The initiative is called “Malden Pops Up!” and the community-based organizers extend an invitation to their grand opening on December 9, 2016 at 480 Main Street. The storefront is in a high traffic area, just around the corner from the Malden Public Library. This remarkably collaborative effort involved citizen artists and city officials working with the owner/developer of 480 Main Street to support the local arts community and make this creative activity possible.
According to Ose Schwab, “Chief Instigator” of Malden Creates, LLC, one of the team’s organizers, the plan was a grassroots initiative. “It began with an email from local artist Lisa Sears, who saw a clipping in the Observer about the empty commercial space at 480 Main. She shared it with her artist friends and suggested how nice it would be to have an art center or gallery there.” The idea resonated with other arts activists and was floated to Ryan O’Malley, City Councillor for Ward 4 (where the building is located). He strongly encouraged the group to consider ways to make this dream a reality. The group decided that a holiday pop-up shop that sold items by local artists would test the waters for the possibility of an arts-related space.
A number of artist volunteers attended a Malden Arts board meeting on November 17 to talk about the idea and whether it was possible to do in time for the holidays. O’Malley (who is also a Malden Arts board member) and others on the board agreed it was worth pursuing.
Malden Arts is a volunteer citizen group interested in supporting artists and art projects in Malden. It is entering its eleventh year of existence. Some of their past projects include placing local artists’ work into downtown store windows (Window Arts Malden) and coordinating the “switchbox project,” which has produced a wonderful collection of painted switchboxes throughout the community.
“Malden Pops Up!” volunteers reviewed the available space at 480 Main Street and discussed what would need to happen in order to have a viable store filled with the work of local artists and artisans. Candace Julyan, who is a member of the Malden Arts board, described how quickly the plans developed after that. “By the time we held our next meeting on November 25, we had a “Malden Pops Up!” logo create by Elena Martinez (a Malden-based graphic designer), a plan for soliciting artwork, a series of committees for completing the needed tasks, and a unified sense of purpose.”
The project received an enthusiastic response from city representatives including Christopher Webb (Director of Permits, Inspections and Planning Services), Ryan O’Malley, the Mayor’s office and others. City staff helped facilitate contact with the DSF Group, the owners of the commercial space. Soon after, DSF Group opened their doors for an inspection and a temporary Certificate of Occupancy was issued for Malden Pops Up! The property is brand new, with construction completed earlier this year. (See http://maldenredevelopment.com/content/480-main-malden-square-sold-735-million.)
There are already some sample art items visible in the storefront window. The space will be stocked with artistic holiday gifts by the time of the grand opening on December 9. According to Schwab, “The interior will look much like a retail store selling arts, some crafts, CDs and books. It will not be like a craft fair, but more like a boutique shoppe: elegant, eclectic, and inviting. Gifts will range from the very high end to very affortable. Given that it is a pop-up, there will be temporary fixtures but to the best of our ability, we will make it look like a real, legitimate, aesthetically pleasing store.” Schwab added, “We also plan to host performances in the space during retail hours featuring local musicians and other performing arts.”
Any aspiring artist who would like to participate in this pop up marketplace can get in contact with the organizers. If you’re interested, go to http://www.maldenarts.org/, complete a call to entry (which asks for three images of work samples, and your contact information). There is an entry fee of $50 to cover coordination costs, marketing, merchandising, setup, and sales expenses. Artists do not need to be on-site during the hours the pop-up shop is open, though they are welcome to be present. If you have questions about participating as an artist or performer, you can call Ose Schwab, 781-480-3214. Translators are available to assist as well.
The present plan is to run this Artist Marketplace only for a limited period of time (through the month of December), so tell your friends! Let the organizers know if you’d like to see this established on a more permanent basis in the future. The artists will use the hashtag #ShopLocalArtists on Twitter to share updates about this event.
Where: 480 Main Street, Malden, MA
When: 12/9/16 – 12/24/16, Thursday, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 12:00 Noon – 8:00 p.m.
Who: The project is being hosted by Malden Arts in collaboration with Malden Creates, two private initiatives in support of the arts.
To Participate as an Artist: Fill out the entry form at http://www.maldenarts.org/malden-pops-up.html.
You can find updates and additional event information is at https://www.facebook.com/events/243232766094533/