Guilt-Free Holiday Spending

by Debbie Cheung

Art Market: A Project Space Fundraiser

When you see your friends instagraming photos of giant gingerbread men or cute reindeers with a sled, you know it’s that time of the year again. By the end of October we are bombarded with banal Christmas music and merchandise in retail chains which reminds us of this festive gift-giving ritual. Although we acknowledge that habitual gift-giving pulls us into a downward spiral of empty consumerism, many still see the value in practicing the tradition with their immediate family and close friends. Let’s face it, quitting cold turkey is difficult. In order to fulfill my craving for a year-end celebration and to ease my guilty conscience of being a holiday “big spender,” I managed to shop-for-a-cause at fundraisers produced by local artist-run centres.

IMG_0968The grand opening of Art Market: A Project Space Fundraiser

Last Friday, Project Space opened Art Market, a three-week pop-up store featuring a curated selection of handmade artist and designer products. According to organizer Michael Lee, the project is intended to showcase the work of local artists while raising funds for the volunteer-run bookstore/publisher. During the grand opening, visitors were greeted with gluten free chocolate cookies and artisan coffee. The cozy bookstore was buzzing with people socializing and contemplating what to buy. The miniature figures and accessories created by Dennis Ha are playful and humorous. They leave me wondering about the stories behind the characters. Joji Fukushima’s maple tops are smart and elegant toys that bring out my inner child. The colourful stylish scarves by Erika Wilk simply melted my heart away with the whopping ten-dollar price tag. After about an hour of hanging out in a friendly warm atmosphere, I found joy in combining retail therapy with community engagement—maybe holiday shopping is not so evil after all.

art-market_dennis-erikaTop: Figurines and accessories by Dennis Ha Bottom: Scarves by Erika Wilk, photo courtesy of Project Space.

Joji FukushimaA set of tops by Joji Fukushima, photo courtesy of Project Space

The satisfaction of contributing to a good cause reconnected me with the holiday spirit. Surely, there is no shortage of fundraisers in Vancouver during December, yet it is the creativity that draws people’s attention. 221a’s Provision is an interesting example. Using food as discourse, the artist-run centre is hosting a five-course tasting event for its annual fundraiser on December 7th. Portland-based designer Lydia Cambron and chef David Zillber from Hawksworth Restaurant are working together to design a unique environment for the occasion. The $80 ticket also comes with a general membership to 221a, a complementary beverage, and a tote bag designed by Christy Nyiri. For those who prefer spending quality time with their loved ones, Provision is worthy of your attention.

Art Market: A Project Space Fundraiser ends on December 16th. For the complete list of artists and shop hours, visit:

For more information about Provision at 221a, go to

Museum of Anthropology (UBC), one of Satellite Gallery’s partners, is hosting Holiday Market from November 19 to December 23, 2012. Visitors can purchase handmade goods that reflect the spirit of the museum’s extensive collections. All the proceeds go to the Museum’s programs. For more info, go to


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