Arrow Creative Continues Memphis Tradition with Holiday Bazaar!

The annual Memphis College of Art (MCA)’s Holiday Bazaar will take place this year under the direction of Arrow Creative, a community non-profit dedicated to elevating local artists. 

Arrow Creative is honored to carry on a 69-year-old tradition, the annual Memphis Holiday Bazaar featuring local makers and creatives. The popular event was once run by the Memphis College of Art (MCA), which graduated its final class of students May of 2020. With Arrow Creative’s dedication to help locals find unique gifts and products curated by their local creative counterparts, the ambition to highlight Memphis talent of all ages will continue on. This year’s Holiday Bazaar will feature art, accessories, apparel, and jewelry at Arrow’s concept shop on Broad Ave.

“We want this tradition to continue to flourish for those who participate in or buy at the Bazaar. With the loss of MCA and the challenge of the pandemic, Arrow staff developed solutions to keep everyone safe and let the tradition live on,” said Abby Phillips, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Arrow. 

Arrow Creative has made a point to change the bazaar’s typical weekend event to a month-long endeavor complete with social distancing, private appointment shopping experiences, and online point of sale options to help shoppers connect with unique pieces during the COVID-19 crisis. Arrow Creative will be enforcing the wearing of masks for artist and community safety. The bazaar will not charge an entrance fee and is free to the public. Former MCA professor and working artist, Susan Maakestad says of the event, “I am overjoyed Arrow is keeping the Holiday Bazaar alive. For decades each November, MCA’s galleries filled with art and shoppers in a festive setting. It was a holiday event that artists and buyers both looked forward to. It’s gratifying to see the tradition continuing.”

MCA’s Holiday Bazaar, Nov. 2018 (StoryBoard archives)

Arrow Creative’s Holiday Bazaar is especially important right now to the creative community because many holiday events, craft fairs, and artist showcases have been canceled due to COVID-19. Holiday events that showcase local talent are seeing a major impact across the country, leaving artists and makers without the ability to connect with the communities they live in and serve. This factor also leaves many community consumers without unique seasonal gifting options. However, with over 85+ artists and creators already committed to Arrow Creative’s Holiday Bazaar, the Memphis community is seeing a revival in both community and local commerce.

“Everyone wants to get into the holiday spirit but there is hesitation. We want to bridge that gap, support local artists and makers, and provide a safe space for the community to come in (or go online) and shop. We know the times are different but this Holiday Bazaar keeps the tradition going and we are helping people to have as normal of a holiday season as possible right now,” finished Dorothy Collier, Director of Creatives and Co-Founder of Arrow. 

Members of the media are invited to speak with Abby Phillips about the Holiday Bazaar, the MCA integration into the non-profits’ own programs and services, and how supporting local artists and makers through buying local is a great way to stabilize the Memphis economy and cultivate a sense of community. Interviews with specific vendors may also be granted upon qualified request. 

ABOUT: Arrow Creative formally took shape in 2017, through an initial interest in continuing the legacy of Memphis College of Art (MCA) community education programming. Arrow has purchased key equipment from ten MCA departments, including woodworking, ceramics, photography, illustration, painting, fashion design, sound lab,  letterpress, paper-making, and print-making, which provides us with the tools to offer similar programming.

Arrow Creative, a non-profit organization, serves to make art more accessible to inspire the creative spirit within everyone.  We are an organization unique to our community, given that we bridge two audiences — creative entrepreneurs and consumers. 

MCA’s Holiday Bazaar in Overton Park’s Rust Hall, 2018 (StoryBoard archives)

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