By Terry Lusty, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – Kudos to the IAM (Indigenous Artists Market) Collective in Edmonton and organizer/manager Lorrie Lawrence who pulled off quite the coup on the December 10 – 12 weekend.
As host for ‘A Very Indigenous Holiday Market,’ the IAM set up approximately 80 Indigenous arts and crafts sales booths that attracted art vendors and customers from far and wide. On opening day alone, the market was packed with customers who had been eagerly looking forward to the special event. For one thing, not only were customers accessible to a wide assortment of crafts, but there was also no admission fee, plus a lot of live entertainment of singers, drummers, dancers and even a fashion show ran throughout the three days that included numerous draws for door prizes and some early Christmas gift shopping.
There seemed to be a delightful aura of Christmas spirit in the air despite the (necessary) COVID-19 precautions employed by staff on hand. With hundreds of people stopping by, flowing in and out of the venue and winding their way amongst the rows upon rows of craft booths, the three days allowed for friends and acquaintances to run into one another, renew friendships and/or make new ones.
Oh, one more plus was the request for visitors to offer warm garments of gloves, scarves, socks, coats, etc. for the homeless in the city. Good on you IAM!
Much of the arts and crafts available for purchase included handcrafted goods, such as: hide mitts, toques and other hand-knitted items, originally-designed garments like shirts, t-shirts, face masks, etc., as well as moccasins, artwork, Native-themed photography, unique jewelry pieces, shawls, sashes, woo, stone or bone sculptures and more. Indeed, there was something for everyone and anyone, regardless of age or gender, likes or dislikes. For those who weren’t there, you missed the boat – uh, I mean – show! Good luck in the future.
Entertainers at the event included blues award-winning vocalist Curt Young, traditional young drummer-singer Chubby Cree, Toronto-based vocalist Connie Le Grands, Metis Child and Family Jiggers and so many more. Most of this portion of the event was emceed by YTC’s Jodi Calahason-Stonechild who, for those that aren’t aware, was a candidate for the Assembly of First Nations leadership in their last election. She didn’t win but she is much loved and appreciated by so many in this western community.
The IAM Collective, operates out of the downtown Farmers Market in the former, iconic Army and Navy Store location at 10305 – 97 Street, on the east side, across the street, from Edmonton’s courthouse. The IAM Collective booths are on the second level and open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays. So, for those who missed the tremendously successful December sales at the Hanger, you can always drop in at the Indigenous market on 97th Street.
That said, the IAM Collective and Alberta Native News take this brief opoportunity to wish all our readers a happy, safe and healthy 2021 Christmas holiday! See you again in the New Year!!