Christmas Shopping at the Pfister

Month-long marketplace features 80 artists and many hand-made items.

By - Nov 27th, 2015 12:17 pm
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Holiday Marketplace

Holiday Marketplace

It was back in July when Milwaukee artist Renee Bebeau organized an art show at the downtown Pfister Hotel downtown in the hotel’s former Roger Stevens store off the main lobby. It was a success.

In fact the summer show went so well that the folks at the Pfister gave Bebeau the green light for another shot this winter. The Pfister Holiday Marketplace opens today, on Black Friday, and runs through Christmas Eve.

“The people at the Pfister loved the first show,” Bebeau says, which featured about 20 artists. This show will be much bigger, she notes. “We’ll have work from visual artists, musicians and authors. Over 80 artists in all.”

The Pfister Holiday Marketplace will also offer handcrafted items, including products ranging from jewelry to soaps, ceramics and pet accessories. There will be arts and crafts classes, storytelling hours and other activities. A listening station will be set up for visitors to sample more than 100 songs from local musicians on a pre-loaded iPod.

For the July show, Bebeau says, she was able to give artists more room in the space, but due to the larger number of artists this time around, things got tighter. “We had to limit space to fit all the artists in.”

She and her husband Todd Mrozinski, the current Artist-in-Residence at the Pfister, are full-time artists, something they both recognize as a blessing. Let’s face it, most artists have trouble eking out money for bus fare.

Bebeau and her husband know so many area artists that they had little trouble filling the marquee for this show. “I contacted people I worked with, found some others on Facebook after I saw some of their work online or in person,” she says.

According to Bebeau, the Milwaukee art scene is booming, growing, expanding. “I see it as a community, working together instead of competing,” she says. “We give each other tips, tell people where the other artist is having a show. It wasn’t always like that.”

Bebeau is a mixed media artist working in paints, wood burnings, glass etchings, tattoos. “My work can be seen in coffee shops and restaurants,” she says. “That’s how we got our name out there.  Through the years you may have seen my art in Beans and Barley, Café LuLu.”

Bebeau said Milwaukee historian and writer John Gurda’s latest book will be featured for sale. The show will also display adult coloring books, cookbooks, poetry and children’s fiction.

“The Pfister and the Marcus Corporation have been extremely supportive of the arts,” Bebeau says. “They have shown a lot of trust to allow us to conduct this show in their space.”

There will be a reception today from 3-10 pm. The band Nineteen Thirteen will be performing, featuring cellist Janet Schiff and Victor DeLorenzo, the founding drummer of the Violent Femmes.

So, start your holiday shopping with 80 of your closest artist friends at the Pfister. And who knows? If all goes well, the artists may do it again–and again.

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