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Market Collective 2021: Keep calm and get your gift on

By Rachneet Randhawa, December 21 2021—

After being cancelled in 2020 due to COVID restrictions, Market Collective makes a triumphant return, hosting its second holiday-themed edition this month from Dec. 19-21 at the BMO Centre.

Since being originally launched in 2008, it has catapulted itself as one of the largest artists’ markets in Calgary and one that caters to meet the growing demand of local business owners and entrepreneurs. The Gauntlet sat down for an interview with one of the co-founders, Angel Guerra, to learn more. 

After being on hiatus for nearly two years, the Market Collective made a comeback last weekend with their initial event onboarding many new artists. Guerra mentioned there has been an uptick in DIY handy arts and crafts. 

“It was awesome. 50 per cent of the artists had never been with us before so it was a really unique shopping experience and tons of interactive booths for the kids to have fun and cool,” says Guerra. 

As for how this event helps to support local businesses, Guerra mentioned that 100 per cent of a vendor’s sales go directly towards them as the Market Collective makes a genuine attempt to support local artists and entrepreneurs including food vendors. The best part is the interactive aspect between vendor and customer and being able to have a conversation with the person who designed the product. 

“I think it’s cool because they get to shop local but they actually also get to create those connections with the people that are making what they’re selling,” says Guerra. 

As for what originally inspired the idea for the Market Collective, Guerra said that at that time they saw a vacancy for an all-ages market event and a place to gather for live music. The most challenging part of organizing this year’s big event was the constant uncertainty around COVID restrictions and the possibility of being shut down at the last minute despite all the hard work and effort invested into planning the event 

“Just the idea that we might be doing a bunch of planning for an event that might not happen was probably the trickiest, but once we got past that everyone was really eager to get back and it was really exciting,” says Guerra. 

The different types of vendors include everything from ceramic pottery, jewelry, photography, woodworking vintage painting and illustration -— you name it. As for how the Market Collective is different from the traditional farmer’s market, they have a diverse variety of food and beverage. They also have a huge focus on arts, including little handmade local items and  there are fun evening activities for all to enjoy like the live music performances, pottery stations, bouncy castles for kids and an indoor skateboard park. 

“So I think we really created it to be more than a market, to be a community and to be something that’s really engaging and people leave feeling like participants as well,” says Guerra. 

Guerra d mentioned some exciting collaborations they are doing, including a special house  beer that they are selling and another partnership with Good Neighbours as a clothing and food drive, accepting non-perishable items that you can drop off. 

As for how this event has shaped the culture of the city Guerra said that the Market Collective was a way for artists to have space to showcase what they have been working on. 

“From the beginning, it really gave artists a place to show and sell what they’re doing. And it was one of the first places in Calgary to really give artists a place where they could make a sustainable living for themselves.” 

One thing Guerra recommends all attendees should do to get the most out of their time is to give themselves a few hours to explore because there is lots to see. As for how youth and students can get involved Guerra recommends volunteering but also to participate in the different activities and events Market Collective has organized. 

“We just really encourage you to come out, bring their skateboards, bring their friends, shop, meet the local artists, listen to the musicians and just really get involved in the community that way.”

The Market Collective is more than just another event — it’s a community. Throughout the year they also host vibrant events to give visitors a memorable experience and offer co-working spaces for artists including providing a platform for collaboration and engagement for artists to share and sell their work. 

Their last holiday market for 2021 takes place this weekend with admission being a flat rate of only $6. To see a full list of vendors click here. For those looking for some last-minute secret Santa grabs and holiday gifts now is your chance to get something authentic so be sure to check out. 

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