ShopColumbia celebrates 10 years of bringing Holiday Market to campus

By Tessa Brubaker

The streets are decorated with lights, students prepare for finals and ShopColumbia lights up with holiday cheer for its 10th annual Holiday Market.

ShopColumbia, 619 S. Wabash Ave., allows students, alumni, faculty and staff to sell their art pieces to the community. Until Dec. 20, the shop is a market selling pieces for the holiday season, said Tracey Drobot Brouwer, ShopColumbia operations coordinator.

“In previous years, we had pop-ups around [campus] because we didn’t have the space, but now we’re in this beautiful gallery space. Last year was the first year we had [the holiday market] here, and it went really well,”  said Drobot Brouwer. “This is the time where [artists] bring in new inventory and work, so we’ve got an excess of wonderful things people haven’t seen before in the shop.”

About 120 artists are represented in the market, selling clothing, music, fine art, holiday cards and jewelry, Drobot Brouwer said.

Junior illustration major Mary Freelove is this year’s holiday market illustrator. She created ShopColumbia’s window display featuring tiny houses and a large poster she designed, as well as postcards. Freelove said this has been one of the largest projects she has worked on, having started working on the designs in September.

“It has been really rewarding to work on something for so long and then finally have it physically there in front of you,” Freelove said. “That’s probably my favorite thing.”

Freelove said she is also selling prints, sticker packs, pins and miniature 3D houses for the market.

“There’s some amazing stuff you can’t find anywhere else,” Freelove said. “You get a lot more personal and unique presents when you shop local.”

Drobot Brouwer said the market will have special promotions for customers every day filled with free gifts and holiday activities.

“Every day we’re open, we will be having either a featured artist or some sort of promotion for the day, [such as] ‘Come on in, and grab a cup of hot cocoa.’ [And] we’re going to have a holiday movie day,” Drobot Brouwer said.

Senior photography major Heather Monks is selling her photographs and artwork in the market this year and said she first got involved with ShopColumbia when she had a gallery opening at the college in October. She is selling holiday cards as well as matte prints from her “Ghost Flower” series and “Icy” series that show flowers photographed on a light table and encased in ice.

“Support local artists. A lot of the student work is so good,” Monks said. “It’s just really rewarding seeing people you don’t know and [seeing] strangers buy your work. It feels good.”

Drobot Brouwer said artists receive 75 percent of the proceeds from their sales.

“They get excited when they get a paycheck and somebody has purchased their art or their garment and they don’t know them,” Drobot Brouwer said. “That’s a pretty cool experience if you haven’t sold your

work before.”