Reviving the downtown area with art and kindness

Sophomore+Anolyn+Keenum%2C+a+member+of+Art+Club%2C+paints+downtown+at+the+Second+Saturday+Trade+Day.+Local+artists+were+featured+at+the+event+in+order+to+bring+attention+to+the+downtown+area.

Photo by Angela Valle

Sophomore Anolyn Keenum, a member of Art Club, paints downtown at the Second Saturday Trade Day. Local artists were featured at the event in order to bring attention to the downtown area.

Story by Connor Powell, staff writer

The century old floors creaked and moaned as people mingled about the space. The dusty, sunlit room was filled with the sounds of chatter, laughter and anticipation.

The Second Saturday Trade Day was held on Saturday, Oct.14th, at the 1894 City Market on 105 Olive St in downtown Texarkana. These events feature a gallery in which local artists can showcase their work, a variety of vendors and live entertainment. Members of the community are hopeful that the implementation of businesses such as the gallery will help in the rejuvenation of the area.

“We have Second Saturday Trade Days every month.” curator Georgia Hubnik said. “This is our future home for the gallery. We are going to be moving here hopefully by the 1st of December. We have featured artists to kind of give the feel of what the gallery is going to be.”

While people were excited for the event itself, they were also curious to see what would become of the building in which it took place. The historic building, formerly known as the Ritchie Grocery Store, has gone unnoticed by several members of the community.

“In the summer, I came to visit this building on a Saturday, and toured the building and was just amazed by the architectural history and brilliance,” English teacher Michelle Rigdon said. “I was shocked by how few people knew about it.”

The Tiger Theatre showcased a few scenes of “A Chemical Imbalance: A Jekyll and Hyde Play” at the event. They performed in order to raise publicity for the show that was to occur that evening at the Performing Arts Center on the Texas High campus.

“We knew that a couple of ya’ll who were performing and we wanted to be supportive,” parent Kristen Lower said. “[Sophie, my daughter,] has been talking about how fabulous the play was when she saw it with the senior class and how great ya’ll were in it, so I wanted to see a little bit of it.”

Students were also encouraged submit some of their own work for the “Be A Light – The Power of Positivity” program. After recent tragic events, such as the passing of Texas High School seniors Leonard Parks and Houston Hart, students are striving to come together in these difficult times by spreading encouraging messages.

“[Art Club is] painting rocks and leaving them all over town as a way to be a point of hope,” Rigdon said. “This has been a community wide effort, and they have been doing it and have had other people contributing as well. It’s a physical thing you can pick up and you could put in your car and remember. No matter what circumstances people are going through, often messages like this can lift them up.”