For more than a decade, Northeast Ohio's artists, crafters and makers of all kinds have been at the forefront of the independent, DIY or "shop local" movements sweeping across the country and internet. In typical Cleveland style, these events are choosing to cooperate instead of compete with each other. This weekend, six local-art holiday markets are teaming up for what will be the largest holiday event in the region, showcasing local and regional artists. CLE Creates is a collaborative effort by organizers of the ArtCraft Building, Cleveland Bazaar, Screw Factory, Terra Vista Studios, Tower Press and Zygote Press.
"Cleveland has a long-standing tradition of holiday arts events. This is ArtCraft's 29th annual sale, Bazaar has been doing holiday shows since 2004 [and] the Screw Factory has been doing open studios of various kinds for 15-plus years," says Shannon Okey, founder of the Cleveland Bazaar. "By working collaboratively to cross-promote and raise awareness of just how much is happening over that weekend, we hope to reach not only our existing supporters but also new ones, and to expand opportunities for everyone."
Each event has separate hours, but all the events take place over the weekend of Dec. 2 to 4. In addition to attracting local shoppers, the group is using their collaborative efforts to reach out to a broader audience.
"With so many different arts-focused buildings being open to the public all at once, we wanted to have a one-stop info shop online where potential attendees could find out just how many buildings (and how many artists) were open and selling over the course of this one weekend," Okey says. "Tony [D'Alessandro, representing the Screw Factory] and I met with Destination Cleveland recently so they could reach out to their base, including hotel concierges and other visitor-friendly staff, and get the word out that this is the weekend to come to Cleveland if you're an arts lover."
The weekend begins with the Annual Holiday Open Studio at the Screw Factory (aka, the Lake Erie Building, 13000 Athens Ave., Lakewood); hours are from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. This annual open studio includes both resident artists and guest artists and vendors. While the event is free, organizers are hosting a food drive, and encourage guests to bring non-perishable food items to be donated to St. Augustine's and Lakewood Community Service Center. Bins will be outside the entrance.
All weekend long, Terra Vista Studios (1400 East 30th St.) hosts its Holiday Sale. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday; noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday; and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The show includes Terra Vista Studio artists, other tenants of the building and more than a dozen guest artists displaying gifts and works of art including clay and metal sculptures, hand-knit accessories, drawings, industrial inspired furniture and much more.
Back in the early 1980s, students at the Cleveland Institute of Art created a pop-up shop known as the Bohemian Department Store at the Tower Press Building (1900 Superior Ave.). More than 30 years later, Tower Press continues to host its annual Open Studios and Holiday Sale. This year's event takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, and features resident artists of the building.
Now in its 29th year, the ArtCraft Holiday Open Studio and Sale is one of the season's biggest events for local artists. Dozens of artists will sell original art and handmade gifts including paintings, ceramics, glass, mixed media, metals, wood, furniture, jewelry, clothing and accessories, as well as handcrafted confectionaries, candles, soaps, perfume and more. In addition to hosting local artists, organizers also provide space for Friends of the Cleveland Kennel and the Catholic Charities Benefit Cleveland Field Kitchen and Salt & Honey Bakery in Fount. The sale takes place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday at 2570 Superior Ave.
Zygote Press (1410 East 30th St.) hosts its annual Off the Wall Holiday Show, featuring handmade gifts such as prints, cards, handmade books, scratch pads and more created by the printmakers of Zygote Press. Off the Wall opens with a reception from 1 to 3 p.m. this Saturday, and continues on Sunday. Extended weekend shopping hours are from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
The Cleveland Bazaar's event at Lake Affect Studios (1615 East 25th St.) is one of several the group has scheduled during the holiday season. (In total, organizers will exhibit the works of nearly 300 local artists at venues such as 78th Street Studios, which has its shopping event on Dec. 10 and 11). This weekend's show at Lake Affect features more than 70 guest artists, in addition to Lake Affect's resident artists. The Cleveland Bazaar at Lake Affect Studios takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Saturday.
Organizers ask guests to use and follow #CLEcreates on social media. For more information, visit clecreates.com.