syracuse University, sold her handmade soaps and goat milk bath salts under the title Studio Botanika. “A lot of work went into this. I made 195 soaps for the market," McCaffrey said.

Chris Henwood, 27, came from New York City to Syracuse to help her local friends sell knitted clothing and accessories under the vendor name KTOG. She said the Salt Market offers a rare opportunity for local art enthusiasts. “It’s very different from the city. There’s more original local work that is being supported and it’s hard to find such a space in the city,” said Henwood.

Lauren Wojtalewski, 32, called her first visit to the market a wonderful experience. “It is the coolest place to be and the atmosphere is great,” she said.

The co-founders, Rose and and Kohlbrenner, are planning to open the market in the spring.

“It’s going to be a lot of work but we think people will enjoy an event like this when the weather gets better,” said Rose, “Our goal is to reach the audience outside of Syracuse.”

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