It seems that Christmas creeps up faster and faster each year and in the final lap of 2014 it’s getting to be that time where we start buying (or at least thinking about buying) the gifts for those closest to us. If you have somebody you are shopping for that has a love for handcrafted art, jewellery and the like, then the Artisan Markets at the Mahtay Café is the place for you.
Mahtay Café is located at 241 St. Paul Street in St. Catharines, which very much centred around the downtown local art scene and the community as a whole. The café prides itself in its use of organic and Fair Trade beverages, its live music every week and in-house art galleries featuring local artists.
With its high esteem for local arts as well as the fact that much of their patronage is involved in the arts, it’s only reasonable for them to do something to help support art within the community. One of the founders of the Artisan Markets, Dani Muhr, explains this decision. “The Artisan Markets were an idea my fiancé and I had. He thought that we should put together a local market downtown to showcase handmade crafts. Since Mahtay is so focused on the downtown core, there was no better place.” She added how important these markets are to the artistic community is and that they help to expose local artisans, merchants, and musicians. Although the Artisan Markets at the Mahtay Café are meant to support local artists in developing their craft, giving back doesn’t stop there.
“It’s really all about getting exposure for local artisans and merchants, plus it brings more people to the café and a portion of the proceeds go to charity. Also, all merchants donate an item for a raffle which goes to charity as well,” said Dani. The charity in question is Community Cares Niagara, which specializes in programs that support emergency services and provides food and shelter to those in need in the St. Catharines community.
When it comes to the market aspect, it is important to know what kind of items will be at available for purchase if you’re looking for specific types of gifts. “There will be handmade items such as soaps, knitting, woodworking, jewellery, artwork and just about a little bit of everything,” said Muhr.
They are also planning to have a variety of other crafts in the Market in future weeks, such as upcycled and repurposed products. However, the future for these Markets is not yet written in stone. There is still space for more artists and artisans to join in on the opportunity to present themselves. They are always looking for new ideas for the event to make it even better suited to its goals in the community.
Remember that what you find there may be different on a weekly basis so get out there and get that special someone a unique gift and support the community while you’re at it.
The Artisan Markets will run every Sunday from Nov. 23 to Dec. 14. If you are interested in joining in on the fun as an artist you can contact Dani at firstname.lastname@example.org. and also visit Mahtay Café on Facebook for upcoming events.