Jamie, SP staff in Vancouver, envisions local entrepreneurs and neighbourhood artisans forming stronger networks and new opportunities through the second annual Strathcona Artisan’s Market.
“Bigger, Better, Buskier!” That’s our slogan this year!
Last summer SP Vancouver in Canada, along with a group of our neighbours, organized the inaugural Strathcona Artisan’s Market(SAM)—an outdoor street market featuring musical performances, kids' art stations, and 28 vendors selling handmade art, crafts, textiles, and food.
It was an experiment really. None of us had organized anything like this before, but we were searching for a way to begin to engage our neighbours in the area of income-generation through entrepreneurship. We knew many of our neighbours were skilled artists, craftsmen, and cooks. Our idea was to use the market as a catalyst to help our neighbours jumpstart small businesses around these skills, to expand their networks, and to develop their creativity and work-related capacities. We also wanted to wrap the market in a family festival type vibe, so—if nothing else—it would be a lot of fun!
After debriefing with our vendors and volunteers last year, we were encouraged to do it again this year, but with an expanded vision. This year we are organizing a market that is twice as big—aiming for up to 40 vendors—and twice as long—expanded from one to two days. We are also adding artist workshops to profile local talent as well as more kids art-making activities.
Last year we had some live music at the event, but this year we are working on a Buskers Festival, an event within the event. Bigger, Better, “Buskier!” We’re hoping the Buskers Festival will provide a platform for neighbourhood musicians to perform, to make a little money, and, of course, to add to the overall festivities.
Longer term, we are hoping the market will begin to give birth to a network of entrepreneurs in the neighbourhood that will work together toward local training, mentorship, and resourcing. We’ve partnered with another organization in the neighbourhood called 100 Success, which focuses on entrepreneur mentorship.
Pray for us in this year’s market for continued financial support (we’ve raised about half of our budget), for vendor recruitment, and for a huge crowd to turn up on market days!