By Kyra Hudson, Staff Writer
Victory Park came alive last Saturday with the Off Pike Market as well as the first Norwood International Art Show.
Just a five minute drive or a 20 minute walk away, Victory Park is located off Montgomery Road in a section of Norwood’s business district called “The Pike.”
The Off Pike Market has transformed Victory Park into a vendor market with live music every third Saturday from June through September since 2017.
The market features vendors selling all kinds of products, from trinkets to pottery. Visitors meandered the park, drinking coffee from food vendors and observing the wide variety of goods available for purchase as well as the art featured in the show.
The International Art Show, organized by the local community organization Norwood Together, brought together recent immigrants from countries including Bhutan, Syria, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia and Turkey as part of Welcoming America’s Welcoming Week.
The art show was described by its organizers as a “network of events throughout the U.S. and abroad… to build strong connections and affirm the importance of welcoming inclusive places.”
Twenty-eight artists participated in the art show. The tents, set up with artists sitting behind them, featured unique mediums including pottery, crochet, paint, floral-pressed pictures and more.
Artists of all ages, from University of Cincinnati students to parents, came to participate.
Duwonne Biggers, the artist behind Bigger Designs Exclusives described his creative process for starting a project: “(I just take) any picture off the internet and sketch it out. Then, I paint over it in black and white. The paints are acrylic too. Most of the canvases take between five and eight hours to make.”
Mara Cakan, who makes intricate clay bowls under the brand name Queen City Clay, said, “I have a degree in industrial design, and I needed something to do on the weekends. The studio was close to where I live, so I took up pottery, and here we are.”
Artists and attendees alike commented on the appreciation for the community generated by the market and the Week of Welcoming.
Though Victory Park is small and surrounded by roads, a Speedway and a Kroger, organizers were still able to create a space in which people could linger. Kids danced to the music from the band playing in a gazebo as friends and families wandered along appreciating the art. This market brought people from different communities all over the city together in this shared space.