ReachArts Festival shines light on Swampscott Artisans

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SWAMPSCOTT — Made By 01907, a virtual celebration of local artisans, is opening Thursday.

ReachArts, an artistic hub that coordinates the festival, hopes that the event will shine light on a Swampscott artistic community that has been struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s especially important this year to support the arts,” said Ingrid Pichler, a local glass artist and head of the ReachArts Gallery Committee. “People need to know that things are still going on and that they can still buy local. Artisans need that support and the community has really given it.”

The four-day event will feature 21 artisans whose work will be offered to the public for sale. The artisans work in a variety of mediums, including fabric, glass, paint, pottery and photography.

Some artisans featured include Bill’s Beadery, Jackie’s Jems, Pots of Paradise, and Wilder Woodcrafts.

Made By 01907 began last year as an in-person festival.

“We started the event last year in response to people looking to buy local,” said Pichler. “We thought: what can be more local than looking at what we have going on in our town and highlighting it?”

The event is supported by local businesses, including The Hiccup Inc., Cafe Avellino, Mission On The Bay and Chi Modern Asian Cuisine.

“We’re so grateful for the businesses that have donated,” said Pichler.

The donations will be raffled off to encourage patrons to purchase artwork. Raffles are scheduled throughout the event and for each $20 in purchases buyers will get an automatic entry to win the prize for that time period.  

In addition to the presentation of artisans’ work, the festival will include nightly performances each evening from local poets and musicians.

On Thursday night, Swampscott Poet Laureate Lee Eric Freedman will be performing spoken word poetry and family trio Seventy Sevens will be playing a mix of traditional and original folk music.

ReachArts is also planning a silent auction fundraiser for next year. 

The group had several gallery exhibitions planned which had to be put on pause because of COVID-19. Pichler says they are planning on continuing these events once the pandemic has calmed down. 

“I’ve always said, there’s more artists in this town than we know,” said Pichler. “(Made by 01907) wants to bring them to light.”

The Made By 01907 festival will begin at noon and can be accessed through the ReachArts website.

Guthrie Scrimgeour can be reached at gscrimgeour@itemlive.com.

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