Ypsi Township resident launches monthly nighttime art markets at township bar

Ypsilanti Township resident Anna Potter recently launched a series of artisan Night Markets at the Regal Beagle, 817 E. Michigan Ave. in Ypsilanti Township, from 6-9 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month. The series has proven immediately popular with local vendors offering everything from small plants to water pipes to fine art.

Potter says there are a lot of holiday markets popping up at this time of year, but she intends for the Night Markets to run year-round. There is no vendor fee. The only way to sign up is to watch for an event posting on the Regal Beagle's Facebook page and fill out the attached form. 

Only about eight vendors can set up at any one market, so Potter chooses themes for each month and rotates vendors. She also vends her own items but says she only intends to put herself in the rotation a few times a year so she can give others a chance to offer their wares. 

Potter had been vending her own jewelry and crafts at other markets but became frustrated with shows canceling or requiring vendors to book space many months in advance. She says that many of those shows are great but they're "big and have a very high-stakes feeling." She wants the night markets to be friendly to someone who makes oven mitts or crochets in their spare time.

"I wanted something that's smaller scale and lower pressure. You don't have to be vending for a living," she says. "It's just a monthly hangout."

Halloween was the theme of the October market, which was accompanied by a costume contest. The winner took home a basket of prizes donated by Night Market vendors. The November market's theme was LGBTQ+ artisans, and the Dec. 28 market will have a "White Elephant'' theme with an accompanying gift-stealing game. 

"I try to do something fun with each one," Potter says.

Potter says she isn't affiliated with The Regal Beagle, but the bar's owner and managers are open to ideas for new events there. She says the "punk market space" of the Night Markets was "in line with the values" of the Regal Beagle, which she describes as an "anti-fascist, open, inclusive space."

"If you come to them with an idea, they'll say, 'Sure, we'll make that happen,'" Potter says. 

Potter says to watch Facebook events or the Regal Beagle Facebook page for details on upcoming Night Market themes. Click here for more information on the December market.

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.

Photos by Anna Potter.
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