Fund young artists at the holiday market

Every fall the Friday Harbor Elementary School is transformed for two days into a bustling market with everything from ceramics to metal works to herbal infusions. The annual holiday market is a time to mingle with the community and buy presents. It’s also an event, which raises money for young artists on our islands.

“The event is an incredible circle of giving back,” said Lauren Jawer, president of Island Artisans.

This year you will find more than 50 vendors at the Islands Artisans 38th annual Holiday Market Nov. 25, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Nov. 26, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Friday Harbor Elementary School.

Now that the organization is almost 40, the board can boast that they are the oldest nonprofit in the county. Their goal is to raise scholarships for high school students through selling creations by local artists, who donate 10 percent of their gross income from the holiday market. The vendors also pay a $50 fee that goes toward the scholarship fund.

The organization gives out between $7,000 to $10,000 each year to kids pursuing high education in the arts. In 2015, they raised a record amount of $13,000.

“We have lot of people in attendance shopping, but a lot of people are unaware of the scholarship fundraiser,” said Jana Meredith who has been on the board since 1999. “The more they buy the more kids we can help.”

Any graduating seniors from any accredited high school program in the county can apply. Students apply in the spring by presenting three pieces of art and an essay. All of the visual arts mediums can be submitted. Applications to the scholarship can be found at the San Juan Island School District and the San Juan Island Library.

Not only are the art scholarships raised by vendors at the market, but the Island Artisans board is made up of island artists. The market started with humble beginnings out of the basement at the Coldwell Banker building and then moved to the old school gym before landing at the elementary school more than 20 years ago.

“There has been a lot of cooperation for the school district,” said Meredith. “We want to thank the school for always being behind us and allowing us to use the space.”

Meredith is a ceramicist, a silversmith and chef in addition to her role on the board.

“There is so much creativity out there and we want to encourage that,” said Jawer, who is a ceramicist and a painter. “We believe all creative endeavors increase quality of life.”

With that thought in mind, Jawer said they are shaking up the market this year with several new attractions. Market-goers can expect to find more tasty treats this year including paella, elixirs, fudge, sea salt, herbal infusions and more.

“It is exciting to see quality handmade pieces and a lot of culinary arts this year,” said Jawer.

This year organizers also wanted to create more of a family draw for the community. On Friday from 2 – 4 p.m. and on Saturday 1 – 3 p.m. Santa will be available for “selfie” photos for kids and pets. Bring your own phone or camera for photos.

Also, on Friday, 1 – 5 p.m. and 12 – 4 p.m. one of the past recipients of scholarships, Alaina Scheffer, will offer face painting.

For more information find the market Facebook page called “38th Annual Island Artisans Holiday Market.” You can also contact Jana Meredith at 317-5746. Texting is preferred.