By Caitlin Moynihan
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
Baltimorean vendors and artisans set up shop on 16 W. North Ave. to showcase their handiwork during the Industrial Arts Collective’s “Made In Baltimore” pop-up store that ran from Aug. 8 until Sunday.
Vendors and artisans alike displayed homemade clothes, décor, food and furniture that are unique to Baltimore and show off the creativity and talent found in the community.
Industrial Arts Collective, a group founded over a year ago to unite small business owners and manufacturers in Baltimore, created the pop-up shop as its first large-scale event.
The groups’ goal is to encourage buying locally and increase sales for Baltimorean maker industries.
“The point of creating this brand was to promote the creators and makers of the city,” said Andy Cook, one of the event’s organizers. “Baltimore has always been a manufacturing city, so we’re hoping to see that come back into play.”
Although this is the first “Made in Baltimore” event, many of the visitors were familiar with the idea and rallied behind itin support of the cause.
“I think that the ‘Made in Baltimore’ initiative is a really creative incentive,” said Rachel Dows, 20, a Baltimore resident. “It plays on the same cultural continuity that people in ‘Made In New York’ and ‘Made In Brooklyn’ are doing, and it celebrates the artisans and creative minds in the best city in America, which is Baltimore, of course.”
While exploring the pop-up shop, visitors were invited and encouraged to test out foods, sign-up for classes and learn more about the vendors through workshops and social events such as happy hours and brewery exhibits.
The event reached a wide age range and both families and young adults could be found exploring the space.
Laurise McMillian, 21, and Sydney Adamson, 22, both undergraduate students studying in the Baltimore area, were among those who found inspiration in the newly coined brand.
“As much as a lot of people want to forget about the riots this past spring, it’s hard to if you live here,” McMillian said. “I go to school at University of Baltimore and more time than not, I stay in my dorm at night because of the awful pretenses that come with being out in the city. I absolutely love that ‘Made in Baltimore’ is becoming a thing now and that it gives the community a reason to come together and celebrate creativity.”
As graphic design majors, both McMillian and Adamson said they jumped at the opportunity to see what their hometown had to offer.
“After spending the afternoon here, all I want to do is go back home and design and create,” Adamson said. “‘Made In Baltimore’ really promotes personal branding and as a graphic design major, it’s tough to not get swept away in the masses. It was just really inspiring to see the artisans and vendors who are all from Baltimore display their products so proudly.”
Cook and the rest of the creative team behind the Industrial Arts Collective is hoping that this event translates into the Baltimore community permanently.
“We’re just hoping to promote what the people in this city can really do,” said Cook, who also works as the sustainable economic development coordinator for the city.