Although we’ll all celebrate the holidays in modified ways this year, Allied Arts of Whatcom County is making it easy to shop for everyone on your list with online and in-person shopping. The 41st Annual Allied Arts Holiday Festival of the Arts will feature the wares of over 100 local artisans and craftspeople. You’ll find a broad showcase of holiday goods including one-of-a-kind gifts, specialty foods, jewelry and paintings.
“Due to Washington State Safe Start Guidance for COVID-19, the Holiday Festival will look a little different than past years,” explains Allied Arts Executive Director Kelly Hart. “We are taking the health and safety of our patrons, artists and staff very seriously, and yet also trying to retain the 41 years of tradition of the Holiday Festival of the Arts for our community –especially to optimize holiday shopping opportunities in a safe format.”
That safe format includes both online shopping and socially-distant shopping in the Allied Arts Gallery. “You can shop online beginning November 20 through December 23 via our Wired Market with curbside pick up Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving and at 3 p.m. Dec. 24).
Beginning Dec. 4 and through Dec. 24 at 3 p.m., you can stop by our Gallery for the Lite Market–a condensed version of our traditional Holiday Festival happening Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Allied Arts welcomes the community to shop early, often and locally.
This Holiday Festival is also much more than shopping. “On Saturday afternoons, we’ll have Facebook Live performances that include favorite local musicians, artist’s demonstrations and youth art activities,” adds Hart. “So follow us on Facebook now so you won’t miss out.”
Plan to spend a quiet afternoon with the family drinking warm apple cider, listening to live holiday music, while trying a new creative craft activity with items you already have in your own home.
Buy Local and Support Local Artists and Craftspeople
When you shop the Allied Arts Holiday Festival, you’re buying local. That means your holiday dollars stay in your community, sustaining artists and their families, right here in Whatcom County.
Shopping the Holiday Festival creates opportunities to connect with this community. “That connection is more important than ever,” notes Hart. “A handmade gift means so much more when you know that the person who brought it to life lives right here in our community. The pottery, glassware, apparel and other gifts you give will help these artists and craftspeople through a very challenging year. We encourage everyone to use this as a chance to do all your holiday shopping in one safe and convenient place.”
Those dollars will support clay artists like Deb McCunn of Baker Creek Ceramic Studio. You’ll see her humanlike 3-foot tall rabbits in several galleries throughout the Pacific Northwest and Whatcom County. McCunn’s work is more than beautiful animals, it’s inspired by her hopes for future generations of women as they break the glass ceilings.
“I hope my work will open a dialogue about what it means to be feminine, the roles women choose to accept along with the consequences of those roles and lead to future generations of women having more choices and less internal conflict about identity.”
Doug and Sandy Carpenter of Validate Appreciate are also among the local artists sharing their hand crafted pieces at the festival. Both retired elementary school teachers, the Carpenters test out their handmade children’s furniture, toys and games on their five children and eight grandchildren. I love the rainbow colors they’re able to accomplish on their step stools, jewelry boxes and table and chair sets.
From handcrafted natural soaps to homemade fudge, there will be something for everyone on Santa’s list. Check out the amazing crafts, gifts and arts that local artisans and craftspeople have worked hard on all year long.
Safe Shopping in the Lite Market
In compliance with State Guidelines, masks are required for entry to the Lite Market.
“We will also limit the number of families or individuals in the area at one time and sanitize regularly in accordance with current guidelines to ensure the safety of all,” explains Hart. The Lite Market is a Holiday extension of the Allied Arts Gallery that was traditionally open all year long.
Allied Arts invites everyone to include the Holiday Festival of the Arts in their holiday shopping and giving. You can shop online at home with your feet up in your cozy slippers and then take a short stroll through the Lite Market when you pick up your unique treasures.
“We hope the works of our local artists and craftspeople will bring the warmth and joy of the holiday season to the whole community,” says Hart. “Perhaps this holiday season will mean more than ever before because each piece of jewelry, food, art and other gifts were made locally, sustaining the livelihood of our artists and craftspeople during this unprecedented time in our history.”
Insider Tip: Allied Arts will be closed on Thanksgiving and wil close for the holidays on December 24 at 3 p.m.