7887 Collective, a creative art market, was launched in December 2020 as a collaborative space for local artists and crafters to showcase their talents.
Devin Molina, property manager of the historic 7887 Main Street building in downtown Houma, said the market is set to oppose the typical idea of a formal gallery, encompassing several different mediums of art — from paintings to woodcraft.
“It’s all to support local people,” he said. “This gives them an opportunity to come to a local space and just have their own work on display and available and to just to get their name out there.”
Once the artist’s application is reviewed and accepted by a committee, the new outlet will assist the artist in various ways so their work has a successful occupancy in the space.
“It really gives an opportunity for [newer artists] who might not know where to start or how to do it,” said Randy Roth, Executive Director of the Bayou Regional Arts Council — which partnered with 7887 Main and the Houma Downtown Development Corporation (HDDC) to create the art market.
Roth added that the new gallery will link artists to residents who have yet to be involved in the art community as well. “It’ll be a space for artists to interact with them,” he said.
In addition to giving opportunities to local talented individuals and connecting them to new and existing art enthusiasts, 7887 Collective is also lining up with the ongoing effort to breathe some new life into downtown Houma.
“Our Main Street is definitely in a situation right now where we desperately need to revitalize,” said Anne Picou, Main Street Manager. “As we all know, art brings people together. It helps to bring that critical boost, that critical thinking. And it helps people with their anxiety and their emotions. It’s a healthy environment for a downtown area.”
Picou went on to say that 7887 Collective will help bring in some foot traffic and hopefully encourage people to stay in the area to perhaps enjoy some food or coffee as well as shopping at its shops, becoming an economic driver.
“I think it’s going to be absolutely a wonderful thing for downtown,” said Lori Underwood, property owner of 7887 Main. “It may not just be a place for artists to display their art. It could also be a medium for people to come in and learn how these artists are actually creating their works of art…I think education will also be an added attraction to this space.”
Underwood also highlighted how the allure of the prominent historic building itself can bring in local folks. Established in 1909, the building was once the Houma City Court building, and before that, the Houma Bargain Store.
“Downtown is our heart center,” she said. “Without the heart center of our community, you lose sight of the fact that we have a historic district and we do have history in this community. We want to ensure that the youth of today understand why these buildings were built, who built them and how they are a part of this historic district.”
“There’s a lot of history to be learned and things we want to share and want people to see,” she continued. “I hope that it brings more community out just to see what’s going on downtown.”•