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Montgomery Museum of Fine Art

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Artist Market: Pam Buwalda and Brooks Barrow

Artist Market kicks off with its preview party the Friday before Thanksgiving with a preview party for museum members from 5:30 to 8:00 P.M. and open to the public Saturday from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Artist Market celebrates local and regional artists by offering an opportunity to feature and sell their art, while also connecting with others in the industry. We took a moment to interview a couple of our artists.

Come join us as we celebrate our 8th Artist Market!


Artist Market promotional image, Pam Buwalda

Pam Buwalda is a Montgomery native who has been participating in Artist Market for four years. She has always been creative, even at a young age, sewing and making jewelry. Now Buwalda is a master leather worker and designs one of a kind items.

Who influenced you to become an artist?

My biggest influence would be hard to pinpoint as I have many, but ultimately, I would have to say, my family. Specifically speaking, my mother, father, and my great aunt, as they are/were creators. They created mainly out of resourcefulness and necessity but it taught me the valuable lesson of “thinking outside the box.”

Where do you create?

I am lucky enough to have a magnificent home studio. Having my studio in-home allows me the freedom to create on a whim as inspiration strikes no matter what hour!

Why did you choose your medium?

I have found myself behind a sewing machine for as long as I can remember as a hobby. I have created things my whole life as well whether it be art, sculpture, jewelry, or clothing. Drawing out my own patterns for accessories and branching out into leather was just a natural progression.

What keeps you coming back to Artist Market year after year?

I love seeing the diverse talent this region has to offer. Many of the artists participating are wonderful people I am blessed to call friends!

Why do you want to be in Artist Market?

I love the energy of this particular holiday market, I see a few customers that I don’t really see throughout the rest of the year. It’s always nice to see familiar smiling faces!

What do you expect to get from participating in Artist Market?

I hope that the Artist Market continues to build my local following as most of my business consists of out of state clients. Montgomery and the surrounding area has a wealth of talent and the Artist Market does a fantastic job of showcasing a diverse group of local talent!

What is your favorite part of Artist Market?

I love seeing what new works have been created by returning artists as well as fresh new artists and the beauty they create. I love the interaction with the crowd that this event draws in. There is never a dull moment!

Have you had any memorable moments that you would like to share?

Ah, there are so many! I would have to say the one that stands out the most would be when a gentleman purchased one of the handbags I had on display. He had me place a ring box in the interior pocket and later that evening proposed to his girlfriend with the bag!

What motivates you to do what you do?

Having always been a creator, I wanted to blur the lines between traditional art and accessories. Accessories, as well as fashion, can be an outwardly visible artistic expression of one’s personality. Mass production makes everyone the “same”. No two of my pieces are exactly the same. Each piece is unique. I enjoy seeing how people style their pieces, what details they appreciate, and ultimately, the way my pieces integrate into the lives and wardrobes of those who receive them!

What makes Artist Market different from the other markets?

I think the Artist Market uniquely represents the talent of the region in a setting that’s impossible to match. The Market itself is, quite literally, surrounded by art. There is truly something for everyone!


Photograph by Mark Sandlin

Brooks Barrow now calls Montgomery home and has been participating in Artist Market for five years. He also had an early start and started with drawing, painting, and even had a studio before making the transition to concrete and stone.

Who was your biggest influence growing up that led you to be an artist?

Growing up I didn’t have one specific influence leading me to art; however, my parents and teachers were always very encouraging of my interest and helped to foster my creativity. As an adult, I find inspiration in the work of several artists such as Marcel Duchamp, and his brothers Raymond Duchamp Villon and Jacques Villon, all men who I perceive as being honest in their art; and in regard to stone, Isamu Noguchi, both as a curator of materials and his austere tradecraft.

Where do you create? 

I work out of a studio in Davenport, about 25 minutes south of Montgomery. My shop is located on family land which was once a pine plantation. I really enjoy working in a natural environment and find it inspires my work.

Why did you choose your medium?

I was exposed to a lot of different media growing up, and early in my life enjoyed drawing and painting.  I’ve been consistently working, full time, with stone for about 10 years now. It offers a lot of creative possibilities and even though artists have made functional and sculptural work with stone for thousands of years, I think there’s still new ground to explore. It’s these possibilities that make working with this material exciting to me.  I also enjoy how different types of stone respond differently as I work with it and the opportunity to use age-old techniques to create pieces that have more of a minimalist, modern sensibility.

What keeps you coming back to Artist Market year after year? 

I participate in several regional artist fairs in the Fall that require traveling. It’s fun to share my work with people in other cities, but the MMFA Artist Market offers a chance to come back home and share work locally–I feel really lucky that I have some wonderful patrons here in Montgomery and it’s always great to see them and to also catch up with fellow artists.  I also feel that the Artist Market is a great way of supporting the mission of the museum as a portion of every sale goes towards museum programming.

What is your favorite part of Artist Market? 

My work is very solitary and with a busy studio season, it’s always really fun to attend Artist Market and have the chance to catch up with the other artists and see the new work everyone has made over the past year. I also look forward to seeing my supporters and hopefully making new connections.

Have you had any memorable moments that you would like to share?

Every year is different, but I am always happily surprised by the support of the patrons and feel lucky to have had great success at Artist Market.

What motivates you to do what you do? 

I have a desire to make quiet, simple things that are in contrast to the world around me.

What makes Artist Market different from the other markets? 

It’s a smaller, more intimate fair, and the MMFA is a beautiful venue–I often find inspiration in the art on view not only by the other artists participating in the fair but in the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions.

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