Art Market benefits schools
Posted: October 4, 2012
Special to The Winchester Star
Winchester — Christmas is still months away, but the spirit of giving will be alive and well Friday evening at The Dharma Studio.
The yoga studio, 142 N. Loudoun St., will open its doors from 5 to 8 p.m. for what is expected to the first of the business’s monthly art markets.
Local, handmade goods ranging from jewelry and soap to art and home decor will be among the items for sale, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to four city elementary schools.
“They aren’t aware of it,” said studio owner Jill Donnelli-Hu. “I understand there’s a real need in this area, so it seemed like a great place to start. I have no idea what they’ll use it for.”
Come Friday, her space inside the former Jno.S. Solenberger hardware store, renovated by Shenandoah University — which she has occupied since August — will be transformed into a unique shop with a two-fold mission of supporting the local art community as well as those in need.
“There’s loads of talent in the area so combining it with charity seemed like a natural pairing,” Donnelli-Hu said. “Not only does the community benefit, but it’s also a great space for local artists to share and showcase their talents.”
The market’s charity component takes it outside the realm of the art world, making it appealing and fun for everyone, echoed Kim Johnston, who helped to organize the event and get it off the ground.
“We hope it will be a monthly thing gearing up to the holidays, and in the spirit of giving we’re giving back to the local communities in need,” Johnston said.
In order to help The Dharma Studio meet its goal of helping those in need, about 20 area artists and crafters will be offering up one-of-a-kind items to meet shoppers’ tastes and budgets.
“The local artists have everything that’s going to meet all the senses,” Johnston said. “There’s things that you can touch, smell, see, hear, and there will even be food from vendors to taste.”
A good portion of the items up for sale are handmade jewelry pieces, but the market, for which there will be no charge to take a walk through, will also offer stationery, handmade cards, textile art, photography, paintings, bug sprays, upcycled art, found art, pottery, and even hula hoops.
Johnston, who moved two years ago to Winchester from Florida, where she owned a vintage clothing store, sought out the artists who produced the goods through friends, Facebook, and word of mouth.
“We wanted something a little edgy,” Johnston said.
But edgy doesn't necessarily mean pricey.
Homemade soaps will be priced around $5 with other items selling for between $10 and $20. Handmade sculpture pieces and other art will retail for higher.
Johnston said the plan is to make the market an affordable shopping experience that will coincide with downtown Winchester's First Friday Celebration of the Arts festivities, which already offers shopping, live music and art on the first Friday of each month excluding January and May.
The next market at Dharma is planned for Nov. 2.
“We’re open to seeing where and how this can grow,” Johnston said.
And as the market grows, The Dharma Studio will not only be looking for other artists who might be interested in selling their goods for a good cause, but also more causes to lend a hand to.
Donnelli-Hue, who along with Johnston believes in giving back to the community any way possible, envisions donating the proceeds to different places and welcomes suggestions.
“Unfortunately, there’s need everywhere and we feel certain we won’t have to search long and hard for the next one,” she said.