Workspace: Krysten Bennett, director, Riverside Arts Market
Krysten Bennett, director of the Riverside Arts Market, took the helm of the nonprofit in September and has since had a whirlwind introduction to its multifaceted operations.
The market takes place 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays from March-December under the Fuller Warren Bridge at 715 Riverside Ave.
It opened in 2009 as the brainchild of Riverside Avondale Preservation founder Wayne Wood, who was inspired by a similar market held under a bridge in Portland, Ore.
The market has 198 approved artists, food vendors, food artists, farmers and growers, with space each week for 162 to display their wares.
"It has been overwhelming in the best possible way," said Bennett.
As director, Bennett primarily is in charge of fundraising, marketing and special-event planning.
"There is always something new or something different. So many people depend on the market for their own livelihood and I keep in mind that everything we do has the opportunity to positively impact all our vendors," she said.
Bennett is a Jacksonville native and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts graduate, but said she did not have plans to return to her hometown.
After attending college in Atlanta, she moved back to Jacksonville to regroup for what she imagined would be about six months. Twelve years later, she said she cannot imagine living anywhere else.
"I absolutely love it here. Jacksonville is a great place to live," said Bennett. "It's exciting being part of the city while it is growing and changing and finding itself. When people say there is nothing to do here, I tell them they are just not paying attention."
Bennett said the market is one of Jacksonville's many activities and combines a market with entertainment, family-friendly activities and special events.
It has become an integral part of the personality and culture of both Riverside and Jacksonville as a whole, she said.
"My greatest challenge is making sure people don't take the market for granted. We are not City-run like many people think," she said. "We are a nonprofit and we need people to contribute to and support us just like any other nonprofit organization. They need to come support the locally owned small businesses at the market who are our neighbors."