It’s that time of year again: There’s a chill in the air, holiday tunes blast from the radio, fuzzy sweaters become a daily uniform … and hordes of holiday shoppers descend on malls across the city. We make our lists and check them twice, prowling for sales and trying to tick off gifts as quickly and efficiently as possible. But why not spread cheer a little more creatively this year? Arts markets offer an original alternative to mass-produced mall wares—not to mention a more fun shopping experience for harried holidaymakers.
Not sure where to start? The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) presents their Bazaart Holiday Art Market on Saturday, Nov. 26, while the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) holds their annual Art Market from Wednesday, Dec. 7, to Saturday, Dec. 10. Both events highlight original creations by talented artists, designers and craftspeople, encouraging community support for the arts and local businesses and inspiring a fresh twist on affordable gift-giving. Both markets offer free admission; goods range in price from $5 to $120.
Bazaart brings together artists and shoppers inside the Jim Rouse Visionary Center’s event space. Artists from all over the East Coast—all the way south from Florida and all the way north from New Hampshire—travel just to participate in the event. As for the shoppers, the population proves to be diverse: AVAM members, Baltimore locals, out-of-state visiting families, young students and old folks, ready to search for the perfect present. And if you’re worried about the crowds on Saturday, Bazaart offers a “First Dibs” party the night before where shoppers can talk directly with artists and preview their wares while enjoying some light fare, beer and wine for a small entrance fee.
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