Over the years, Grand Rapids has earned their right to be named one of the greenest communities in the country, but retaining this title will involve creativity in our the new ventures and pathways we engage. One organization, Right Brain Events' 3rd annual Recycled Art Market, has tapped into this idea and for the past few years, has presented a unique artists' market that is growing more and more each year in vendors, but also attendees.
I must admit I did not attend year one, but upon visiting their second event, I was won over, experiencing first-hand what I believe to be one of the coolest and best artists' markets in the entire region. While I was expecting to see the same old tired and boring product lines common at these types of reuse markets, I found many wonderful handmade objects made from recycled materials. I was guilty of spending a bit more than I hoped, indulging in the "one gift for you, one gift for me" routine.
Not only does this event pack 56 vendor booths (up from 40 in 2010), but this year's event has even more new artisans, along with many of the great artists who participated in the past.
New artists appearing this year include The Gladstone Company (antique silver and other found objects recycled into home décor), The Empty Nest (jewelry from vintage typewriter keys), and Karen Cotton of cotton-NEWity (bracelets from empty coffee and pet food bags).
And while I have many personal favorites that I will return to see what they have to offer, I will never miss a chance to check out the Funamals booth featuring handmade cards, puppets and pet portraits. Last year, I commissioned Funamals to create a custom pet portrait as a Christmas gift and was very happy with the result.
So while there are plenty of artists' markets all year around in our city, this is truly the market that you should not miss. It helps direct your greenbacks into our artists' community, but most of all, the mission of those eligible to exhibit here each year engages the reuse principal on a new level in our community. This is a level beyond buildings and take-away restaurant containers, and one necessary for us to be truly worthy of our green status going forward into the future.
Admission: $1. (This event benefits the GRPS City High/Middle Schools)