Lifestyle

Building community through the arts

Market Collective (MC) has been providing a platform for up-and-coming artists and creatives for years, but behind this explosive event was a simple interaction between two like-minded visionaries.

“Seven years ago, Angela Dione and I met on a neighbour’s front stoop,” said Angel Guerra.

The two connected a week later over tea and discussed their ideas and passions.

Angela Dione and Angel Guerra, co-founders of the Calgary based Market Collective, discuss vision and forecasting for their business at Sidewalk Citizens Bakery in East Village while on a week long business retreat.Their independent market was created in 2008. (Photo by Amanda Richter/SAIT Polytechnic)

Angela Dione and Angel Guerra, co-founders of the Calgary based Market Collective, discuss vision and forecasting for their business at Sidewalk Citizens Bakery in East Village while on a week long business retreat.Their independent market was created in 2008. (Photo by Amanda Richter/SAIT Polytechnic)

“Two months later, Market Collective was birthed,” said Guerra.

The idea quickly took on a life of its own, and since its inception, has grown from a small event in the Kensington community to one of the most prominent markets in the city.

Fast forward to today, and MC brings in thousands of attendees and has helped hundreds of local artists, artisans, musicians and designers reach their creative dreams.

Years later, the two still see the impact of what can happen when a few people come together with a common vision.

“It has been an amazing journey,” said Guerra.

“We are constantly humbled by the support that we have received.”

Beginning as a tiny platform for the creatively minded in our city, MC has become a stepping-stone for those of various talents, from musicians and DJs to woodworkers and botanists.

This platform has not gone unnoticed by budding student creatives.

Kyle Chow, the founder of Plant Terrariums, a popular Inglewood storefront and established MC favourite, is an ACAD alumni and is joined by dozens of other ACAD graduates and students in the MC artist pool.

Both Guerra and Dione believe that the artistic community has been pivotal in their growth.

“[Market Collective] has been a beautiful testament to what a community of passionate individuals can do together,” said Guerra.

The founders recognize the significance of community involvement so much that they offer a special partnership with ACAD, giving current students and alumni 20% off for first-time applicants.

“We have many students, pre-professionals and professionals at each MC,” said Guerra.

Artists apply for a booth on the event website. The MC team then works to select those they know will flourish in the MC environment, an assuredness they ascribe to their familiarity with their key demographic.

This openness to artists, both veteran and novice alike, adds to the flavour of the events. In a world that has become incredibly disconnected from the production of goods, events like MC can feel like a breath of fresh air.

“It’s really quite amazing to be able to buy from a local maker,” said Guerra.

“MC offers a unique experience, in that each buyer gets to interact with the person that created the work.”

Beyond the direct connection with the maker of the goods, shopping close to home can be a thrifty option in our current economic climate.

“I think that the advantage of shopping locally is that you are supporting the local economy in a very tangible way,” said Guerra.

Though MC provides a unique collage of entertainment by combining quality handmade and designed goods with a photobooth, live music, beer, wine cocktails, and a selection of local food, the founders don’t see a need to weigh their event against others in the city.

“We aren’t particularly interested in comparing MC to other events, because each event brings their own unique flair,” said Guerra.

“However, I can say that MC has a strong community spirit.”

Artists interested in applying for a booth can do so at www.marketcollective.ca. The next Market Collective will be held from March 18-20 at the Chinese Cultural Centre. 

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