Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sat, Jan. 16

Museum of Northern Arizona’s Winter Market opens this weekend

A top made by Gregory Hill at last year’s winter market. (Photo courtesy of Musum of Northern Arizona)

A top made by Gregory Hill at last year’s winter market. (Photo courtesy of Musum of Northern Arizona)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Museum of Northern Arizona’s (MNA) Winter Market will take place in two different weekends — the first Dec. 3-6 and the second Dec. 10-13 in a COVID-19 conscious way that the museum hopes will help artists who have been impacted by the pandemic.

Using cabins on the research side of the museum, the museum will be able to separate artists from each other, control crowd numbers in each cabin and still provide a winter art market, while asking the public to shop responsibly by wearing a mask and following CDC guidelines for safety.

Kristan Hutchison, director of Marketing for MNA, said the museum has been safety conscious in all of its decisions about having the museum open and especially for an event like the Winter Art Market.

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Buddy Tubinahtewa displays artwork at last year’s Winter Market at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Tubinahtewa is one of several artists who will be at this year’s Winter Market. (Photo courtesy of Museum of Northern Arizona)

“We’re trying to create an event where, if we assume that somebody in the room were to be a carrier, have we set things up so it is a safe situation,” Hutchison said. “When we were able to come up with this plan for the winter market, we felt like, ‘Yes.’ We put each of the artists spread across in separate buildings. The shoppers will be spread out, mostly outside. You’ve got masks, you’ve got sanitation and you’ve also got the outdoor fresh air and the social distancing.”

The winter market will run from Thursday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The reason for that is safety — the museum hopes that means people will spread out as they come to visit the art market. In the past the winter market was one day.

“We don’t want everybody to come at one time,” Hutchison said. “We want it to be a really slow trickle of people, so it can feel really safe. If we hadn’t come up with a plan that we felt was really safe, we weren’t going to try it at all.”

Hutchison said they are monitoring what the city’s response to the latest outbreak of COVID-19.

“We ask everybody who does come, it is every person’s responsibility, to wear their mask properly and be respectful of giving space,” Hutchison said. “We’ve created a situation that should allow for that.”

While some may question why the museum is trying to put on a winter market in the midst of a pandemic, Hutchison said the reason is important.

“We really want to be able to give those opportunities to the artists to continue to make a living,” she said. “And this was about creating that opportunity.”

The market was by invitation only, because of the limited space. Hutchison said some artists passed on the opportunity.

“The artists who are coming are both very happy to have this opportunity and very cognizant of how they’re going to set things up (to be safe),” Hutchison said, describing one artist who has sanitized all of his work and put them in plastic wrappers. “The artists are really thinking about how to keep people safe and keep themselves safe.”

Selling art is how the artists who will be at the winter market make a living and Hutchison said giving them the opportunity is important, while still following guidelines laid out by the city and CDC.

Museum volunteers will decorate with lights and decorations to give the market a holiday flair.

“I’m really hoping we can have a great event and really give these artists the chance,” Hutchison said. “They’ve been creating so much great work in this time. Many of them have creating amazing things and developing new things with their art forms. Because they’re stuck at home, too.”

Updates on which artists will be at MNA’s Winter Market is available by visiting musnaz.org or the museum’s Facebook page.

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