Shop local in one locale

No-Coast Craft-o-Rama promises a finished shopping list while supporting local crafters.

Franki Hanke, Senior Reporter

A sudden shout of delight sounds off to the right while smells of spiced food waft over from the left, but curiosity takes hold and pulls one forward to see what lies at the next booth over. This is the experience of the No Coast Craft-o-Rama at Midtown Global Exchange, according to their director Trish Hoskins.

“It’s very energetic,” Hoskins said.

With 75 or more vendors added into the space alongside permanent residents of the global market, ‘energetic’ can veer towards crowded during the market’s two day run Friday and Saturday Dec. 7-8, but the event promises food, fun and finished holiday shopping lists.

“There truly is something for everyone,” Hoskins said. “You could probably get all your shopping done.”

Because of the number of options in the market, Hoskins recommends coming prepared with a list of everyone you are looking to shop for, and a bit of extra spending money for yourself, because she says you are bound to find something you love.

Otherwise, the space can get hectic and warm, so Hoskins recommends dressing in layers and planning when you visit. To avoid crowds, coming early or late is best; the busiest time is right in the middle of the day Saturday.

This event is hosted by Crafters Local 612, a nonprofit organization which works to bring awareness and appreciation of arts and craft products. Currently, this event is their focus, but  since their start in 2005, they have done other shopping events and hosted panel discussions on artists and their works.

St. Paul’s Craft-o-Rama is their biggest project. It was born in a time when large-scale urban markets of this type were only found on the East and West coasts, so they set up an event for land-bound Minnesota: No Coast.

In order to keep working towards part of their mission of introducing new artists to a wider audience, the juried show strives to always include a number of new artists to their market. This year, 38 percent are new, including Chuck U’s poster prints, Bikk Hand’s tintype portraits, SORRY’s travel and animal prints and Montplaisir Studio’s t-shirts.

“We’re excited to be traveling up from Chicago to take part in Craft-o-Rama. We’ve done fairs in the cities before and know the artist community is strong and the support from people in the area is really solid,” Marc Howell of SORRY said. “We’re hoping our unique take on design and screenprinting appeals to the design-conscious people of Minnesota. It’s a place with a rich history and appreciation for art & design. So we’re happy to be part in that community even if for just a weekend.”

The duo behind SORRY will be bringing vintage-gone-digital style prints from their National Park series, the impactful illustrative Sumo print set, and the bright and light-hearted Onomatopoeia posters with illustrations of animals and their sounds in various languages.

Even just looking between those four artists, the range and diversity of this show is apparent. The vendor list includes art prints, baby toys,  woodwork, jewelry and more.

Even if one can not find the perfect item for everyone on their shopping list, Hoskins believes in the importance of shopping local.

“It is putting more money back into your community,” she said. “Direct to producer, your money is making that much more impact.”

Besides the benefits for the crafters, the receivers of handmade, unique gifts benefit.

“Everything there is going to have a lot of personality and that makes it more meaningful,” Hoskins said.

The event will take place over two days: Friday and Saturday Dec. 7-8. Stop by Friday 3 p.m. until 8 p.m or Saturday 9 a.m. until 5 p.m at Midtown Global Exchange Building on Lake St. in Minneapolis.