Evanston Made’s second-annual Maker’s Market adjusts set up to safely accommodate local artists

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Courtesy of Kathy Halper

The Maker’s Market at Maple Street Parking Garage in Downtown Evanston. The market was adapted this year to meet COVID-19 restrictions.

Jorja Siemons, Reporter

Seventy-four Evanston-based artists sold goods ranging from beaded necklaces to illustrated cards two parking spaces apart from one another at the Maple Street Parking Garage as a part of the second annual Maker’s Market hosted by non-profit Evanston Made.

To ensure ability for social distancing at the Oct. 18 event, attendees had to reserve time slots beforehand and were only allowed to shop for half an hour each. Evanston Made’s executive director, Lisa Degliantoni, said she was initially uncertain about hosting the event, but feedback from local artists proved its importance, and resulted in a socially distanced market.

“(The motivation) came from the vendors requesting that we do something to help them sell in an environment where a lot of them have not sold their goods in a really long time,” she said.

Degliantoni founded Evanston Made in 2012 after she moved to Evanston and realized there was no organization connecting citizens to local creatives. Last year, the organization instituted the Maker’s Market to provide a “super casual, fun shopping environment,” Degliantoni said, with local vendors and multiple booths teaching people how to make various handicrafts.

Though this year’s market served the same purpose, Evanston Made created COVID-19 safety protocols for vendors and shoppers to follow. Vendors were only allowed to use contactless payment methods, elevators were disinfected often and hand sanitizer and masks were provided.

Maker’s Market board member Evan Finamore said the market took on a much more “controlled” disposition this year, compared with the bustling environment of years prior.

While Finamore enjoyed last year’s atmosphere, she said she had hoped the event would retain its personality.

“Everything is different, so it’s just another thing that has to be orchestrated differently,” Finamore said.

For vendors, the market was also an opportunity to showcase pieces made during the pandemic.

Eco and botanical artist Baz Cumberbatch presented a new mixed media series inspired by Lake Michigan’s beauty. Using only natural materials such as bamboo and coconut, Cumberbatch created illustrations and miniature models of sailboats.

“Put it on the lake or in a pond, with the water and wind blowing, (and) it will move just like a regular sailboat,” Cumberbatch said.

Socorro Muciño, a photographer and printmaker, also featured work based on the local landscape with her new project “Looking Up.” Consisting of various photographs of Evanston trees, the series serves as a “spiritual” experience that Muciño hopes inspires people to “look forward to a better time.”

Vendors also said they saw the market as a safe way to engage with the community.

Paul Segedin of Urban Prairie Design makes furniture using copper pipe and locally sourced wood, and has mainly done commissions recently. Nevertheless, he joined the market to connect with his hometown.

“It’s going to be fun to be out there with other artists,” he said prior to the event.

At the market, Segedin showcased wood and copper candle holders, cutting boards and several small sculptures he made out of wire and wood.

Despite the difficulties many residents are facing, Deligantoni said she remains grateful for local engagement.

“The silver lining of COVID has been that people are willing to step up and support the creative community of Evanston,” Deligiantoni said.

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