LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With Valentine’s Day just two weeks away, Kaiju, a Louisville bar that hosts live music and comedy shows, is now supporting local artists and bands by selling their work at a pop-up market located in the venue.
“With the bars being shutdown or at limited capacity, we had a lot of extra space that we can’t fill with bodies. We can’t have a lot of people in here so we thought let’s open the space to local artists to help them sell some merchandise, you know, in a slow time,” said General Manager John McArdle.
McArdle said Kaiju’s first venture into selling local artists’ work was during Christmas. The pop-up market set up shop in a room that normally has arcade games for customers to enjoy.
Those have all been cleared out and replaced with tables to display framed photography, bath bombs, jewelry, t-shirts, and other items for the Valentine’s Day pop-up event.
McArdle said the Christmas market made $5,000 for local artists, and Kaiju keeps five percent of whatever sells from the pop-up market.
“With the Christmas market we saw a lot of new faces, new customers, more foot traffic. So, yeah, it was exposure for us, and the artists, as well,” McArdle told Spectrum News 1.
One of the artists featured during the tail end of the Christmas market is Tyler Wilson. The 26-year-old specializes in making chainmaille jewelry, which is made by connecting metal rings to one another.
Wilson said he has been making chainmaille since high school, but the Christmas and Valentine’s Day markets are his first foray into making money from his hobby.
“I never thought I could find myself in a position able to make money off of it so hopefully this is able to take off,” Wilson said, adding that he’s so new to this opportunity that he doesn’t have a business name. However, he has started an Instagram page to show off his work.
The Valentine’s Day market gives budding artists like Wilson a chance, and it also allows Kaiju to keep doing what it’s always done, supporting local artists, even during the pandemic.
“We’ve always had a place for artists to have a platform, to show their music or their art, so this is just another extension of that,” McArdle said.
“We’re just rolling with the punches. We’re changing as we need to and as we see fit.”
To visit the Valentine’s Day market, visit Kaiju located at 1004 E Oak St, Louisville, KY 40204. Kaiju is open weekdays from 4 p.m. - 12 a.m. and on weekends from 12 p.m. - 12 a.m.