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ABAG Member, Deutsch Foundation and Baltimore Integration Partnership - In the News: "Pop-Up Art"

Monday, December 7, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz
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December 7, 2015

Baltimore Style

On a late summer night this year, several working Baltimore artists came together to design—of all things —a user-friendly North Avenue department store stocked with original items, organized by merchandise departments (accessories, housewares, furnishings, etc.) rather than individual participants. The 75 vendors who’d signed on—without fee or the possibility of rejection—had little time to spare before the opening of the city’s first-ever pop-up department store featuring local makers’ wares for sale (and for corporate contractual consideration). The impromptu team got it done—and done well.

"There was a double rainbow that night,” says Sarah Templin, one of the three event facilitators who joined forces through an organization tagged theIndustrial Arts Collective, or IAC.

Organized by William Holman (Deutsch Foundation, Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation and Open Works maker space), Templin (who owns the Radica Textiles custom business) and Andy Cook (Baltimore City Office of Sustainability), the pop-up shop ran three nights a week this fall, and even though Holman, Templin and Green didn’t quite know what to expect when they accepted the various designers and builders and seamstresses and diverse crafters, the event succeeded well beyond their highest expectations—meaning that many artists received bids for future products, and many more sold crafts on site, to the tune of a $20,000 profit.

Holman, for his part, is focused on growing small manufacturing in the city.

"Steel isn’t coming back,” says Holman. "Lockheed Martin isn’t about to build bombers here. We’re not going to drive mass employment. But if everyone of the 465 [estimated manufacturers located in Baltimore] hires one or two people, that looks like something. One of my favorite statistics: Small manufacturing has grown 60 percent since 2003.”

The next similar pop-up shop happens at the Women’s Industrial Exchange on Charles Street, in December, just in time for holiday shopping. All applications are accepted—in the same no-contest spirit of openness as before—so if you happen to make desks or dolls or old-fashioned tea cozies, maybe you’ve already considered applying. You’ve got economicmuscle you might not have imagined.

"Two critical events [connected to the pop-up shop]…brought architects, interior designers and more to meet our makers,” Holman explains of the fall event. "The Baltimore Integration Partnership or BIP was a co-sponsor, plus 11 local anchor institutions—hospitals, government organizations and universities—who spend over a billion dollars a year. The mission is to focus purchasing power on local businesses.

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