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The Daily Northwestern

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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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Artists, volunteers reimagine downtown space for Evanston Made holiday pop-up

Shun Graves/The Daily Northwestern
Artists and volunteers help set up the Evanston Made holiday pop-up in a vacant downtown space. The store opens Dec. 1.

Over the course of just a few days, volunteers and artists have reimagined a vacant space in downtown Evanston into the third annual Evanston Made Holiday Market, set to open Dec. 1.

Visitors can stop by the curated market of Evanston Made members’ art and handmade items at 1631 Chicago Ave. Thursdays through Sundays until Dec. 17.

The Merion, a senior living community, offered the space for the event, formerly the restaurant Found. Evanston Made Co-Director Liz Cramer said she felt excited about the “gorgeous” location and expected it to attract more visitors.

“Anytime that we can do something where we have a workshop where artists can actually be making and creating in front of the public, or to guide them through their own adventure, then that’s a great use of the space,” she said. 

The pop-up market will offer scheduled events including a whiskey tasting, artist demonstrations and artistic “do-it-yourself” workshops. Those interested in participating can RSVP or get tickets through Eventbrite and the Evanston Made website.

Volunteer and contributing artist Lisa Haskin said she will run a demonstration on how she makes her Christmas tree button ornaments. Haskin will be selling books bound by hand, Christmas card prints and other mixed media work. 

“Anything that I make is repurposing different materials,” she said. “I have a problem throwing things away. Even little scrap pieces of paper I’ve had from bookmaking, I’ve made little tiny book ornaments.”

The contributing artists also have their goods for sale online and are benefiting from the digital market, according to Haskin. 

She said a customer bought all of her handmade book ornaments over the weekend, inspiring her to create more for the pop-up.

“I hope that (the pop-up) really helps the general public see and then in turn support artists more because there’s a lot of us that are working,” Haskin said. “We don’t have storefronts, we have online shops with Evanston Made or our own Etsy shops.”

Pop-up retail has emerged as a way to repurpose otherwise empty retail spaces, both nationwide and locally. On the Main-Dempster Mile, Swantiques opened a furniture pop-up in November. In downtown Evanston, which continues to struggle with high office and retail vacancy rates, Evanston Made could bring in foot traffic for the holiday shopping season.

“For the temporary pop-up tenant, it’s a great opportunity to showcase small businesses and create a little more retail energy happening from that space,” said Andy Vick, executive director of nonprofit group Downtown Evanston. “For downtown, it does fill an empty storefront, and for the property owner, it’s a chance to show off the space and also to be a good community player.”

Last year’s holiday pop-up space filled with a permanent tenant — Chiropractic First — afterward, said Lisa Degliantoni, Evanston Made’s founder and co-director. A pop-up brings “added visibility” to the vacant space, she added, for prospective tenants and for artists.

“It makes people a little bit sad to see empty spaces and vacant spaces, and for businesses to go out of business,” Degliantoni said. “We’re also trying to bring a little bit of life and positivity to what a lot of people interpret as, ‘Oh bummer, my Found restaurant’s gone.’”

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Twitter: @realShunGraves

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Twitter: @jillian_moore7

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