Handmade Arcade “Springs” Into Sustainable Market Featuring Emerging Makers

The annual spring market will host artists who create environmentally friendly designs, as well as a new youth maker cohort.
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Handmade Arcade is going back to where it all began for its annual Spring Market, hosting a variety of emerging independent makers and their works at Construction Junction in Point Breeze.  

Free to the public, Western Pennsylvania’s largest nonprofit supporting artists and makers takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 29. 

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Tricia Brancolini-Foley, executive director of Handmade Arcade, says the nonprofit wanted to bring the Spring Market back to Construction Junction because it was the location of the first maker event in 2004; this year’s market also introduces new artists to the greater Pittsburgh community. 

“Our Spring Market is specifically for new and emerging makers who have only been in business for a few years and are still getting their footing in the maker economy,” she says. 

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This year’s market will host a variety of artists who create environmentally friendly designs. You can expect to find felt and wool jewelry, upcycled pieces and old bike tubes converted into journals. Brancolini-Foley says hosting these new makers uphold Handmade Arcade and Construction Junction’s mission to use recyclable materials and create sustainable art. 

“We really want to support zero-waste artists and artists who are upcycling, recycling and being mindful of waste that they’re creating,” she says. 

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Along with the 33 featured makers, this spring’s market will include a youth maker cohort where young attendees can create plushies, crochet items and screen-printing. 

Handmade Arcade also launched a virtual Spring Market catalog on its Instagram that gives makers the opportunity to introduce their craft with the community before the event. The market itself will include food trucks, a mobile drink bar and a traveling ceramics studio. 

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Brancolini-Foley adds Handmade Arcade puts a twist on traditional art festivals by teaching emerging makers how to handle and grow their businesses. 

“We decided to do this to introduce new makers to this creative economy that Pittsburgh already has to give them the support that they need to build their business, to hopefully give them a platform so that they can continue building their businesses,” she says.

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