Make Your Mark by Entering Pittsburgh’s Handmade Arcade

Artists have until Sunday to submit their applications to the independent craft fair held annually in December.

photos by joey kennedy

The deadline is looming. Local artists and makers looking to participate in this year’s Handmade Arcade have until 11:59 p.m. Sunday to submit their applications.

Handmade Arcade is Pittsburgh’s largest independent craft fair and features the work of vendors from around the world. This year’s event takes place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Dec. 8 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown. An “Early Birdie” shopping hour kicks off at 10 a.m. the same day.  

For those hoping to apply to the 2018 show, anything goes — as long as it’s creative.

“We are really looking for originality, creativity, inventiveness and using materials in new ways,” says Jennifer Baron, the event's director of marketing and outreach.

Submissions should include high-quality, clear images of the creator’s work and show a variety of products, Baron says. After the submissions undergo the jury process, applicants will be notified in September if they are to be included in the event.

Last December, more than 10,000 visitors attended Handmade Arcade, according to Barron. The event generated more than $400,000 in sales from more than 170 vendors.

The event features a wide variety of products, including artwork, accessories, clothing, bath and body products, housewares, jewelry, paper goods and toys.

This year, Handmade Arcade is offering an expanded vendor space and bringing back the Craft Corridor for first-time participants. The event also makes its return to Hall B in the upper-level of the convention center.

“This has natural light, expanded space and access to the spacious lobby and balcony with a beautiful view of the Allegheny River,” Baron says. “We are very excited for that.”

New this year is “The Cutting Edge: A Fundraiser for Handmade Arcade.” Taking place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 7 at the convention center, the fundraiser — held the night before the main event — gives attendees a first look at the vendor wares while enjoying a variety of activities.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will support the event's free admission, the Hands-on Handmade Activity Area and the Craft Corridor. Earnings also will go toward the Youth Maker Scholarship Program, which provides resources and mentoring for creators ages 16 to 18. Tickets for the fundraising event are $30 for those 18 and older. 

“This is a nice step to expand from the one-day model and give our supporters a first look at the celebration,” Baron says. “The heart of our mission is for the public to meet the makers who are selling their artwork.”


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