CC staff, students exhibit wares at Arts and Crafts Fair

A variety of arts and crafts were available for sale.
A variety of arts and crafts were available for sale.

By Greg Collette ’12

If you attended CC’s annual Arts and Crafts Sale earlier this month, you might have come across several familiar faces.

Colorado College’s Worner Campus Center was packed with students and Colorado Springs residents Dec. 4-6, as crowds spent the weekend looking for unique gifts for their loved ones, or themselves, at CC’s annual Arts and Crafts Sale. The sale featured nearly a hundred artists, both professional and CC students and staff. Worner brimmed with thousands of the artists’ handmade wares. There was everything imaginable, from jewelry and pottery to greeting cards and handmade soaps.

Arts and Crafts Program staff members Brenda Houck, Greg Marshall and Jeanne Steiner also sold their homemade products at the fair, with Houck selling jewelry, Marshall selling pottery, and Steiner selling weaving. Several other CC staff members also had spaces at the fair, and it was a great opportunity for them to display their hidden talents. Elizabeth Pudder, service coordinator at the Center for Service and Learning, sold jewelry, LaVerne Garcia, processing preservation specialist at Tutt Library, sold beaded leather, Stephen Weaver, technical director in the geology department, sold his photography, and Lynnette DiRaddo, campus reservations manager at the Worner Campus Center, sold weaving.
The annual sale, which is nearly 30 years old, is an immense undertaking. Almost overnight, Worner Center is transformed into a show room. The entire first floor, with the exception of Rastall Dining Hall, is used, including Gaylord Hall and Benjamin’s. All of downstairs Worner also is used. It takes 15 Facilities Services workers all Friday morning to remove the furniture from Worner and load it into storage rooms and trucks, and all of Sunday night to bring it back in.

From the moment the sale ended on Sunday, planning for the next year begins. Advertising for vendors is a yearlong process, and attracts some of the region’s best artists and craftspeople (the furthest artist this year traveled all the way from Arizona).

While there are many applicants, not all are selected to sell their goods. Sixty spaces are reserved for professional artists; however, more than 100 regional artists apply each year. Each application includes a CD with images of the artists’ crafts. A jury of 15 CC students involved in the Arts and Crafts Program and three staff members view the CD and then select 60 applicants.

Selling alongside the professional artists and CC staff are the CC students. This year, there were 25 CC students who had displays. Many of the students are part of the Arts and Crafts Program and sell their own handcrafted art. Other students sold handmade products to raise money for their activities like BreakOut, a student-run organization that sends CC students and staff on service trips during block and spring breaks. BreakOut sold products from the Women’s Beans Project, a Denver nonprofit that provides job and entrepreneurial skills to women with a history of unemployment, to help raise funds for the BreakOut trips.

Though the annual sale is the Arts and Crafts Program’s only fundraiser, it generates a substantial amount of money. On average, the sale raises close to $6,000 each year after operating costs, and did so again this year. The profit helps provide for many of the Arts and Crafts Program’s simple but necessary expenses, such as upkeep of existing equipment and the purchasing of new equipment for the clay, fiber, and jewelry studios.

There was never a time during this year’s sale when the Worner Center was not filled with people. Even Sunday evening, just before the sale ended, Worner was filled with shoppers trying to find the perfect holiday gift.