Taking on a new look and residing in a new venue, the Indie Craft Parade will continue this year and will be open Fridays through Sundays until Dec. 18. Due to COVID-19, instead of the one-weekend festival, this year the Indie Craft Parade materializes as a shop on Old Buncombe Road that is open Friday to Sunday for three months. In addition, there will be outdoor Mini Markets Nov. 7 and 21, and Dec. 5.
The Makers Collective, an organization designed to empower creative entrepreneurs, realized in 2010 that local artists needed a place to sell their unique goods and get exposure for themselves in the artistically appreciative culture of Greenville. Out of this realization came the Indie Craft Parade, a yearly event showcasing over a hundred local artists.
Jen Moreau, community director for the Makers Collective and BJU graduate, said the Indie Craft Parade features the work of some of the best artists and creatives in the South and people to purchase directly from them in a single location.
Creators are eager to be featured in the event. “We usually have 300-400 applications, which we have was written by Jordan Ford, who is also the director of the play. She was joined by a crew of other graduate students including David Veatch, assistant director and stage manager; Wilbur Mauk, scene designer; and Mady Bell, costume and props master. Ford said one of the things they focused on when developing ideas for the play was the desire to show students to narrow down to around 120 exhibitors,” Moreau said. This application process may seem intimidating to many artists, but Gerson Petit, an English and Visual Studies double major at BJU who assisted a vendor at the event in 2018 and 2019, sees the application process as an exciting opportunity. Petit said, “It’s very inspiring because it shows you, hey, that could be me too.”
Part of the uniqueness of the Indie Craft Parade is its atmosphere. Petit said, “My favorite part is the overall feeling of . . . the artistic community [that] comes together.” Though the atmosphere of Indie Craft has changed because of the shop format, the attitudes surrounding the event have not. Moreau said, “I think both artists and the community are so ready for things to feel a little bit like normal, so they’re really excited to be a part of the shop.”
Lewis Carl, a faculty member in the Division of Art + Design, has participated in the Indie Craft Parade for the last three years. Carl’s work will be featured in the shop this year as well. He said his goal is to create art that is affordable but still retains quality. He uses both abstraction and realism, two types of art where, Carl said, ”You can’t do one without the appreciation of the other.” He further explained that it helps you reach a broader audience when you can offer something on both ends of the spectrum from realism to abstraction.
The art program at BJU provides much to the art community in Greenville, Carl said. BJU actually has a huge influence with our graduates that stick around. In fact, Greenville has already recognized through various influencers that our grads are trendsetters in the community,” Carl said. “Indie Craft is a huge example of that because all three founders are our graduates . . . and the whole Upstate looks forward to this event.”
Just as it has affected many other businesses, the pandemic has negatively affected local artists. “[Art is] the first thing to go in a crisis,” Carl said. Despite the tendency to look at art as a luxury and therefore refrain from purchasing it in a time of crisis, the Greenville community realizes the benefit of art and has rallied in support of the Indie Craft Parade: Shop Edition. “Art can be therapeutic . . . it can uplift the soul and so, even with the struggling times, art is extremely integral to our success and our well-being,” Carl said.
Moreau said the best way to encourage and support our local artists in this challenging time is to buy from the store located at 2909 Old Buncombe Road in Greenville or attend the Mini Markets outside at the same address. More details and previews of the featured artists are available at www.makerscollective.org/indie-craft-parade-shop-edition.