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LDDA turning Artists Sunday into Thanksgiving weekend celebration in Longmont

Artist pop-ups at downtown businesses and art market at the Firehouse Art Center on tap. Artists can apply to set up a pop-up via the Longmont Creative District webpage.
Artwork by Vonalda Utterback, a Firehouse artist-member, who will be participating in the art market Nov. 28 and 29. (Courtesy photo)

What organizers hope will become a new after-Thanksgiving tradition is coming to Longmont.

The Longmont Downtown Development Authority is bringing Artists Sunday — a new effort aimed at supporting artists online and in-person, a sort of Black Friday for creatives — to the city Nov. 28 and 29. 

The LDDA earlier this month on its Facebook page invited artists to set up pop-ups inside downtown businesses for the event. A few art-based communities are already involved including Colorado Creative Industries, the Firehouse Art Center, Longmont Art in Public Places and the Boulder County Arts Alliance.

In step of COVID-19 related safety measures, businesses may choose to host their pop-ups outdoors and may even add virtual opinions but the details are still being solidified, according to Mersadi McClure, the creative district coordinator with LDDA. 

“Supporting your local community is important, especially going into the holidays and just being mindful of what we’ve gone through together this year,” she said.

Artists can apply to set up a pop-up via the Longmont Creative District webpage.

Residents will be able to learn which businesses will be participating in the pop-ups through the Longmont Creative District webpage and the LDDA Facebook page

For its part in the art-centric weekend, the Firehouse will hold an art market at which eight artists will sell their work at booth-like stations throughout the center.

Catherine Leone, Firehouse artist-member, said, “It will be like a little pop-up gift market for the public to come in and purchase locally made items for gifts for their families this upcoming holiday season.” 

The Firehouse Art Center pop-up market will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 28 and 29. Because of COVID restrictions, only six shoppers will be allowed in the gallery at a time. Patrons will be required to wear masks and follow a predetermined path through the booths, where only one shopper will be allowed at a time. Additionally, each booth will be equipped with hand sanitizer for shoppers to use if they are planning to touch the artwork

Elaine Waterman, executive director of Firehouse, said artists are continually changing how they make art to keep up with the times and buying from an artist shows you understand their struggle. 

“I think this connection is what is so important in shopping small, shopping local and shopping from artists, and it is something you can't get on Amazon Prime,” she said.

Richelle Cripe, a newer artist-member at Firehouse, will be participating in the Art Market. She said she wanted to make it easier for people to buy her art and get more people involved in the art scene in Longmont. She jumped at the opportunity to take part in the Artists Sunday event.

“I will be selling prints of my paintings, which I make myself,” Cripe said. “Then I’ll be selling some original paintings and some hand-painted ornaments.”

Photographer and founder of Artists Sunday, Chris Sherman, said he noticed an increase in his photography sales around Thanksgiving, which prompted him to think “there ought to be a day for artists that can hopefully boost their sales just like a Black Friday or Small Business Saturday.” 

He also emphasized the importance of people realizing art is more than just a ceramic, painting or trinket. 

“Art is more than just a picture. It’s more than just a collectible, but it’s something you can wear or use every day,” he said.

Artists and organizations can promote their work and the work of their artists through the Artists Sunday webpage.