Handmade Arcade (HA), founded in 2004, is Pittsburgh’s first and largest independent craft fair. Now in its eleventh year, HA brings young, innovative crafters and progressive do-it-yourself designers to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on December 6, 2014 to sell, their handmade, locally produced, and offbeat wares at a bustling marketplace. A highly anticipated annual event, HA attracts more than 8,000 attendees in one day. HA provides craft artists working outside mainstream and fine arts sectors with a grassroots, high-visibility venue to sell wares, build community, network, and share their artistic practice.
Handmade Arcade is run by a collective of creative Pittsburghers who have helped to shape and bolster Pittsburgh’s independent craft scene over the past nine years. The group’s founders — who, along with new volunteers, still run the event today — were inspired to organize a craft fair of Pittsburgh’s own that would tap into a national movement and provide a welcoming venue for artists and shoppers to come together. Handmade Arcade’s growth has coincided with the international resurgence of crafting, as new generations are reclaiming and reinventing craft materials and methods.
An Eco-friendly Home
HA has found a new home at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center (DLCC) in Downtown Pittsburgh. The benefits for vendors, attendees, and sponsors are immense and include:
- Free admission
- Increased on-site visibility for sponsors including benefits such as signage, table presence, and more
- Continued commitment to the environment through the DLCC’s green practices (www.greenfirst.us)
- Space for more vendors than ever before (150+)
- Addition of new areas to feature demonstration artists (Hands-on Handmade), DJs, and musicians
- Spacious walkways and visitor/shopper amenities
- Central downtown location accessible via car, bus, T, bike, and foot
- Extensive on- and off-site parking
- Expect even more handcrafted, indie merchandise
- Wider aisles and more room for vendors
- Early Birdie passes
- Refreshments on-site
Awards & Statistics
HA ranked 7th (by attendance) in the“Largest 2011 David L. Lawrence Convention Center Public Show,” Pittsburgh Business Times, June 6-12, 2014.
HA ranked 11th (by attendance) in the “Largest 2011 David L. Lawrence Convention Center Public Show” list as published by the Pittsburgh Business Times, June 8-14, 2012.
In 2007 and 2009, HA received The People’s Choice Award for Best Arts Event from the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. (Voted by the public. ) Activities organized by Handmade Arcade have been covered by numerous national media outlets, including The New York Times, Salon, Venus Magazine, and National Public Radio. In 2009,Handmade Arcade was featured in Craftwerk 2.0, an international exhibition exploring D.I.Y. production and global “Craftivism” movements now on view at the Jonkoping County Museum in Sweden.
Vendors and attendees have come from:
- New York
- Washington DC
- West Virginia
Growing Every Year:
- HA:04 Nov. 13, 2004, 32 vendors, 1,000 attendees
- HA:05 Nov. 12, 2005, 80 vendors, 2,000 attendees
- HA:06 Nov. 11, 2006, 118 vendors, 5,000 attendees
- HA:07 Nov. 10 & 11, 2007, 110 vendors, 7,000 attendees
- HA:08 Nov. 13 & 14, 2008, 100 vendors, 9,000 attendees
- HA:09 Dec. 12, 2009, 90 vendors, 9,000 attendees
- HA:11 April 16, 2011, 140+ vendors, 5,500 attendees
- HA:11 Nov. 12, 2011, 150 vendors, 6,600 attendees
Handmade Arcade has established partnerships with many local organizations and businesses including:
- The Sprout Fund
- Pop City Media
- TeeRex / CottonFactory.com
- Red Pop Shop
- Specter Studios
- Steeltown Anthem
- Visit Pittsburgh
- Pittsburgh Port Authority
- SLB Radio Productions / The Saturday Light Brigade
- Society for Contemporary Craft
- Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
- and more…
Supporting the Buy Local Movement
HA’s target audience is environmental and socially conscious, forward-thinking consumers of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities. HA attendees are active supporters of small, independent, and locally-owned businesses and the buy local/buy handmade movement. In turn, they prefer to use their resources and time to support local, independent artists. They come to HA’s marketplace for items to express their own individualism, creativity, and originality, as well as a commitment to conscientious and thoughtful consumerism.