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Get your creative fix and some fresh air at Sizzling Saturday Art Marketplace

Get your creative fix and some fresh air at Sizzling Saturday Art Marketplace

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Barry Sapp works on a watercolor at the Sizzling Saturday Art Marketplace in the Foothills.

A leisurely, socially-distanced walk through Sizzling Saturday Art Marketplace in the Foothills of Tucson is a treat for those seeking a dose of creativity and inspiration.

I attended the market at Plaza Colonial, 2870 E. Skyline Drive, a few weeks ago and felt free as a bird — a hummingbird to be exact. Blistering heat of the past few months was forgotten and COVID-19 concerns were temporarily put on hold, as I strolled from artist to artist, inspired by the beauty of each one’s unique creation.

My first stop was at Jane Hamilton Fine Art. Just outside the spacious gallery, I observed painters, all wearing masks, working while simultaneously answering visitors’ questions.

One painter, Barry Sapp, used a TV and program on the computer to freeze frame a scene from a Western movie. He then brought it to life with a brush and watercolors. A combination of old-fashioned talent and technology was producing his strong, proud Native American.

Another artist was using acrylics to paint her unique version of a desert scene she had first captured with her camera. Every inch of space she had painted, including the sides, was bursting with life in vivid, Southwestern colors that practically jumped off the canvas. It needed no other embellishment of matting and/or frame.

A ceramist added another bright touch to the marketplace with her collection of whimsically painted vases, pitchers and more of many colors; most are functional as well as a treat for the eyes.

All artists representing this gallery were working outdoors. Their work is for sale not only in Jane Hamilton Fine Art itself but at its Annex across the street.

Wilde Meyer Gallery next door also got in on the fun.

Artists working outside included a weaver, whose scarves and shawls made of silk, bamboo and other natural fibers were for sale. I especially appreciated the original scarf design.

In addition, a stone sculptor’s work was available. One of his renditions, standing over 7 feet tall, was of two giraffes nuzzling each other. I could only look up in silent amazement. His work is always on display and for sale at the gallery.

Inside Wilde Meyer Gallery, two jewelry artists were on hand showing their work and fielding queries, as was a designer of one-of-a-kind silk scarves imprinted with real leaves and flowers.

All artists were wearing masks.

Betty Wilde, co-owner of Wilde Meyer Gallery, offered a 200-year-old wood carving as a raffle prize. Although I didn’t win the carving, it was still fun imagining where it would be displayed if I should be so lucky.

But I did win a prize in one of several drawings held at Affinity Kitchens. Do you want to know what I won? OK, I’ll tell you: a pair of oversized, beautifully designed cups in tones of blue — the perfect match for my kitchen — along with a pound of gourmet ground coffee.

Karimi Rugs had many samples outside, a teaser of the 1,000 handmade rugs for sale in the shop.

Making my way around the complex, I made a stop at Baron Paris, where very high-end handbags (and some accessories) are for sale. Admiring the fine craftsmanship of a little number costing a mere $3,000.00, I thought, that’s one purse I’d definitely want to get insured by Lloyd’s of London.

Wild Garlic Grill was also open for lunch.

During my walk, I happened to see Jane Hamilton, eponymous owner of Jane Hamilton Fine Art, who told me how the Art Marketplace came to be.

“It actually started out as Sizzling Saturday Nights in 2018, with my neighbor Wilde Meyer Gallery also participating,” she began. “The event morphed into a daytime event this past September. Other businesses in the shopping complex decided to join in. Karimi Rugs organized a raffle and donated a handmade rug to the winner.”

The next Sizzling Saturday Art Marketplace will be Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both art galleries will have artists working outside. All other businesses in the complex will be invited to participate.

Talk about jump starting the holiday season Tucson style. You just might find the perfect gift for someone special while browsing around and supporting local artists and small businesses. If Lady Luck is on your side, you may win a raffle prize.

Barbara Russek, a local freelance writer, welcomes comments at

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