Produce with side of art at Ashmont Farmers' Market

By 
Chris Harding, Special to the Reporter
Jul. 16, 2009

“Hey, you want some art with those artichokes?”
Last Friday, a 9 foot-tall papier-mâché giraffe made by kids in the Dot Art greeted customers who flocked to the opening of the brand new farmers market in Peabody
Square/ Ashmont Station. The copper-and-gold spotted herbivore seemed to indicate that the weekly bazaar was the place to feed the spirit as well as the belly.
Market organizers —which included St. Mark’s Area Main Street (SMAMS)— looked to other successful ventures for ideas on which vendors to invite.
“A lot of the new markets around here try to model their features on what you see in the SoWa district,” noted Ashmont Market Manager and Dot resident Tim Deihl, referencing the popular South End art fair and its imitators like the Milton Village Farmers Market. “Here in Dorchester we wanted to make sure that we had a diverse market that would attract all kinds of people,” Deihl said.
Organizers set the right tone by commissioning Dot graphic artist Javier Fernandez to create a logo which features the Peabody Square street clock. The logo looks equally well in full color or black and white.
The market is located in the ODWIN Learning Center parking lot right across the street from the Carruth Building. Carruth developers, who have not as yet been able to rent their 1912a storefront, have donated the sunny space for the summer to Dot Art, which was desperate for a venue to hold its teen arts programs.
Youngsters from that program as well as Dot Art adults displayed a variety of pottery for sale on polka-dotted table cloths. Founder Leslie MacWeeney promised that in coming weeks Dot Art would be offering a greater variety of objets d’art.
“There will be much more than just ceramics: masks,
paintings, drawings, collages, even triptychs. The teens in our program will be learning to make art and sell art.”
Members of the Dorchester Arts Collaborative have been invited via e-mail to sell their creations at the market. According to Ashmont Hill’s Vicki Rugo, three or four Dot artists have tentatively signed up for scattered dates throughout the summer, but as yet there has been no firm commitment from DAC.
However, there was at least one local artist with items on sale from the get-go: June Alexandra who works in stained glass. Alexandra arranges cut flowers for Cedar Grove Gardens so in between the flower baskets hanging from that enterprise’s booth she dangled examples of her sun-catchers of pet portrait animal heads.
Keep up with the market’s expanding vendor list at www.smams.org.