In Syracuse this holiday season, it’s possible locally to buy batik clothing or textiles made by Mayan weavers or “beerings,” jewelry fabricated from recycled beer cans, caps, and a copper pipe.
Local artists and artisans not only sell their own creations but also come together for festivals and fundraisers around the holidays.
Central Current contributor Carl Mellor compiled a list of venues and events that operate well outside the realm of malls and mass-produced goods.
Downtown Art Mart
The granddaddy of the alternative holiday circuit, Downtown Art Mart is in its 67th year. Located at 431 S. Warren St., 30 artists share expenses and shifts waiting on customers.
There’s a variety of items on display: Deborah Laun’s art jewelry including “beerings,” Greg Trombly’s original pastels and cards, large and small glassworks by David McKenney. Other Art Mart participants include Paul Molesky, creator of wood-fired ceramics, and Nancy Kieffer who has photographs and mixed-media pieces on site.
Art Mart is open Mondays through Saturdays until Dec. 24 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 315-380-3196.
Wildflowers Armory operates downtown year-round in the McCarthy Building, on the corner of South Salina and East Fayette streets. Wildflowers, accessible from the East Fayette Street side, coordinates an upstairs-downstairs set-up, with many vendors on location.
On the first floor, in Wildflowers’ own space, visitors will encounter prints and other items by Maria Vallese, Judy Lieblein’s jewelry, Dan Bingham’s hand-printed totes, and Kingsley Street Artisan Soaps. Look for an array of posters published by the Syracuse Poster Project and various items from the Syracuse Cultural Workers’ portfolio: cups, bumper stickers, books, and more.
Wildflowers, the core tenant for this sector of the McCarthy building, also coordinates a large basement space housing Nectar Espresso Bar and Vintages and 14 more shops.
This is an eclectic group, including Accents Jewelry, the Flower Skate Shop — with an inventory of hoodies, skateboard decks, and other items — and Cherry Pit, a woman’s clothing shop. A cooperative involving three partners, it focuses on vintage clothing and emphasizes repurposing clothing.
Finally, the downstairs space has a pop-up component Saturday and Sunday afternoons when Crafted Underground incorporates crafters who set up a table for the day.
Wildflowers is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, access wildflowersarmory.com.
Just west of downtown, Delavan Studios at 509 W. Fayette St. will host an open house on Dec. 3 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Delavan houses studios occupied by over 35 local artists; Wendy Harris, Phil Parsons and John Fitzsimmons are all part of the artists’ roster. The open house offers an opportunity to meet artists in their studios and purchase artworks.
Admission for the event is $4 in advance or $5 at the door. All proceeds go toward the painting of a new mural on an exterior wall.
Another West Side venue, Stay Fresh design studio and gallery at 108 Wyoming St., is coordinating a Secret Santa event on Dec. 3 with a radical twist.
The names of 21 local artists, including Stasya Erickson and Jaleel Campbell, were placed in a hat. Each participant then picked a name and started working on a portrait of that person; each work is done in a style chosen by the artist.
Those portraits will be on display from 6 to 10 p.m. The price of admission isn’t cash — but art supplies such as paints, brushes or pencils or music supplies like drumsticks. Supplies are being collected for The Arts Project (known as “TAPS”) which supports students who don’t have access to equipment needed to make art or music.
The Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival, held Dec. 3-4 at Nottingham High School at 3100 E. Genesee St., benefits and is coordinated by the Syracuse Peace Council.
The craftsfair again combines several elements: displays of work by over 100 artists, music, food trucks, and tables staffed by community organizations such as Alliance for a Green Economy and Cooperative Federative Credit Union.
Vendors include Barbara Conte-Gaugel, displaying cloth bags; jewelers Michelle DaRin and Dana Stenson; Magda Bayoumi, renowned for her baklava and other desserts; Kevin Gallelli, maker of batik clothing.
The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 3. It runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 4. Admission is $2-$5 on a sliding scale, free for those 65 or older or 16 years old and younger.
ArtRage Gallery Fair Trade Sale
The ArtRage Gallery is partnering with Mayan Hands, which facilitates the sale of goods made by Mayan communities in Guatemala, and SERVV International, an organization founded in 1949.
SERVV works with crafters based in Nepal, India and other nations.
The gallery, at 505 Hawley Ave., will host a Fair Trade sale on Dec. 9, from 2 to 6 p.m., and Dec. 10, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cookies and Fair Trade coffee will be served.
On Dec. 11, Parthenon Books, 333 S. Salina St., is supporting local artists with a sale running from noon to 4 p.m. Prints, jewelry, clothing and other items will be on display.
Parthenon, an independent bookstore, has an ongoing relationship with local writers. It sets aside a space for poetry, fiction and non-fiction books by Syracuse authors, which will be available for purchase at the sale as well.
Know of another craft fair or local artisans’ festival? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carl Mellor covered visual arts for the Syracuse New Times from 1994 to 2019. He continues to write about artists and exhibitions in the Syracuse area.
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