Over 65 regional artists come together at the historic Pawtucket Armory for the 40th annual Foundry Artists Association Holiday Show and Sale, a holiday mainstay of one-of-a-kind locally made finds. While returning artists and shoppers flock to this beloved event held two weekends every December, marketing manager and ceramic artist Michelle Phaneuf notes that no two shows are alike. “Customers always have the opportunity to discover new artists and maybe even their new favorite artist!”
Showcasing everything from fine art prints and handmade pieces to decor and jewelry, all work is juried, high-quality, and completely unique – perfect for gifting to the loved ones on your list who already have it all or filling your own home with beautiful items. Plus, a silent auction with works donated by the artists gives back locally by benefiting Providence-based New Urban Arts, a nonprofit fostering community and creativity among high school students and adult mentors.
“The unique part of our show is it’s completely artist organized and artist run. Everybody has a job in the event,” Phaneuf explains, whether that means being a part of the executive committee, marketing, ringing up purchases, or hanging signs. Even the electricity is rigged by a member to ensure each booth has power. “It really gives everyone a sense of ownership of the show,” and the chance to connect with other artists and patrons, many of whom return year after year.
Backdropping the festive shopping outing is the Foundry Artists Association’s storied history, dating back to 1982 when members made studio space in the I-95 Foundry Building. Though the building was converted into office spaces in 1995, the nimble group of artists devised ways to remain firmly rooted in the community. “The Foundry Artists Show & Sale found its new home in the beautifully renovated former drill hall in the Pawtucket Armory building, a castle-like landmark built in 1894, which formerly housed the RI National Guard,” says Phaneuf, marking the beginning of a now decades-old tradition.
The Foundry Artists Holiday Show and Sale takes place at the Pawtucket Armory Center for the Arts December 2-4 and 9-11, from 12-8pm on Fridays and 10am-6pm Saturdays and Sundays, with an opening night Thursday, December 1, 5-9pm. Admission is free, but patrons are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for donation to the Rhode Island Food Bank.
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