Handmade Arcade Announces New Programming for 2022 Season

18th Annual Holiday Market Returns to Pre-pandemic Peak December 2—3

November 29, 2022

With its annual Holiday Market just a few weeks away, Handmade Arcade is thrilled to announce expanded interactive programming and a new pre-event virtual catalog. The Holiday Market, which takes place this year on Saturday, December 3, is the largest event of its kind in the region, drawing 10,000 shoppers each year. This year, the market returns to its pre-pandemic peak to host 250 carefully selected makers from across the U.S. representing this discipline's full creative range.

“The Holiday Market is the cornerstone of Handmade Arcade’s mission,” says Tricia Brancolini-Foley, Executive Director. “Now that we are able to match our pre-COVID successes, we are so excited to deepen partnerships within the community and provide new ways for shoppers to engage with the practice of making.”

Clothing brand Catherine Trendz, courtesy of the artist

NEW: Virtual Catalog

This year, Handmade Arcade is debuting a new virtual catalog to allow shoppers to explore the participating makers and plan their wish lists before the event.

“When we shifted to a virtual market in 2020, we learned that shoppers really enjoyed taking their time and learning more about the makers before they made their purchases,” says Brancolini-Foley. “Our virtual catalog represents everything we learned about connecting with attendees digitally over the last two years, and is an exciting growth for the market.”

Attendees can browse the virtual catalog on the Handmade Arcade website before the event.

2018 Hands-on Handmade Activities, courtesy of Joey Kennedy

Expanded Interactive Programming

Handmade Arcade is partnering with 16 organizations and independent artists to host more interactive opportunities than any previous market. These hands-on activities and demonstrations, presented by Studebaker Metals, encourage attendees to explore artistic processes up close and learn from professionals. The interactive demonstrations are a key element of the event, which is more than just a shopping experience. 

“Our hands-on activities and artist demonstrations are opportunities to show off the incredible skill of the making community, and to engage people in the process and practice necessary to create the products they love so much,” says Brancolini-Foley. 

All attendees are invited to make their own holiday keepsakes with the free Make-and-Take Crafts, including Boho Fabric Tassel Making with Scrapwerx and Collage Making with The Frick Pittsburgh. These hands-on activities will happen throughout the Holiday Market on December 3 and do not require prior registration.

Glassblowing, courtesy of the Pittsburgh Glass Center

In addition to hands-on programming, artists will share their techniques via interactive demonstrations, including Large-scale Silk Screening with Artist Image Resource and students from CAPA High School and a Glassblowing Demonstration by the Pittsburgh Glass Center.

“We encourage shoppers to make time to do a hands-on craft with their family or chat with one of the professional artists during the event,” says Brancolini-Foley. “It gives you a whole new appreciation for every handmade piece of jewelry, artwork, article of clothing, or bath product in your life.”

After shoppers have made their purchases, they can stop by the Framer’s Market where the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council will provide discounted custom framing. A portion of all sales will benefit Handmade Arcade’s Youth Maker Scholarship.

Youth Makers Veronica, Noa, Sisters Gia and Anna, and Taylor, courtesy of Handmade Arcade.

The Youth Maker Accelerator Program 

With support from The Grable Foundation and The American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) Foundation, Handmade Arcade will host its largest Youth Maker Cohort to date. This year’s Holiday Market will feature eleven youth makers from the Pittsburgh region that represent a broad range of goods including clothing from deseesed, makeup and beauty products from Boss Girl Collection, and cards and stickers from Inspire Great Things, among others. The market will also host 10 EdCorps Classrooms and three youth maker-led hands-on activities.

The Youth Maker Accelerator Program is part of HA’s mission to create meaningful opportunities for youth makers to connect with the wider maker community by providing free vendor space, money for materials and event expenses, and professional development workshops and mentorship. 

“Youth makers are such an important part of our mission and this event,” says Brancolini-Foley. “It’s critical for us to show these emerging makers that they are part of a dynamic and diverse community of creative people and that we believe in their skills.”