AVON, Ohio — The spring Avant-Garde Art and Craft show kicked off on Saturday in Avon, with proceeds from sales benefiting the Prayers From Maria Foundation.
Arts and craft shows like the Avant-Garde show are also a lifeline for local businesses.
“A lot of them, this is their full-time gig, or they’re using it to supplement what they’ve lost during the pandemic,” said owner Becki Silverstein.
Abigaile’s Art is one of those businesses. Owner Abigaile Wallis started the business at the height of the pandemic in 2020. Shows like the one Saturday offer a venue for her to connect directly with customers.
“I had to order all of my supplies online, I wasn’t able to go into stores,” Wallis said. “I’m trying to get some more exposure. Online is kind of hard, because there’s a lot of people online.”
Normally, a show like Avant-Garde would have hundreds of vendors for shoppers to choose from, but like everything else in the last 13 months, the pandemic has forced its share of changes.
“We essentially had to cut our shows in half to meet those six-foot distance requirements and larger aisles,” Silverstein said. “We’ve kind of had to roll with the punches. We were running, we were shut down. We were running, we were shut down.”
But they’ve worked out the kinks and plan to have two more shows in September and December this year. It gives vendors like Word Wall Custom Wall Art multiple chances to set up shop.
“Small businesses are struggling, and it really helps the small businesses,” said Laurie Freeman.
Word Wall Custom Wall Art began three years ago, offering personalized scrabble-like messages for your wall. It was born out of necessity when one of the family members needed some extra letters and it’s evolved into a full-on family business.
“We met a couple that was really into scrabble and he had proposed to her with scrabble, spelling out all the places he had been,” said owner Laurie Freeman. “So, he had made a scrabble art for them.”
The Avant-Garde Art Show also donates a portion of proceeds to local charities, and Saturday’s show in Avon benefited the Prayers From Maria Foundation.
“Being able to put money back to a charity that helps families and kids is obviously near and dear to my heart,” Silverstein said. “But also, helping put money towards a charity that’s local, I always try to do that.”