Art Market Maven
Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Katy Tinsley settled in New Orleans with her now husband after the two got engaged (during a whirlwind romance in Seattle) and decided they wanted to move somewhere new. They both made a list of cities they’d like to live in, and New Orleans ranked high on both of their lists. They have now been here for a little more than two years, and Tinsley says she loves the buzzy yet relaxed energy in the Big Easy. “Also, I eat fried chicken about twice a week so the abundance of options is appreciated.,” she says. As the director of operations and head curator of Palace Market, she definitely knows a thing or two about buzzy.
Palace Market is the only nightly market where art lovers can buy solely handmade goods — making it quite the place to be on any given evening. (The market is open seven nights per week beginning at 7 p.m. and during the day on Saturdays from 1-5 p.m.) A rotating list of more than 100 artists (each market is unique) includes everyone from painters and illustrators to jewelers, photographers and a variety of unique craftspeople. “Being able to buy art directly from the artists is a really unique and special experience,” Tinsley says. “My unofficial slogan for the market is, “Make a friend — then buy their art.’”
Palace Market opened last September, and Tinsley has been in her current role as director of operations and head curator since February. Her main job responsibilities are to keep track of all the little details that keep the market running every day, as well as planning for the future to help the market grow and develop. It’s a job for which she is well-suited.
Tinsley gained a deep appreciation for art early on from her parents, who inspired her to value art. “We spent a lot of time in art museums every trip we took as kids,” she says. “My father was an elementary school art teacher and a jeweler. He would test his lessons out on my sisters and I first, so I spent a lot of time doing miscellaneous crafts.”
While Tinsley does not create art nowadays — she says her art is schedule-making and her medium is Excel sheets — she stays busy curating the market. “There is a community of artists that has flourished on Frenchmen Street for years,” she says. “It’s my goal to help them continue to organize, grow and thrive. We are always looking to add talented local artists with unique work to our community.”
Palace Market features live art events every Saturday night. During the event, one of the artists sets up their studio right in the market so guests can get a firsthand look at how they create their work. “We are also available for private events — you can rent the back courtyard during market hours for a unique behind-the-scenes experience,” Tinsley says.
In terms of her goals for the market, Tinsley is currently collaborating with artists to beautify the space. Long-term goals include expanding so that more talented artists have the opportunity to sell their work. And for those artists out there who have yet to try selling their work, Tinsley recommends coming to the market. “Talk to the artists who sell here,” she says. “They are a wealth of information and are happy to help new artists.”
While Tinsley says she is constantly amazed by the work the artists are creating, she does have some personal favorites based on her own taste. “I’m in love with Julia of Atella Designs — everything she creates is so beautiful,” Tinsley says. “She works so hard; you can find her on her sewing machine at her booth all night long. TYPFY’s new work is really exciting. Illustration in general is my favorite, and his are literally out of this world. If you see him in the market, be sure to ask to see his sketchbook — that’s where all his newest ideas are hiding. You can also find me drooling over River Shepard and Soot & Stain’s booths. They are two badass, extremely talented women who make some of the most unique pieces I’ve seen. These artists aren’t only my favorite artists but some of my favorite people, and that goes for everyone in our community. I feel truly honored to be doing work to support them. The artists that make up our market are some of the hardest working, kindest, funniest people I have ever met.”
For anyone who hasn’t been to Palace Market, Tinsley is waiting for you to come out and explore the bevy of amazing artwork. “We would love to have more locals come to visit us,” she says. “If you are decorating your house or your business, hit us up and we can find the perfect pieces for you. If you don’t want to fight the crowds on Frenchmen Street, just send us an email at [email protected]” palacemarketnola.com