Local artists reckon with selling art amid Burlington homeless crisis

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 10:24 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 20, 2023 at 10:25 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Local artists are reckoning with selling art amid Burlington’s homeless crisis.

Burlington’s Winter Market kicked off over the weekend in City Hall Park. The annual market features two dozen vendors selling homemade crafts, food and drinks.

This is Holly Bahnsen’s third year selling jewelry at the market. She relies on holiday shoppers to make a living. But she can’t help but think of the unhoused frequenting City Hall Park on the outskirts of the market, who multiply each year.

“There’s the interesting duality of some people just recreating and then some people who don’t have a choice,” Bahnsen pointed out.

Bahnsen adds to a larger conversation about who gets to enjoy City Hall Park and who’s stuck there. This tension is particularly obvious in the winter when those with a home can enjoy the chill on their own terms.

The Winter Market runs every weekend until Dec. 23. Until then, Bahnsen hopes the homeless can enjoy the heaters and fires placed around the market, and perhaps use the vendor booths for shelter at night.