The holidays may be long over but I’m left with a memory of a special event in my neighborhood, a pop-up (private) party featuring crafts from local artists in the basement of a home transformed into a Moroccan-style bazaar. On behalf of the seven artists that banded together to create this special event, I wanted to share photos and some video highlights that have not yet been shown to the public.
Local artist and community activist Elena Martinez says it all started with a “WHAT IF moment.” She and local artist Bonnie Blanchard were discussing the lack of space where artists could collectively work together. As the holiday time approached, they were looking for venues to sell their work.
They decided to hold a “pop-up” event in the basement of Bonnie’s home and invite guests to attend. It would be a small neighborhood event that would offer holiday arts and crafts for a two-day stint just before the holiday shopping frenzy began. It would also be a showcase for a handful of locally renowned artists who work hard at their craft, but have few venues to showcase and sell their work.
According to Blanchard, the real work came when they began turning a 1200 square foot basement into a 2-day gallery. “We decided on the idea of creating a Moroccan tent in the middle of a desert!”exclaims Blanchard. “We enlisted a friend of mine who is a qualified master artisan, Addi Ouadderrou, a Malden resident who participated in Window Arts Malden (WAM) and owner of Moroccan Caravan in Somerville.”
Armed with staple guns, bamboo poles, and yards of fabric, the room began to transform into a colorful bazaar. Says Blanchard, “We moved furniture, painted tables, created nooks and crannies to display the art and turned this space into a gallery with comfortable seating and movement.”
A lighting crew, led by the Friends of Oak Grove Inc. (FOOGI) managed to create an ambience from another space and time.
The second day of the event was enriched by live Moroccan music led by Ouadderrou, also a musician, and his bandmates.
The participating artists were;
- Elena Martinez – Artfort Design Studio. Jewelry / Holiday & Everyday Cards withTactile effects that brings you back to nature!
- Bonnie Blanchard – Poppysquash Design. Textiles, Scarves and pillows as well as fascinator hats
- Ose Manheim – Manheim Photography. Beautiful landscape photography
- Elizabeth Scorsello, Fine art as well as her scarves
- Ginny Remedi- Ginni Remedi Designs. Ceramics and jewelry
- Addi Ouadderrou – Moroccan Caravan. Moroccan goods and his hand made jewelry
- Wanda Mendoza – 3sistersdollboutique Doll clothing.
The event was so gratifying to the artists and well-received by the attendees that the momentum propelled into a Holiday Marketplace at Luva Hair Salon and Day Spa several weeks later.
Martinez states that artists hope to engage the city in more public events like these. “This was a great experiment in artists creating experiences and events beyond just their craft. What exciting possibilities that holds for Malden!”
Check out this video with camerawork and editing by Karen Lynch: