In the dead of winter, a seed was growing on the first block of West Philadelphia Street in York City.
That seed has sprouted into Bloom Art Market, a monthly third-Friday event bringing artists and shoppers downtown to mingle in a fun atmosphere.
The epicenter of fun is Cherie Anne Designs, where the idea was born.
"York is so full of these amazing creative people," says owner Cherie Mansberger, who is renovating the space above her shop as a residence. "We feel York is really blooming, and we wanted to be a reflection of that."
The art market, which will have its third outing from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, works much like a pop-up restaurant. Retail shops on the block host artists who don't have a brick-and-mortar storefront, bringing in new faces and different crafts from month to month. What started as one shop with seven guest artists in January has become six shops and at least double the guest artists in March, Mansberger says.
"We wanted to give new, up-and-coming artists a chance," she says. "It's been a pleasure to meet these people. They're doing beautiful, amazing things."
The artists: One of those people is Hayley Croom of Paintbox Soapworks, an Etsy shop where she sells custom soaps, lotions and body scrubs. The online mall of independent artists and crafters is great, she says, but it has its limitations.
"For small crafters such as myself, having the bulk of our business being Internet-based will become the norm" as digital natives age, Croom says. But as someone selling distinctive scents, "it's really helpful to have a venue where customers can pick things up and smell them."
Participating in Bloom Art Market gives crafters like Croom and their patrons the opportunity to do just that without the headaches of maintaining a full-time retail shop.
Community: Additional sales are part of the attraction, but not necessarily the main one. Fostering ties and strengthening the local arts scene are a large part of the motivation from both sides.
"In the long run, it's not about how many bars of soap did I sell tonight; it's about how many people know about my business who didn't three hours ago," Croom says. "It boils down to cultivating a community of crafters and artisans."
After growing up in York City, moving out to Chicago for almost a decade and coming back to York to raise a family, Croom is excited to see the growing arts movement here.
"I love that there's this tremendous push to get people downtown," she says. "There is an influx of energy and creativity in the city."
Arts: Mansberger, the arts event's founder, can rattle off the names behind that creative influx by heart. Each participant adds something special to the whole, whether customized wooden children's toys or essential oil blends or wall art, vases, stamped cards, photography and "darling little ribbon skirts."
The market has an eye-popping wealth of skill on display, and it's constantly expanding.
"The first thing that we're adding on for March is a beer tasting," Mansberger says. "At this point everyone is inside, (but) it's our goal to go outside in good weather."
Cultivated like a hothouse plant through the cold months, Bloom Art Market is bursting with excitement for spring.
"I really hope the community supports it, because I think it's a wonderful thing that can grow," Mansberger says.
Bloom Art Market
The Bloom Art Market will run from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Cherie Anne Designs, 48 W. Philadelphia St., York, and nearby shops.
Participating merchants for March include The Art & Framing Warehouse, Nuts About Granola, Jane Plus Neal Images, Just Cupcakes and Pippi's Pen Shoppe. Each store will host local artisans and crafters as pop-up shops.
Free beer samples will be available for patrons 21 and older.
Metered parking is free after 5 p.m. on city streets.
For more information, visit the Bloom Art Market Facebook page or call Cherie Anne Designs at 843-0079.
- Reach Mel Barber at firstname.lastname@example.org.