Crafty Mart Canton: 5 Reasons You Shouldn't Miss It!


Crafty Mart Canton: 5 Reasons You Shouldn't Miss It!

July 7th, 2017 will be Crafty Mart’s third year at Canton First Friday in July! The Pop Up Market will set up shop from 4-8pm at the Canton Museum of Art with some vendors and kid-friendly crafts. So, let’s talk about some reasons why you should come to downtown Canton and visit us!

 1. Amazing Local Vendors

We know you love supporting Summit County vendors. However, for Canton First Friday, we are showcasing several talented artisans from Stark County along with some Crafty Mart regulars and other favorites from Northeast Ohio.

Lucie Shearer Art, The Wholesome Hive, The Robot Consortium, Stage Struck Puppets


 Here’s a list of this year’s vendors with links to their websites:

Gypsy Moth Vintage

Renaissance Woman


Wonder Lust Concepts

The Robot Consortium

Gingerly Made

MNK Candle

Threadbare Beauty

Knitgrrl Studio


Plan 10 Photodesign


Stage Struck Puppets

Pratherton home of pratherteam

Rubber City Prints, Inc.

Kelly Rohr Designs

Crocheted by Amy

Lindsey Jo Scott - Art

Lucie Shearer Art

Champaign Paper


Cool Critters

Annie J Williams

Cass White Ceramics

NOT Wasted

The Wholesome Hive


 Our Daily Bread Bakery


2. FREE Admission

Maybe we should call it “No Pay Friday” because admission is free to both the Pop Up Market AND the Canton Museum of Art Galleries! Before or after shopping for your favorite handmade items make sure you check out the Museum’s current exhibitions which include Avatars: Relics from the Future and In Praise of Women: Works from the Permanent Collection. The permanent collection is nationally recognized and highlights American watercolors and ceramics. For more information visit the Canton Museum of Art website HERE.

Ceramic art by Gary Spinosa on display at the Avatars exhibit


3. Your Very Own Terrarium

At Crafty Mart Canton, Every Blooming Thing Akron will be sponsoring a terrarium workshop. The cost depends on the size of the container you choose and starts at $25. It includes everything you will need to create a succulent garden. This cool craft is family friendly so bring everyone and be prepared to get a little messy!

 Succulents from Every Blooming Thing Akron

4. Something for the Kids

Crafty Mart will be organizing a free “Make It and Take It” station for children. This fun craft is always a major hit and will take place in the main lobby of the museum. But hey adults, psst: there will be a special beer tasting too!


5. A Ten-Year History

This year, Canton First Friday and Arts in Stark will be celebrating 10 years of a great community event. Of course, like any birthday, THERE WILL BE CAKE! At 6:15, the first 500 people to arrive at the information tent will score a piece of yummy cake.

After hanging out with Crafty Mart, stick around for fireworks at 9:45. Visit the First Friday event page, HERE, for a closer look at the fun-filled schedule.

 Actually, there are more like 1,000 reasons why you should come to the Canton Museum of Art on Friday, July 7th and visit Crafty Mart from 4-8pm, but then you’d still be here reading instead of navigating to the Facebook event HERE and clicking on “Going”. See you there!


Coworking at OSC Tech Lab


Coworking at OSC Tech Lab

The following blog post is brought to you by our friendly neighborhood intern, Julian, who is working with Crafty Mart thanks to a partnership with the University of Akron's EX[L] Center.

Creative. Community. These are words I’ve been seeing a lot lately. My work with the University of Akron’s EX[L] Center always involves student creativity and is focused on the Akron community. A research project I am currently assisting with is all about helping a community. The words are part of Crafty Mart’s mission statement. So, it was no surprise that the words creative and community came up several times in my interview with OSC Tech Lab’s founder Nick Petroski.

Creativity and community are exactly what were on Nick’s mind when he envisioned a better space for professionals to do their work. As a Wall Street equity analyst, he found that many offices and other public places where people spend time working lack the collaborative and networked feel he and others were seeking. Coffee and sandwich shops were not cutting it either. These public, yet often singular and lonely, environments can be stifling to the creative process. In 2014, Nick opened OSC Tech Lab as an answer to this problem.

OSC Tech Lab is a co-working space located in downtown Akron on Exchange Street above the Thai restaurant Pad Thai. When it opened, it was the only co-working space in the area. Together, Nick and his wife, Meghan Geotz, keep it running for many professionals including freelancers, startups, writers, coders, and graphic designers. Akron’s art and culture publication, The Devil Strip, also calls the Lab its home. Besides desks and four walls, Nick says that there are other things that “take the frustration out of working.”


Around the Lab, there are many accessible outlets. All kinds of chargers can be provided. Various computer components like monitors, keyboards, and other things are available to members. If someone needs to practice a presentation there is a room with a projector. The couches provide a respite from sitting at a desk and there are open areas, enclosed offices, and meeting rooms. However, OSC Tech Lab is not just about a fantastic space.

Nick stresses that professionals simply looking for space should re-evaluate their search priorities and consider the benefits of working alongside other people from different fields. His company is essentially “selling a community.” Within a co-working community, Nick argues that productivity increases because of the motivational environment. Members are “challenged by” and “learn from” other members.

There is a network of employment that is about more than just pushing a business onto someone else or trying to get leads on jobs. It is about a collaborative effort where members can bounce ideas or problems off each other. Many members become friends outside of work which creates more natural opportunities in the future.

In the spirit of community, Lab members often have lunch together as a whole. Unlike other offices, there is no dress code. The space is very come-as- you-are.

When I entered OSC Tech Lab, I found Nick in shorts and a t-shirt. He embraces the idea of keeping the environment “100% organic.” People should be comfortable when they work. If a suit and tie is part of someone’s natural state then they should wear that. The main idea is that there are no impediments to any creative flow.

Crafty Mart espouses creativity and community. OSC Tech Lab shows that the two are important in a variety of other fields. Creativity and community working in concert will help propel Akron into a great future. So, thank you to Nick, Meghan, and the OSC Tech Lab members for upholding these two concepts and feeding the future of this awesome city!

Thanks, Julian! You can learn more about OSC Tech Lab on their website, and make sure to take them up on their offer of free co-working every Thursday! Make sure to sign up for Crafty Mart's e-newsletter as we highlight more of the amazing opportunities and resources for creatives in and around Akron!


Rad Gifts for Dad!


Rad Gifts for Dad!

Totally wicked.

It’s that time of year again. Get ready to bust out those dad jokes because, Sunday June 18th, 2017 is Father’s Day. Still looking for that thoughtful, foolproof, sure to make your dad go aww gift? Handmade and local is the way to go. You’ll get your dad a gift that is all those things and more and you get to support a small business at the same time. You go Human! Check out some of these rad vendors for all your rad dad’s day needs.

For the timeless rad dad, there is The Exquisite Corpse Boutique. ExCB offers one of a kind time pieces, rings, pendants, accessories and more. All of the pieces are made from several different materials so you won’t have a problem finding something for the rad dad in your life. Or you can be safe and grab a gift card and let your dad pick out his own dope piece to add to his collection. The ExCB can complete custom orders if you want a personal gift you know your dad would love. Check out their website here.


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For the never want to grow up rad dad, there is ReGeeked. ReGeeked is a shop that upcycles old comic book pages into dope one of a kind wallets and accessories that your rad dad’s inner nerd will thank you for. Have a comic book you know dad loves? Well, ReGeeked does custom orders and every piece is handcrafted. Now they can carry a piece of their childhood with them and look cool doing it. Check out their website here.

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For the comfy rad dad with the rad dad bod there is The Social Dept. Akron’s very own Social Dept. is a t-shirt company with some of the most comfortable shirts I have ever felt. To top off that softness, they also have some out of this world designs. Whether the rad dad in your life is a foodie, a sports fan, craft beer enthusiast or pop culture junkie the Social Dept. will have the perfect gift for them and you can get a matching shirt for yourself. I don’t love matching comfortability. Said no one. Ever. Check out their website here.


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For the environmentally conscious rad dad, there is The Robot Consortium. Wood Plane & Simple is a woodworking shop that repurposes hardwood from shipping pallets that would otherwise be living a sad lonely life in a landfill. These one of a kind groovy pieces will brighten up any office desk or collection of dope things and save the planet in the meantime. My personal favorite is the Frankenstein Robot. Check out their website for more.


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This is just a spotlight on a few vendors, but you really can’t go wrong when you’re supporting a local small business this father’s day. Your rad dad, your kind heart and your community will thank you for making the divine choice of shopping small and shopping local!

Still not quite sure? Buy Dad a ticket to the Second Annual Akron Ale Fest! Tickets on sale here.

No matter how you decide to celebrate, we at Crafty Mart want to say thanks to all our rad dads! 


Shopper Story: Julian Curet


Shopper Story: Julian Curet



Name: Julian Curet

Profession: Student and Musician

About me: I am a husband, father, student, and musician. I balance my time between family life, being a full-time English and anthropology double major at the University of Akron, interning at Crafty Mart, and playing guitar and singing for Overboard. Clearly, I’m a little busy but I still try to carve out some time for movies, television, video games, and hanging out with my wife (and children)!

Crafts and Drafts was my first ever Crafty Mart event! The pairing of a craft show with Thirsty Dog Brewing Company made the fun and interesting event even better. My wife and I were greeted outside by Crafty Mart’s Brit and Marissa who were counting attendance and helping customers. Inside, we toured Thirsty Dog’s production center and perused the handmade wares while sipping on our blood orange pale ales.

I was also there to help work the Crafty Mart merchandise table for a couple of hours but before I had a chance to clock in, an ewok caught my eye from across the room. Immediately, I walked over to The Snow Store table featuring crocheted characters of different sizes and genres. Samantha, the maker of all the very cool plush figures, greeted me as I paid for the little ewok. I knew full well that my children would be jealous of my find (and they are).

Next, I was pulled towards the ReGeeked table. ReGeeked is all about wallet and accessories. Daena makes them out of real comic book pages, both vintage and contemporary! They are laminated and made to last.

I didn’t snag a wallet this time but I have my eye on a Spider Man or Iron Man wallet. Hopefully, ReGeeked will be at the next Crafty Mart event. Can I get that wallet on a chain like the good ole grunge days?

Now it was time to get to work. However, it’s not really work when you get to dance, greet people, see all the talent of the artisan and crafters, and eat some pretty yummy tacos.

Fun oldies poured into the warehouse as my wife and I scarfed down tacos from the Smash Time food truck. There were so many awesome ingredients that went together so well that I can’t remember exactly what I ate, but I do know that it was heavenly.

Eventually, I was relieved of duty by Crafty Mart intern, Liz, and my wife and I made our way downstairs. This was my favorite part of the day.

I met vendors, Linda and Dave Lackey, and had some great conversations. They are both retired English professors spending time on their artisan skills. Linda makes custom stitched home goods like fun aprons. Dave makes guitars!

At his booth, I was in my element as I tried out some of his unique guitar designs while playing through a small amp. I even got to jam with Dave when he joined my blues riff with his harmonica. One of these days, I will order a custom guitar designed with the cover of one of my favorite albums. I look forward to seeing Dave and Linda again.

A Crafty Mart pop-up market is personal and hands-on. Not only do shoppers get to feel and touch what is being sold but they have a chance to meet the artists and learn their individual stories.

Crafts and Drafts was a fun and fulfilling experience I hope to repeat again. For now, this is your friendly neighborhood intern signing off! I’ll see you at another Crafty Mart event!


Did you miss out on Crafts & Drafts? Save the date for September 16th when we'll return to Thirsty Dog Brewing Company!

Thanks for sharing your story, Julian!

Check out our other Shopper Stories here!

Are you interested in sharing your shopper story on the Crafty Mart blog? Email us at with the words "Shopper Story" in the subject line!


Crafty Mart Named Finalist for Artplace America’s 2017 National Creative Placemaking Fund to Create Retail Incubator Space for Makers

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Crafty Mart Named Finalist for Artplace America’s 2017 National Creative Placemaking Fund to Create Retail Incubator Space for Makers

Extremely competitive national grant program will consider 70 projects

Today, Crafty Mart was named among the 70 finalists for ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund. ArtPlace selected these proposals from 987 applications, making our project to create a retail incubator space one of just 7% of the projects across the country to make this cut.

ArtPlace’s National Creative Placemaking Fund is a highly competitive national program, receiving 987 applications this year. Investing money in communities across the country in which artists, arts organizations, and arts and culture activity help drive community development change across 10 sectors of community planning and development: agriculture and food; economic development; education and youth; environment and energy; health; housing; immigration; public safety; transportation; or workforce development.

Two projects from Akron were chosen as finalists. If either project is named a winner, it would be the first time that a project in Akron is awarded the prestigious and highly competitive grant since its conception in 2011.


The challenge identified in our proposal is that there are too many empty storefronts downtown, and not enough opportunity for creative entrepreneurs to activate those space. With the help of the city and county administration, we're hoping to secure a building downtown with 2-3 storefronts that will serve as a launchpad for creatives to open a brick and mortar retail store.

Illustration by Gregory J. Peterson

Illustration by Gregory J. Peterson

“When clustered together, customer facing retail spaces promote walkability, activate connecting public spaces and make cities better places to live and work, which will help Akron attract and retain the next generation of young leaders,” says Executive Director Brit Charek, “We already see clusters of small businesses popping up downtown over the past few years. We’d like to build on that momentum.”

The City of Akron has admitted to having a problem fighting off the epidemic of the shrinking Rust Belt City with the population in steady decline, and released a report titled Planning to Grow Akron where they outlined a strategy not just to stop the decline in population but to increase the population size, which is why both the Mayor of Akron and the County Executive have endorsed Crafty Mart’s plan.

In addition to solving the problem of empty storefronts downtown, Crafty Mart is excited to provide opportunities to the artists and makers they work with regularly.

“We want to create a pathway for the makers who pop up sporadically at events like Crafty Mart to eventually land in their own brick and mortar storefront,” says Charek.

“But we won’t just hand anyone the keys,” says Director of Education Marissa McClellan. “There will be an application process, and the makers chosen will go through a fellowship program with a custom curriculum and mentorship aspect. We want them to take this opportunity to grow their business, get a head start on sustainability, and gain the skills to be successful in their own storefront, as well as have access to resources when things get tough.”

Check out our original video pitch! 

Thanks Tim Fitzwater for your video magic! ✨

“The National Grants Program is actively building a portfolio that reflects the full breadth of our country’s arts and cultural sector, as well as the community planning and development field,” said ArtPlace’s Director of National Grantmaking F. Javier Torres. “Knowing that these projects, and the hundreds of others who applied, are using arts and culture strategies to make the communities across this country healthier and stronger is inspirational.”

“We believe that these projects, when added to our tremendously strong portfolio of demonstration projects, will inspire, equip and connect members of the arts and culture field, the community planning and development field and those who are working to make healthy and equitable communities creatively across the country,” said ArtPlace America Executive Director Jamie Bennett.

After a strenuous application process this summer, winners for the National Creative Placemaking Fund will be announced in December. We'll be on pins and needles until then!

The complete list of the 2017 applicants for ArtPlace’s National Creative Placemaking Fund may be found here.

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