The Spring Fling Market on May 1, 2021, at the Finley Light Factory, vendors set up stands selling art prints, paintings, jewelry and more. The market promoted local artists and businesses along with drinks and music. (Photo/Sidney Chansamone)

Colorful chalk welcomed attendees and vendors to the row of booths displaying eclectic and beautiful local art at Finely Light Factory’s first Spring Fling Market.

Finley Light Factory hosted the market Saturday evening in front of Big City Bread Cafe. The market allowed new and seasoned artists to sell and showcase their art to the Athens community. Afterwards attendees got to enjoy a performance by Convict Julie.

Attendees went booth-by-booth at the market, taking in the exciting variety of art the vendors had on display. The vendors made up a colorful collection of University of Georgia students and other Athens artists. Spring was in the air as the artists shared their work and chatted enthusiastically with everyone who passed through.

Aaron Mosby, one of the event coordinators and a Finley Light Factory artist, welcomed newcomers at the entrance. The market’s goal was to both highlight local artists and creatives who don’t have a lot of experience as vendors and to welcome marginalized people who are just starting out. The appeal of no vendor fees, and the promise of Convict Julie’s performance at the end of the night kept everyone around for a few hours.

“We just love people to come out to see more art things, especially for people who have probably never been vendors before,” Mosby said. “It’s always an opportunity to meet new people and connect with people at the same time.”

He hopes the attendees familiarize themselves with Finley Light Factory so they’re aware of future events.

For the artists, it’s exciting to get out and meet people with similar interests as well.

Donni Talluto, the artist behind LulusNaturales, follows Finley Light Factory on Instagram and appreciates the work it does with marginalized artists.

“I really appreciate that, especially coming from someone who’s nonbinary and Black. I like to be able to attend and support artists in that nature,” Talluto said.

After being in quarantine for so long, Talluto also enjoyed being able to talk to people about art in person, and there’s nothing like chatting with artists face-to-face. After buying an art print from one local vendor, her friends’ excited congratulations on selling her first piece followed me down the aisle.

Hannah Abdulhaqq, a UGA senior economics and sociology major, loved being able to support independent sellers.

“[Artist markets] always have cool stuff. It’s better than retail,” Abdulhaqq said.

The art wasn’t the only enticing part of the event. Starting at 7 p.m., attendees flooded into a small studio at the back of Big City Bread Cafe. The partially open air studio was awash in neon pink lights and decorated with flowers, pink balloons and a picture of Convict Julie.

Convict Julie invited Assata Bellegarde to be the opening act. They began the performance with the song “Didn’t Ya Know.” The pair addressed the audience in oversized sunglasses and a pair of overalls. The psychedelic projections on the wall matched Bellegarde’s music and set the tone for the rest of the evening.

After Bellegarde’s set, there was a fifteen minute intermission before Convict Julie stepped out on stage. As she performed, audience members moved with the music with a high energy. Her banter with audience members made the performance feel private and personal, and concluded the Spring Fling Market on a high note.

“I’m happy spring is here, and we all get to enjoy it together,” Mosby said. “The pandemic made it seem like winter was a year-long thing, so it’s a new day, and I’m really happy to have new people, new connections and flowers.”