MERIDEN — Clothes, paintings and jewelry were on sale at the first Meriden Sidewalk Art Sale, the latest in a series of efforts to revitalize downtown.
Sandy Nieves, who moved to Meriden from New York a year ago, said attending weekly concerts and downtown events has helped her get to know her neighbors and grow her homemade bath and skincare business.
“I love it, with all the activities around, you meet diverse people … it becomes like a family,” she said. “I came to visit my sons and fell in love with (downtown Meriden).”
She was joined by over a dozen other vendors set up on Colony Street Sunday afternoon between the intersection with West Main Street and Gallery 53. Most were local, but one was from Texas.
Dave Grodzicki, who organizes the downtown Twilight Music Series, said he feels the area is changing for the better. He noted that behind Nieves’ booth was one of 28 flower arrangements planted along downtown storefronts.
Sunday’s event was organized by Carrie Teele, who also works on the Twlight Music Series, and Darrell Lucas. The goal was to encourage people to visit downtown and hopefully see the opportunities.
A steady stream of patrons arrived for the start of the sale, but some vendors packed up a few hours early to get out of the sweltering heat.
“I can’t complain about the turnout considering it’s 100 degrees,” said Teele, who hopes to have another sale in September.
Terry DeMars, of Wethersfield, said many people enjoy purchasing from local artisans. She creates embroideries and sews baskets, while her husband does woodworking using recycled wood.
“You wouldn’t know this is a kitchen table,” DeMars said, referring to the wood salt shakers and candle holders made from a discarded mahogany table and scrap pine. By repurposing, we’re able to make a better product, out of better wood.
One customer, City Councilor Miguel Castro, said Meriden has always attracted artists.
“Bringing the arts alive in our district embraces not just this part of downtown, but our whole city,” he said. “This is a message of what Meriden is becoming.”