|By Don Johnson
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — It’s unlike any show this city has ever seen. And, that’s a good thing.
In a single month the Indie Arts & Vintage Marketplace has established itself in a metropolis that has seen its fair share of shows through the years. The event debuted June 2 on a parking lot behind Glendale Town Center and returned four weeks later to a considerably larger group of buyers and sellers – with 80 dealers and more than 2,000 shoppers.
To understand what the Indie Arts & Vintage Marketplace is, you have to understand this isn’t your father’s antique show. It’s not filled with the kind of things your grandmother kept on a high shelf in her china cabinet. It’s neither formal nor pretentious.
The goods offered go beyond antiques and collectibles to include repurposed objects, as well as items by local artisans and craftsmen. The show attracts people in their 20s and 30s. Adding to the festive atmosphere on June 30 were six food trucks, a beer truck, two bands and a disc jockey.
For Dan Ripley, the event’s presenting sponsor, the market brings the concept of a European street fair to central Indiana. “I’ve been driving past this parking lot for 10 years now. I had a vision,” he said.
Promoter Jon Jenkins has proven the right pitch and merchandise will attract young adults who neither like antiques nor consider themselves collectors.
“People aren’t just consumers anymore, they’re experiential shoppers. They want an experience. We can provide that. We’re trying to create an event that the net result is people getting excited about vintage and antique,” Jenkins said. “The amazing thing is these are people who weren’t on the radar. You’re never going to get advanced collectors without this.”
Indianapolis is the third venue for the Marketplace concept. Previous shows were in Nashville, Tenn. in February, and Springfield, Ill. in May.
“Each city has its own distinct vibe to it, with Indianapolis probably being a little more 20th-Century Modern than the other two markets,” said Jenkins. “Nashville was big on the repainted furniture that’s really popular right now. Springfield was sort of an industrial/painted-furniture mix.”
Among the Modernist dealers was Dave Wesley of Indianapolis. “Mid-Century is what people are looking for now,” he said.
He offered two Boling armchairs in a Danish Modern style, priced $265 the pair; two black Steelcase armchairs, vinyl seats and backs, $195 the pair; Heywood-Wakefield Contessa coffee table having metal legs and Formica-type top, $195; and a Mastercraft fireplace designed for Sterno or candles, circa 1970, at $295.
Steve Cohen of Stevie Sputnik showed a variety of mid-20th-century ceramics. “Demand is strong for good stuff,” he said, while adding that bargains still remain.
Red Wing dinnerware included a Northern Lights platter at $45. A Glidden Wolfhound square plate was $15, and a Snowy Winter Berry Chickadee decorative plate by Norman Brumm, enamel on copper, was $80.
Not far away, Noah Miles of Indianapolis and Jess Parrotte of 9 Lives Vintage, Indianapolis, were offering a mix that included record albums.
Whether purchased for the music or for the cover artwork, the records were affordable, with many examples priced $2, including those by singer Frank Sinatra and comedian Bill Cosby, as well as records featuring Gomer Pyle and Casper the Friendly Ghost. Priced at $15 each were Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Blues Brothers.
The variety at the show could be seen in the booth of Joann Hirata of Indianapolis, whose merchandise ranged from functional to fun. A steel desk about 24-inches wide, having one drawer and a lower shelf, was $225; Wheary red cosmetic train case from the 1960s, $24; and a bowling trophy consisting of a red pin, gold bowler and marble base was $6. An Underwood No. 3 typewriter with a 26-inch carriage was tagged $125 and quickly sold.
Frederick “Rick” Klass Jr. of Industrial Evolution, Bay City, Mich., mixed vintage antiques, such as a $575 stage light, with repurposed items, including a $1,250 table having a metal workbench base and a wooden top salvaged from the floor of a 1930s bowling alley.
He was also among the merchants selling their own artistic creations. Klass offered tabletop mobiles crafted from croquet and cue balls.
Today’s dealers handling industrial items find their buyers want a particular look.
“It has more of an art drive to it than general antiques did,” Klass added. “This stuff appeals to people who appreciate object permanence.”
Dealer Marshall Davis of Indianapolis believes the Indie Arts & Vintage Marketplace will only get better. “This is going to be a very big market,” he said. “This is going to be a hot market.”
The show has room to grow, with space for 250 dealers. Jenkins wants to keep the market about 75 percent vintage and 25 percent repurposed and artisan. “This is very organic,” he said. “It’s growing and changing.”
Indie Arts & Vintage Marketplace returns to Glendale Town Center on Saturday, Aug. 4. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $4. For more details, phone Jon Jenkins at (317) 431-0118 or visit www.IndieArtsVintage.blogspot.com.