ABOUT ARTISANS NORTHWEST
'Artisans Northwest' was started by Sharon Seibert in 1975 as 'The Craft Market', which took place in the old YMCA building in Fort William. It then moved to Ogden School for quite a few years. The name then changed to "The Art & Craft Market", which was run by Wim and Jo Baarchers. Artisans has grown from a once-monthly four hour market that moved from place to place, to a four event Christmas show that happened every second weekend in October, November and December at the Airlane Motel, to a final two-day event occurring every November at the Valhalla Inn.
Artisans Northwest is co-ordinated and run by its members as a non-for-profit organization. The work and displays are of the highest quality making it the longest running, premier art and fine craft show in the city.
To be accepted as an artisan, your art or craft must be submitted to a committee for jurying. Current members jury again when they decide to work in a new media.
The show is also monitored by the members in order to maintain its high standards. The artists constantly come up with new and innovative items to keep the show looking fresh.
In previous years we had our show at the Valhalla Inn on the second weekend in November, for 2020, our membership had to re-evaluate how we would have a show or if we would have a show at all due to Covid-19.
The membership was asked via surveymonkey poll in April, if they would be willing to try something we have never done before, a virtual show. The majority of the membership responded in the affirmative. And so, since mid May 2020, we planned a Virtual Art and Fine Craft show. Most of the membership see this as a way to experiment together, to learn in a new way together, and also be inspired by each other.
2020 was to be an anniversary year for us, 45 years together, which is no small thing to accomplish as a collective. We had to re-evaluate this and decided to postpone celebration for a year, to see if we could have a physical show in 2021, with festivities that we had already planned but not implemented before the pandemic reared it's powerful head in March of 2020.
The most important thing for any one of us is that, we are able to be creative, to keep our patrons, friends, family and membership safe, and we grow as a collective ! This year has certainly given us the ability to do all these things.