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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Evanston Art Center hosts 21st Annual Winter Expo to support local artists

Jillian Moore/The Daily Northwestern
The Evanston Art Center is hosting the 21st Annual Winter Arts & Crafts Expo Nov. 18 to Dec. 20. The event is sponsored by the Evanston School of Ballet Foundation, Berglund Animal Hospital, Chiro One Wellness Centers and Aim and Ailie.

The Evanston Art Center is hosting its 21st Annual Winter Arts and Craft Expo from Nov. 18 to Dec. 20. The pop-up market features crafts created by local artists and serves as a platform to showcase new and upcoming artists for those looking to holiday shop. 

A panel of three to four board members selects and determines which applicants will exhibit their art during the expo, according to Emma Rose Gudewicz, the director of development and exhibition manager at the Art Center. Most applicants are local to the Chicago area, with some coming from other Midwestern states. 

A total of 300 applications were filtered down to around 160 booths decked with unique handmade crafts. Proceeds will benefit the ongoing exhibition and contribute to the center’s 33 community partners as part of its outreach program to support art education access. 

Gudewicz enjoys seeing what the artists produce each year. 

“I have a couple of artists who are pretty young,” Gudewicz said, “I have one over in the corner, he’s only 15. Last year was his first year, and I was so excited — just getting him into the art world and being able to show his work and sell it was so exciting for me.”

 For local community members, returning to the expo every year is a fun tradition. 

Sue Carlson spoke about one of her favorite finds from a previous year – a pair of felt mice. 

“I had family members that were getting married, and there happened to be two little mice, one with the hat, and one with the wedding gown,” said Carlson. “I’m always finding something here that I think, ‘Oh, that would be perfect.’” 

Tanea Crawford, the youth fine arts coordinator and content manager at the Art Center, was responsible for promoting the expo on social media and reaching out to local news outlets. 

She also runs a handmade crystal jewelry business called Tanmar, and some of her products are for sale at the expo. 

“I started my crystal business during the pandemic,” Crawford said. “Being at home and not being able to do much, this was a really great way for me to learn about crystals and the different benefits and being able to create something handmade.” 

Crawford’s work has reached many people since she started her business. Some of her TikTok videos gained traction, allowing her to reach an international audience including customers in Europe and Australia. 

Her jewelry, along with some other Art Center staff members’ work, is available for sale for the duration of the expo. 

Visitors can shop for a variety of handmade art at the expo, including pottery, candles and wooden carvings. The event provides an opportunity for customers to shop local and find new small artists to support. 

“I just hope that everybody gets to find a little piece of something that they’re excited to take home,” Gudewicz said. 

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