Arts Council takes annual Christmas crafts sale online

Want to sell crafts but can’t do it in person? The Flin Flon Arts Council answered that question by taking their annual Christmas craft sale from in-person to online.

The council’s annual sale has moved online for its 40th edition, with hundreds of items, consisting mostly of handmade gifts from local artisans, available to sell.

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Holding a craft sale in-person was a non-starter during COVID-19, pushing the arts council to hold their sale online. Once “red” restrictions came into effect across Manitoba, restricting any in-person sale of items considered non-essential, the arts council had to call another audible, changing to a fully remote sale with curbside item pickup and deliveries.

“This is the Arts’ Council’s 40th anniversary and it would have been sad to have to cancel it outright on kind of a special anniversary,” said Crystal Kolt, cultural coordinator for the arts council, who added the new methods have gone smoothly.

“It’s the first time we’ve done this virtually. We’ve learned so much from it and we’re really proud of it. We’re good. We’re happy.”

Kolt said a subsidy for arts and culture programming has allowed the arts council to hire local help to put together the sale’s backend. As the first online event of its kind to be held by the arts council, the change meant clearing some hurdles, but any obstacles seem to have been left behind.

“We’ve been getting texts and emails from vendors who are super delighted, like we’ve actually made it a lot easier,” Kolt said.

“People have done everything baking to birds to sleighs, mittens, artwork, jams and soaps and teas and everything in between.”

The sale will be live until Nov. 27 at 4 p.m. Flin Flon time - baking sales will be closed earlier, ending Nov. 25 at 4 p.m. local time. Once the sales are closed, items can be picked up curbside from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Nov. 27 and from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 28, while arrangements can be made for items to be delivered Nov. 28 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

After purchasing any item, pick-up and delivery instructions will be emailed to the purchaser.

“I think it’s a beautifully sophisticated online store for shopping,” Kolt said.

“We’ve done the very best we could to make it easy for the makers and to make it beautiful for the customers. I think it’s been a resounding success so far. There’s been no chaos - things are going well. We don’t need more chaos right now.”

Items can be seen and bought at flinflonartscouncil.ca - more information can be found on the website or by calling the Arts Council office at (204) 687-5974.

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