Browsing local crafts from your couch

The Art Garage kicks off its annual Art Market, this year with a virtual twist

By Rachel Sankey

A sampling of Jennifer Flaten’s handmade jewelry. Flaten is a vendor at the newly announced Virtual Art Market hosted by the Art Garage. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Flaten/Dragon and Butterfly Design.

The COVID-19 pandemic won’t be getting in the way of the Art Garage’s Annual Art Market. This year, the market is going virtual.
Normally, the nonprofit art gallery Art Garage (1400 Cedar Street) hosts 20 to 30 vendors for the event. This year, 10 vendors will be participating in the virtual market.

“Now that we have the capabilities to have a virtual online feature, we figured why not,” Art Garage Marketing Manager Tristin St. Mary said. “Especially now that everyone has amped up their Etsy and online storefronts. It’s kind of a cool opportunity to guide the community to those online platforms for local artists to be supported that way too.”

In addition to the virtual market filled with Wisconsin artists, Art Garage kicks off Christmastime with its “Letters From Santa” program. This year’s rendition coincides with the virtual market.

“We hire local artists to hand calligraphy letters addressed to children,” St. Mary said. “It’s a really special item.”

Liz Van Pay is a vendor at this year’s virtual market. She sells a variety of hand-knitted items, alcohol ink coasters, string art and more. Van Pay said she was inspired to start knitting after her mother.

“I always saw my mom doing it when I was growing up and I thought that it was really cool,” Van Pay said. “She was a mail carrier, so she never really had the time to teach me, unfortunately.”

Van Pay said she taught herself how to knit as an adult by watching YouTube videos. She soon progressed into selling her products at craft markets.

This is Van Pay’s first year participating in the Virtual Art Market with the Art Garage and she said she’s looking forward to going live on Facebook, something she’s never tried before.

“I’m fully prepared,” Van Pay said. “I’m going to have my table set up as if I were at a show. I like that craft sales can still be done virtually.”

Jennifer Flaten makes and sells handmade jewelry and is the owner of Dragon and Butterfly Design.

Flaten said she has a special interest in making chainmail jewelry, but also works with more “feminine” elements such as crystals, pearls and natural gemstones such as moonstone and labradorite. This will also be Flaten’s first year participating in the Virtual Art Market.

Flaten started making jewelry about 10 years ago. She said the craft allows her to mix different colors and components together to create something beautiful.

“You can mix manmade items with the stones and crystals and come up with a really pretty piece of jewelry,” Flaten said.
Flaten said she’s excited to reach a new audience in the Green Bay area as she lives in Sun Prairie.

Flaten said this year’s Art Market is great for both her as a vendor and for people who want to shop small, all from the comfort of their homes.

“It allows us to have a longer selling period instead of just a traditional one-day event,” Flaten said. “Then you don’t have to worry about weather affecting the traffic for your events.”

The Art Garage’s Virtual Art Market starts on Friday, Dec. 3 at 12 pm and concludes on Dec. 12 at 7 pm.


Rachel Sankey is an Arts and Entertainment Reporter for Green Bay City Pages. She can be reached via email at [email protected]

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