Local artisans to gather downtown to share their creations with the community
By Kaelen Pelaia, Staff Writer
With the holiday season approaching, the time has come for the local artists to display their craft with the 7th Annual Craft Revival. Held twice a year, once being in the early spring and the other in the late autumn, the Craft Revival is held in thirteen different venues of the Waterfront District of Downtown Port Arthur.
The event organizer, Maelyn Hurley, has been heavily involved with the event proceedings for the last several years that the Revival has been active. “I have a group of wonderful ladies that have been helping me out over the last four years that I’ve ran the event,” Hurley smiles, “and it’s very much a community effort.”
In that short time, local artists and craftspeople have come forward with some fantastic creations, ranging from jewelry and ironwork, to baking and home decor. “Everything at the Revival is made locally—t that’s the one criteria for the event,” Hurley says. “There will be close to 140 local artisans and 20-30 musicians and performers at the event,” she continues. “Matt Selick, Arley Hughes, and Tiina Frank, just to name a few, will all be making appearances.”
Students at Lakehead who may not be as interested in the local crafts (although you should definitely check them out) can also look out for the baked goods and food products being sold at the Revival. “Baking, preserves, and more can be found at the event,” Hurley notes. “Heartbeat Hot Sauce and Homeslice Bakery are some big names.” For our out-of-town students, be sure to grab some goodies before exam season! You’ll definitely want to bring a little taste of Thunder Bay back home, and spread the word about our local delicacies.
For those looking to support the local arts community, events like Craft Revival and the Farmer’s Market are a great way to get a hold of quality products made in the Thunder Bay area – not only is it an environmentally friendly activity, but by supporting local businesses, you’ll be contributing to local economic and industry growth and. Small businesses with quality products always deserve support.
“The event itself has grown in a big way,” Hurley remarks. “The first event started at the Foundry with 20 artisans, and in a few years, has grown to thirteen venues and 140 artisans, with more people attending the event – last year up to 2000 people.”
She continues: “I think that having a craft event that artists make goods at is huge. Other craft shows charge up to $100 to show your craft; I charge $30. It’s about the artists making money and as an event organizer that’s very important to me.” The Revival is centered around rewarding local artists for their work, and providing an outlet for creative expression benefits not only the lives of the artists, but the people who experience their work as well.
The Revival is one of the many events that stems from a surge in local artistry and crafts in recent years—a welcome sight to see, both economically and culturally, for the community. Considering the concurrent rise in local music, especially as local rock bands like LUSH and Starless are releasing music online and playing shows locally, things are looking rather promising for the Thunder Bay art community.
Recognition has come from outside sources as well. In his concert last Saturday, Gordon Lightfoot brought up the Revival, mentioning how “he wished he wasn’t on tour” so that he could attend. It’s very humbling to see a titan of Canadian art, such as Lightfoot endorse the quality of many of Thunder Bay’s local businesses, and a good sign that local art and culture is starting to become more pronounced and widely supported.
More than just an economic incentive, the Revival is an opportunity for Thunder Bay to come together and truly appreciate the experiences and talents of its fellow citizens. Everyone has a unique and unmatched perspective on the world and often the best way to appreciate and experience those outlooks are through works of art and through works of the hands.
“I think it’s about bringing the community together in a beautiful way, loving art in all its forms,” Hurley adds.
The entirety of downtown Port Arthur will be abuzz with this exciting event on Sunday November 26th. The Craft Revival is an excellent opportunity to experience the uniqueness of the Superior Lakehead for yourself!