Integrated art market soon to be opened

by Wasti Atmodjo on 2012-09-11

Quiet hour: A souvenir trader waits for customers at her stall in Kumbasari market in downtown Denpasar.  BD/Zul Trio Anggono Quiet hour: A souvenir trader waits for customers at her stall in Kumbasari market in downtown Denpasar. BD/Zul Trio Anggono

The Kumbasari traditional market, established in 1986 as a market specializing in clothes, statues, accessories, kitchen utensils and various other knick-knacks and souvenirs, is being rebranded as Imperium Kumbasari, an integrated modern art market.

Following a soft launch earlier this year, the Imperium Kumbasari is scheduled to be opened and fully operational by October.

“We will open it as soon as the construction of the underground parking lot and pavement along Jl. Gajah Mada are completed,” said Denpasar market company (PD Pasar) director I Made Westra.

The Imperium Kumbasari rejuvenation project is led by head of the Regional Handicraft Board Ida Ayu Selly Mantra, who is also the wife of the Denpasar mayor.

The modern art market will be connected by a bridge to Peken Badung, the island’s largest traditional market. Its facilities will include an integrated security system complete with CCTV cameras, parking lots, an information center, a park and a lift.

 A full air conditioned display room will be made available to showcase the vendors’ mainstay products such as traditional endek cloth and embroidery.

Other parking lot spaces will also be available at Lokitasari building and Pura Jagatnatha. The parking areas will have a capacity of 2,000 four-wheeled vehicles and 3,000 two-vehicles. There will also be a bus stop near the market.

 “This market will serve as a strong competitor to the souvenir stores which belong to private businesses with large investment,” said Westra.

The four-story open building will have grocery vendors on its first and second floors, with the third and fourth levels for the souvenir center.

There are currently a total of 400 vendors at Kumbasari, with 250 of them selling various items of Balinese clothing and handicrafts. Most of the vendors are wholesalers of handcrafted items; some have even exported their goods on a small scale. Many vendors also supply their goods to the Kuta and Legian art markets as well as to seasonal handicrafts sales at hotels in

Made Indayani, a vendor who sells wooden handicrafts, welcomes the plan. “Hopefully, more visitors will come and we will see an increase in sales revenues,” said Indayani.

Kumbasari used to be the busiest souvenir market on the island. The rise of modern souvenir supermarkets in the main tourist destinations, such as Kuta, Batubulan and Ubud, has seen Kumbasari lose its relevance.

The diminishing role of the market is further aggravated by the decay of its surrounding area, previously Denpasar’s commercial district. It is now simply known as Old Denpasar, while other areas, such as Jl. Teuku Umar, Jl. Gatot Subroto and Jl. Diponegoro, grow to be the city’s new financial and trade districts.

Over the past few years, the city administration has attempted to rejuvenate the district — giving it heritage site status as well as introducing major renovation projects to beautify its sidewalks.

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