By Mary Ellen Riddle
After a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19 and Hurricane Dorian in 2019, the Holiday Art & Craft Show is scheduled to take place November 25-26 at the Cape Hatteras Secondary School. Coordinated by the Hatteras Island Arts + Crafts Guild, the show will have more than fifty venders.
The three-year lag calls for a jump start and new ideas from the group that has been operating on the island since the early 90s, according to the Guild’s board president, Suzanne Stark and vice president, Stephanie Kiker. “That show is a tradition and all of a sudden it disappeared,” says Kiker. “We need to push it again and let them know it’s here.”
The six-member board is reinvigorating the project and the Guild itself by creating a new mission statement that includes promoting art and craft infused with the beauty and spirit of Hatteras Island. They also are starting a newsletter that will unite members and keep them in the loop on what is happening with the board, the arts in Dare County, and show that the board is actively working for them.
Another initiative is to seek sponsorships of the show to help enrich the donations the Guild gives to the Cape Hatteras Secondary and Elementary Schools’ art programs as well as the annual student art scholarship they fund yearly. In the past the altruistic funding came solely from the artist booth fees and a silent auction. Depending on booth size, artists pay between $70- $90 and contribute a $20 annual membership fee. Kiker says the board takes a word-of-mouth approach to seeking sponsors by approaching friends with businesses. They are hoping to fatten their monetary contributions to the schools this year by adopting the sponsorship approach.
The arts are especially important to Stark and Kiker who are practicing artists and see firsthand the value of personal expression and art in the community. “There are a lot of people around here who are really creative and talented,” says Stark who’s heard folks say that they love their “little hobby.”
The show gives people a chance to move from hobbyist to professional, she believes. Both Stark and Kiker also say it is about drawing folks to the island to take part in a flourishing art community.
The fruits of a wide array of creative endeavors will be featured including a booth showcasing the work of Cape Hatteras Secondary School art students plus a variety of painters, photographers, soap makers, textile artists, woodworkers, jewelry designers, tea and salt makers, basket crafters, and book authors.
This year over half of the lineup are first timers. Some past artists left the show due to creating demanding businesses, moving, or retiring due to age. The freshening of the lineup gives newcomers a leg up and lends the chance to feature new creativity to the long running show.
“We want people to walk in and say, “Oh!” instead of “Oh, it’s the same old thing,” says Stark.