Anton Holiday Market offers in-person, online shopping

By: Kristyne E. Demske | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published November 17, 2020

 Artist Janice Gunning  creates wreaths out of  Christmas ornaments.

Artist Janice Gunning creates wreaths out of Christmas ornaments.

Photo provided by Janice Gunning

 This ballerina soft  sculpture, by Connie Sochacki,  is available in the online  silent auction.

This ballerina soft sculpture, by Connie Sochacki, is available in the online silent auction.

Photo provided by Anton Art Center

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MOUNT CLEMENS — It usually kicks off with a big soiree, a fun time to mingle, munch and meet the artists responsible for creating thousands of pieces of artwork and holiday crafts.

But like much in 2020, this year’s Holiday Market at the Anton Art Center, 125 Macomb Place, will look different.

The center is taking a hybrid approach to the visitor-favorite this year, giving customers the opportunity to shop safely from the comfort of their home online, with options for shipping or curbside pickup, or to come in person during limited hours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Nov. 21 and 28, and Dec. 5, 12 and 19.

In-person shoppers will be required to wear face masks and undergo health screens that include a temperature check and standard COVID-19 screening questions. The center has put additional cleaning protocols into place, with staff and volunteers cleaning high-traffic and high-touch surfaces before opening, once an hour while the building is open and again after closure. There will also be restrictions on attendance.

“We’re going to be doing about everything that can be imagined,” said Anton Art Center Executive Director Phil Gilchrist. “I don’t expect we’re going to run up against any occupancy restrictions, but we will enforce them if it becomes necessary.”

About 30 fan-favorite artists have been invited to return to the 2020 Holiday Market, and several thousand items will be available for purchase, compared with the 10,000 items that filled the 2019 market.

“There is still plenty to choose from,” Gilchrist said. “If something sells out, we can always reach out to the artist. That’s part of the advantage of shopping local, I think.”

Local artist Janice Gunning, of Macomb Township, will be selling upcycled Christmas ornament wreaths in the market. She said the idea first sparked from neighbors in her condominium community who were trying to downsize and reduce their collection of holiday ornaments. Gunning then took the ornaments and created personalized wreaths with them. Since then, she has amassed a large collection of ornaments because she loves creating memorable decorations.

“I don’t think there’s any artist that wants to sell their art. We do it because we like making it, but we find ourselves drowning in our creations,” she said.

She’s always enjoyed the building the Anton Art Center occupies — it was the city library when she was younger. But it wasn’t until after she retired eight years ago from Chippewa Valley Schools that she discovered the center was looking for artists to contribute to the Holiday Market.

“Ever since then, I’ve been a volunteer up there. Whenever they need some help, I’m happy to accommodate,” she said.

This year, she’s happy to have a chance to sell her creations since most craft fairs were canceled. The fact that the Anton Art Center receives a portion of the proceeds from the sales is just another reason she likes being involved.

“I have just met nothing but nice people working up there,” she said.

Gilchrist said the center would not be hosting any special events that would normally draw crowds of people; it would merely be open for shoppers on the listed days.

“We did want to take this as an opportunity to start welcoming people back, slowly, ahead of our more broad reopening in January,” he said.

While the Anton Art Center is still confirming and finalizing exhibit dates, Gilchrist said they are planning to have their Michigan Annual exhibit as well as a collection of American art from the Detroit Institute of Arts at the center early in 2021.

“We’re really looking forward to having exhibits back on our walls,” he said. “We’re just trying to be really cautious and keep everybody’s safety and health in mind.”

Gilchrist said they are focusing more on the online Holiday Market, which went live at www.theartcenter.org/online-store Nov. 13 and will remain open through Dec. 22, although shoppers are encouraged to make purchases prior to Dec. 14 to ensure receipt before Christmas.

In addition, the Holiday Market’s annual silent auction will be held online. Featuring artwork by local artists Connie Sochacki, Janice Gunning and Eva Samulski, bidding will be open from Nov. 20 to 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at www.theartcenter.org. All proceeds from the silent auction benefit the Anton Art Center exhibit and education programming in the upcoming year.

“It is a much different year,” Gilchrist said. “It’s going to be a bit paired down (but) we did still think it important to be able to offer that in-person shopping.”

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