Art pop-up shop brimming with handmade gifts, holiday activities, art demos, food
GoggleWorks Center for the Arts (GoogleWorks) announced the launch of a major event on Saturday, December 3rd that it’s calling the Handcrafted Holiday Market. GoggleWorks will mount an enormous pop-up shop of artists and makers selling high-quality handmade gifts at a range of prices. The art center is also planning a daylong schedule of interactive programs surrounding the retail pop-up shop designed to activate its former goggle factory campus in downtown Reading:
- hands-on holiday workshops in a variety of studio art forms
- live demonstrations from renowned artists
- holiday-themed interactives like handmade wreath-making and Christmas ornaments
- kids programs and family activities
- live musical performances
- holiday-themed films
- pop-up restaurant by DoubleTree by Hilton, including unique culinary activities
“We believe we can develop a craft show that is unlike any other in the country–overpouring with vibrant, hands-on creative and retail shopping experiences, but which also opens its arms to everyone in our community during the holidays,” said Levi Landis, GoggleWorks Executive Director.
To ensure that the Handcrafted Holiday Market showcases major artists that make high-quality work, GoggleWorks will jury in dozens of visiting artists and craftspeople to join its 35 resident studio artists. But leaders are also committed to presenting an event that is fun and accessible for everyone by instituting a pay-what-you-can admission fee and showcasing artists who make affordable handmade gifts for holiday shoppers.
This shift in focus toward a more inclusive event sets the Handcrafted Holiday Market apart from its predecessor, Arts Festival Reading, which was designed to draw and develop fine art collectors. “Beginning in 2019, we moved the previous juried art fair to just before the holidays and took steps to make it more accessible, including the removal of admissions fees last year,” said Kristy Brown, GoggleWorks Finance Director, who will lead the event alongside volunteer chair Melodie Burkey. “The response from our audience, artists, and community was overwhelming, so we knew that this was the year to launch the Handcrafted Holiday Market.”
The event will be added to the art center’s year-round schedule of major events, including the Spring Iron Pour and the recent Pumpkin Palooza, welcoming thousands of visitors to downtown Reading. Earlier this year, the art center announced a major redevelopment of its campus as an outdoor art park to build momentum around so-called creative placemaking activities. “This event could take new shape as we develop the creative infrastructure around GoggleWorks,” said Landis. “We are inspired by cities that stage multi-week holiday festivals and massive outdoor pop-up shops. I’m excited to see what our community can grow if we use this year’s Handcrafted Holiday Market as the seed.”