CIRI employee’s inspiration results in first annual Holiday Craft Bazaar
This December, 37 CIRI shareholder and descendant artists showcased their handmade Alaska Native arts and crafts at the first annual CIRI Holiday Craft Bazaar. The event came from an idea inspired by the strategic areas of focus CIRI set for 2013 – 2015.
“One of our focus areas was promoting and engaging CIRI shareholders and descendants,” recalled CIRI shareholder and employee Carolyn Bickley. So she decided to do her part by making it her goal to give shareholders and descendants an opportunity to showcase and sell their handmade creations.
“I really saw the craft bazaar as an opportunity for shareholders and descendants to meet each other, display their art and hopefully earn an additional income,” Bickley explains.
She figured getting 30 participants—15 artists for each day of the event—would be a challenging goal. So she was pleasantly surprised when more than 50 artists expressed an interest. “We had a lot of people interested in participating. Thirty-seven vendors were featured, and I had another 20 artists on a waitlist.”
The bazaar, which was open to the public, provided a platform for participants to sell hand-woven baskets, kuspuks, acrylic paintings, ornaments, carvings and more just in time for the holiday season.
“It seemed like a neat opportunity,” said CIRI shareholder Jaclyn Sallee, who shared a table with her friend Cindy Hector. Hector sold crocheted hats, while Sallee displayed moccasins made by her mother, CIRI shareholder Mary Sallee, who works from a pattern developed by her own mother in the 1920s.
Bickley also organized a silent auction and bake sale as part of the event, with 100 percent of the $1875 in proceeds benefiting Cook Inlet Tribal Council’s Christmas Basket program, which provides gift cards and a holiday celebration for low-income children and their families.
The popularity of this year’s event has already had a ripple effect. “There were a couple of people who called and wanted their Alaska Native corporations to do something similar,” says Bickley. “So hopefully the Craft Bazaar idea will take off. I definitely hope the success we saw this year means we can host the event again next year.”
With Sincere Appreciation
Thank you to the following donors and volunteers for your support:
Alaska Native Heritage Center
CIRI Alaska Tourism
The first annual CIRI Arts and Crafts Bazaar featured handmade jewelry, ivory carvings and apparel crafted by CIRI shareholders and descendants.