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From left, Ron and Joyce Ford pose for a picture with John Stoll at a First Saturday Arts Market in 2018. (Contributed photo)

As 2022 impatiently stares us down with still an entire month of 2021 left, I am reminded of how very thankful I am to live in Houston, for you, this newspaper and especially the arts community.

Looking back at recent Art Valet columns, I’ve lightheartedly written about the makings of an art market. I wrote about what’s in my “toolbox,” do-it-yourself graphics while simultaneously lamenting the trade-off of bulletin boards and telephone poles for social media, how to unsuccessfully predict the weather, the artists that ignore me anyway and parking problems.

The final First Saturday Arts Market of the year is this Saturday and thus a real appreciation for how others help out are at the forefront of my mind.

Quite a few years back, a neighbor and friend volunteered his army of teenagers to help artists unload. I was unaware that my friend, Steven Messa, was in fact the Recreation Supervisor at Montie Beach Community Center. The teens that help out get extra credit and the market is recognized by the parks department for it. I call Messa the Godfather of the Heights because everyone knows him. Everyone.

Speaking on behalf of the artists and myself, we are very thankful for the many teens that have helped out over the years.

I’m thankful that attending artists like to pitch in and help, too. Sometimes they’re husbands, wives and daughters of artists. They booth sit, hand out water, help with setting up and breaking down and sometimes help me direct artists to their spaces.

Mike Baker makes chainmaille wear and jewelry and has some mad spreadsheet skills. After volunteering at both markets, he emailed me a site map that I thought only existed in my head. Baker seriously lowered my stress levels with his maps. Give him a follow on Instagram at

Luis Carlos has been helping me direct artists to their spots at setup for a couple of years now. Luis’ wife, Jess, attended fairly regularly with her crocheted creatures. They own The Whimsy Artisan Boutique at 1802 Yale St. The Heights Santa will be at their shop Sunday, Dec. 12.

Speaking of the Heights Santa, I wrote about the man behind the beard (real) last week, Steve Sellers. I often call him my Santa Uber this time of year because Sellers is my ride when I pick up rental vans for the markets. I am truly appreciative, for the rides and good conversations, Mr. Sellers.

Ana Guzman isn’t a volunteer but she definitely goes above and beyond as the social media manager at the market. She came on during a hiatus from film production work in the space industry, and has stayed with us even after returning full-time. Guzman makes us look good on social media and from behind her camera.

When I wrote about my “toolbox” at the beginning of November, I mentioned a borrowed tool. My good friend Ronald Ford is the man behind the sawzall that rescued unsuspecting tents from low-hanging branches. Ron and wife Joyce Ford are regular attendees at the market. Thanks you two!

Finally, my girlfriend, Lynn Marie Bevis, set up a database for the market. I couldn’t believe what I had been missing out on for so many years. Seriously, that system still amazes me. Thank you!

Saturday at noon, John and Rebecca Stoll will be performing their original high-energy roots music. The couple has performed at the market for 11 years and go by their band name Grifters & Shills. Check them out at

First Saturday Arts Market is located at 540 W. 19th St. An online roster of the fine artists attending is at

Thank you readers for checking in here every so often. I’ll be back here next week!

Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at for additional highlights and artist’s stories.

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