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Foundry Artists Gear Up for the Gift-Giving Season

Excitement surrounds the return of premier Pawtucket shopping event featuring local makers and artists

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A holiday shopping tradition, the Foundry Artists Holiday Show & Sale returns in full force for its 39th year – and the excitement to welcome customers back inside the Pawtucket Armory is palpable. “We are thrilled beyond belief,” says Michelle Phaneuf, the Foundry’s marketing manager and a ceramic artist by trade. “Last year we made due, but it’s just not the same.”

She’s referring to the 2020 show, which was virtual by necessity – a creative pivot to ensure the show went on – but this year will be a revival of the human connection and interaction between artists and shoppers that make the event special. More than 65 regional artists will assemble in rows of booths for the first two weekends of December, selling everything from fine art prints and handmade pieces to home decor and jewelry, and all of it is juried, high-quality, and completely unique – perfect for gifting. 

“The neat part of our show is it’s completely artist organized and artist run. Everybody has a job in the event,” Phaneuf explains, whether that means being a part of the executive committee, marketing, ringing up purchases, or hanging signs. Even the electricity is rigged by a member to ensure each booth has power. “It really gives everyone a sense of ownership of the show,” and the chance to connect with other artists and patrons, many of whom return year after year.

You can count on the return of some familiar faces, but no two shows are ever the same, so expect a few new artists on the scene this year, too. A central checkout system allows patrons to grab a cart, visit the booths, and pay for everything up front. Along with the joys that come with shopping local, one-of-a-kind art, the process is more seamless than the alternative. “Nothing is stuck on a shipping container for us!” Phaneuf points out. “We are totally stocked, people have been working really hard, and their booths will be filled with amazing things.”

The Foundry Artists Holiday Show & Sale takes place December 2nd-5th, 10th-12th at The Pawtucket Armory Center for the Arts. Admission is free, but patrons are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for donation to the Rhode Island Food Bank. FoundryShow.com

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