Off of West Huron, just west of the railroad tracks, is a compound of buildings that houses an eclectic mix of businesses. And on one day for each of the past eight years, a building within this compound known as The Yellow Barn transforms into a venue for local artists and holiday shoppers.
On Sunday, 17 artists gathered for this year’s show, many of them regulars from previous years, plus some first-timers. Despite the crappy economy and threat of this season’s first major snowstorm, there were a steady stream of customers when The Chronicle dropped by around noon.
Mary Coscia, a basketmaker, was weaving small reindeer from strands of birch when The Chronicle wandered over to chat. She’s sold her work at previous shows, but to her surprise, said this year she’d had even stronger sales. She’s also a regular at the Sunday Artisan Market, but was thankful on this particular blustery day to enjoy the coziness of The Yellow Barn rather than her open-to-the-elements stand in Kerrytown. And by the time we parted ways, she’d figured out what was wrong with the reindeer she’d been working on – somehow, the poor thing had sprouted an extra leg.
Billy Gross, who manages the 416 W. Huron properties, has been organizing these shows, and says they might add an additional event in the spring. He and Britten Stringwell, who was exhibiting her unihoods and other creations on Sunday, also host a monthly gathering called the Bizarre Dance. It sounds like the kind of thing that’s best experienced rather than explained – a chance to tell stories, play and listen to music, wear unihoods, have some fun and meet people you might not otherwise encounter. “It’s definitely about community,” Gross said. (You can see a video of one of these events on Stringwell’s website, which features local folks like Lou Glorie, Shannon Brines of Brines Farm and John Roos of RoosRoast.) The dances are held on the last Saturday of each month, starting at 9 p.m.
But back to Sunday’s show: Sam Bates was exhibiting for the first time, selling his functional pottery and sculpture. He said he’d recouped his $50 booth fee during the first hour of sales. The more he sold, the less he’d have to put in storage while he’s studying next year in Spain. That’s a pretty concrete goal.
The Chronicle’s goal of chronicling this year’s Art in the Barn had been met as well – just in time to head back to Chronicle Central before the heavy snow.