“The Art Movement” craft show, indoor art and vendor market, took place at a local Bellingham gym, Jett Movement Academy, on Sunday, March 12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Jeremy Hirschkorn, the owner and founder of Jett Movement Academy, hopes that “The Art Movement” craft show will provide a unique opportunity for artists to display their work to the general public while simultaneously drawing attention to his business.
“I think it'll be exciting to kind of see,” Hirschkorn said. “Bellingham has always been that way, since I've lived here my whole life. Bellingham is definitely in this collective mix of different kinds of people. And I think the art show probably represents that pretty well.”
Woodworking, knitted and crocheted items, jewelry and murals of outer space are some of the various forms of art that were showcased at the craft show.
While Hirschkorn provided the location, Cecilee Romano hosted and found artists. As of March 8, Romano had gathered 11 artists to display their unique work at “The Art Movement” craft show.
Romano’s business, appropriately named StarStuff Galleries, specializes in art inspired by galaxies, nebulas, stars and other out-of-this-world visuals.
“I took an astronomy class at Whatcom Community College in 2011, and for extra credit, I did a charcoal sketch of the Pillars of Creation, a well-known nebula,” Romano wrote via email. “The professor suggested that I try spray painting planets as seen on YouTube. I tried it and pretty much never stopped doing it. Now, I've expanded into other mediums, and I keep up on space news to stay inspired.”
According to the 2022 Statista Global Consumer Survey of 59,934 people, over a quarter of respondents in the U.S. reported arts and crafts as a hobby or interest. Romano said she hopes to attract art and crafts enthusiasts by creating “The Art Movement” craft show.
Her path to connecting with Hirschkorn started a couple of summers ago when she posted in the Facebook group “Bellingham Open.” Romano asked if any small businesses would be willing to let her host a live spray painting show in their parking lot.
“Jeremy was the only person to message me, and I held a few awesome art shows there – masks, distanced and all,” Romano said. “These connections between small businesses build teamwork, strengthen brand awareness and are simply really fun.”
James Clevenger is a woodworker who was at “The Art Movement” craft show on Sunday. As the owner of Black Wolf Wood Works, he makes bowls, pens and cutting boards, among various other woodworking items.
Before the advent of COVID-19, Clevenger worked in information technology. When he got laid off, he started pursuing woodworking as a full-time career.
“It was not as clean as you would think it would be,” Clevenger said. “I started out just kind of puttering around, trying to find a market for making things, and I happened into a very specific niche market online. Actually, 90% of my business is done online, making a specific craft pen for a craft called Diamond painting, which is like painting by numbers with rhinestones.”
Today, Clevenger said he mails out between 200 to 300 pens around the world monthly. However, Clevenger’s favorite thing to make is cutting boards, six or seven of which he planned on bringing to the craft show.
Clevenger isn’t the only person involved with “The Art Movement” whose career and life was dramatically affected by COVID-19. Hirschkorn closed Jett Movement Academy just a few months after opening and had to find new ways to engage with people yearning to return to the gym.
“Most small businesses fail within the first year anyways,” Hirschkorn said. “So, we had to get creative. I did a lot of online training. I did a virtual 5k, which was a cool kind of a fun fundraiser.”
Other small businesses had to overcome various obstacles during the pandemic. Make.Shift Art Space, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the arts and artists in Bellingham, hosted three in-person art shows, one in-person holiday market and 11 virtual exhibits in 2021 after bouncing back from the pandemic, according to its 2021 annual report. This is an increase from 2020.
Since Jett Movement Academy's inception, Hirschkorn hasn’t hired any employees and does everything himself. He sees events like “The Art Movement” craft show as a way to build up his name within the art community in Bellingham.
According to both Clevenger and Romano, the art culture and community in Bellingham is truly one-of-a-kind. Clevenger sees immense value in local businesses and artists supporting one another.
“[It’s] 1,000% important,” Clevenger said. “There’s no place in the world like Bellingham as far as how supportive and inclusive of a community that it is.”
Mathew (he/him) is a city news reporter for The Front this quarter. He is a first-year journalism pre-major who is also working towards a minor in Law, Diversity and Justice. Mathew loves to play basketball, explore nature and annoy his cat, Sandy, to the point where she can’t stand him.
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.