Market to showcase local arts and crafts

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All forms of art will be on display at the old Donald schoolhouse this weekend as local artisan April Gates hosts the third-annual Schoolhouse Pop-up Market event. 

Taking over the historic building located on Gelert Road, the market will feature 14 artists showcasing a broad spectrum of mediums, including pottery, painting and woodworking. The event runs Sept. 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Gates, who runs her Blackbird Pottery studio out of the schoolhouse, conceptualized the event while isolating during the pandemic. 

After being grounded by provincial regulations, Gates wanted to organize a gathering of likeminded artists, coming together to put on a diverse spread of arts and crafts for the public. That first event, held in summer 2020, was an overwhelming success, said Gates, so much so that she decided to make it an annual occurrence. 

“Exhibiting in a smaller space, having an event that’s a little more personal really resonated with the artists, and the community seemed to like it as well,” Gates said. “Small markets are nothing new, however, in a world where events grow larger and larger, we return to a more intimate, grassroots experience for artists, makers and patrons, while weaving new life into this historic property.” 

This year’s market will feature a host of new faces, with Gates saying it’s important to keep events like this fresh. The lineup includes: Noelia Marziali, a painter who also specializes in leather and wood works; fibre artist Sandi Luck; conceptual artists Chris Hanson and Hendrika Sonnenberg, and Kelsey Redman, showcasing her Mending and Macrame crafts business. Gates said her event is a little different as artists are specifically sought out and invited to appear. 

“It’s a curated show, and I try to keep it diverse from year to year… I would say around 80 per cent of the people involved this year are not exhibiting on a regular basis, so I think that creates a little bit of intrigue for patrons and an opportunity to experience something new,” Gates said. She added it was events like this that make her feel lucky to call Haliburton County home. 

“I’ve been in the community 20 years now, and if it weren’t such an arts-geared community I’m not sure I would have stayed,” Gates said. 

“There’s always been an incredible amount of support for the arts community, and that’s just growing as the community grows. Now that we’ve become more of a destination, we see all kinds of arts events, which provides a great opportunity for our artists to showcase their creations. 

“This market has been such a blessing. I hope to keep it running for years to come. I’ve met so many wonderful people over the past three years, and learned about so many different artists and mediums… It only feels right to try and share that with the wider community,” Gates said.