SEBERANG PERAI, March 13 — It began with murals depicting the history of Butterworth along a 300-metre stretch of narrow alley back in 2016.
Located next to Lodge 18 Hotel off Lorong Bagan Luar Satu, this was meant to stretch all the way to Jalan Jeti Lama.
Today, an iron monkey sculpture perched on a lamp-post marks the beginning of the alley which showcases all sorts of art pieces.
Recently, small hand-painted cardboard hot air balloons were strung up along the length of the alley to make it look festive.
The Butterworth Art Walk is a joint project by local architect and artist Zaini Zainul, Think City and Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP).
Zaini also introduced the Butterworth Art Market along the front portion of the Art Walk last December.
Held every weekend, the art market is divided into three sections.
The first is Bakat Seni Bagan which has a small stage for “live” performances.
“Music bands and performers such as jugglers and even dancers can book a slot to perform on stage but they have to register with us,” said project director Hairi Nasir.
Performers will be paid a token sum for their performances and anyone can register to perform.
The second section is the rows of vendors showcasing local art and handicraft items.
“We look for local handmade arts and crafts as we want to promote local-made items and local talents,” he said.
Stalls selling home-cooked food, handicraft items such as handbags and keychains and local snacks are set up on both sides of the alley.
At the end of the stretch is Arts Kiddo. “This arts corner for children will use recyclable materials to encourage children to recycle while spurring on their creativity,” he said.
There will also be “live” sketching and “live” painting sessions at the art market.
On Sundays, instead of Bakat Seni Bagan, an open mike session will be held at the stage area. As the name suggests, anyone can go up and perform without registering.
“Anyone can go up to sing, to give a speech, to do a poetry recital... it is up to them,” Hairi said.
The art market has been drawing people, not only from around Butterworth but also from the island, Kulim, Sungai Petani and Alor Setar.
Zaini said the market is now providing an avenue for Butterworth people to learn about art and also a space for them to have fun.
“This market fits the needs of Butterworth residents as a place to spend their leisure time,” he said.
The art workshops too provide adults and children alike with the necessary exposure to the world of art.
Zaini said the market was even invited to participate in the Seberang Perai Municipal Council car-free event, the Butterworth Purple Heritage Trail event and the upcoming Perai Celebration on March 30.
He added that the nearby hotel, Lodge 18, has been very supportive of the art market all these months by providing electricity for the art market each weekend.
The Butterworth Art Market currently has about 14 vendors but Hairi said they hope to expand it to the whole stretch of the back lane in future.
“The response to the art market is slowly picking up and we are getting more people here,” he said.
The art market is one of the many projects that Think City is involved in under the Butterworth Baharu Plan to rejuvenate the old town of Butterworth.
Those interested to participate in any of the art market’s events or be a vendor can call Hairi at 011-23296115 or Zaini at 012-3100011.
Butterworth Art Market
Jalan Bagan Luar Satu,
Time: 4pm-10pm (Saturdays), 2pm-6pm (Sundays)
*Think City is undertaking urban regeneration programmes for George Town, Kuala Lumpur and Johor. Find out more about Think City and its projects at thinkcity.com.my.