Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Artists, students hope to restart 23rd Street Artists Market after years of safety, construction risks

Emma George

Starting in the 1970s, students could pass a thriving artists’ market nestled between what is now Dollar Slice Club and convenience store and coffee shop Foxtrot.

Even in June of 2018, a Google Street View capture showed a yellow banner suspended between two lamp posts reading “23rd Street Artists’ Market.”

But the market hasn’t flourished for years, longtime vendor Randy Eckels said. Several years ago, the city ran fiber optic and utilities right through 23rd Street, removing the canopy of trees and concrete.

“(The artists) all had to leave,” Eckels said. “It looked like we’d been bombed from the air for the better part of a year. … We never really recovered from that.” 

However, Eckels said he hopes to see the market come back soon in full swing.

“It’s sad — I spent a big part of my life trying to build it up,” Eckels said. “We’d like to see it come back.”

Student shoppers and creators would appreciate an artists’ market close to campus, biology junior Jessica Burke said. Burke founded Longhorn Made, a student organization dedicated to crafters at UT, due to the lack of opportunities to sell handmade goods near campus. Longhorn Made organizes markets around the area, but Burke said having a market near campus, such as the 23rd Street Artists’ Market, would be convenient.

“Our only market right now is in East Campus, so for those of us that don’t have a car, which is a lot of people in the organization, it would be a lot easier,” Burke said.

Burke said safety isn’t her main concern with the area, but she would appreciate having security measures in place as a precaution.

“Guadalupe gets a lot of good traffic, and there’s a lot of good space for a market,” Burke said. “It would just be how accessible it actually is to student-run businesses and not just general local businesses.”

Students can purchase a reduced annual license for $100 for a 10-foot by 10-foot space in the market they’re hoping to restart, Eckels said, which is half of the typical license fee. He said all it takes to revitalize the market is for people to commit to setting up their shops in the plaza.

“Nobody likes being out there by themselves,” Eckels said. “If you have a little group of people that can watch each other’s stuff if you have to go get food or go use the bathroom, there’s a little bit more cohesion.”

Editor’s Note: This story was corrected to fix the spelling of a source’s name. The Texan regrets this error.

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About the Contributor
Emma George, Comics Editor
Emma is currently a Spring 2023 Comics Editor. She is a junior civil engineering major whoe loves to draw, read, and visiting art museums. She has previously been a Comics sStaffer and Comics Senior Illustrator.