The Kentuck Arts Center just launched its Virtual Marketplace to stand in for its annual Festival of the Arts.

This year would've marked the 49th year of the festival before the in-person event was canceled back in July due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Kentuck quickly shifted gears and transitioned the event to a digital platform.

The Virtual Marketplace introduced some new features this year, primarily an extension of the festival throughout the end of the year.

"It means so much to our community, and we couldn't imagine not having a festival," Amy Echols, Kentuck's Executive Director, told The Tuscaloosa Thread in August. "This unique opportunity of an extended festival is hopefully going to make up for the losses a lot of these artists are probably feeling lately."

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Echols described the online layout for the marketplace as 'Pinterest-eque' – items and vendor slots are arranged in a grid-style layout. Viewers can search either by artist, an item's recency, price or by medium.

Artisans are currently selling all sorts of jewelry, sculptures, paintings and more. Items can be sorted by material, from clay and glass to wood and metal.

Echols mentioned that she initially expected roughly 100 vendors for this new event, as opposed to the normal average 250, selling about $500,000 of artwork. However, during the first two days of the marketplace launching, makers have already sold $50,000 worth of their crafts.

"It's a great start, and we're looking to growing that number in the next few months," Ashely Williams, Kentuck Marketing Director, said.

For more information, follow Kentuck Art on Facebook or visit the Virtual Marketplace at Kentuck.org.