Fresh on the Scene: Youth Makers at Handmade Arcade 2017

– By Jolene Miklas Schneider

This year, we are extremely proud to debut our new Youth Maker Scholarship Program and present our 2017 scholarship recipients —  eight young artists with passion, talent, creativity and outstanding handmade products — who will be showcased in our new Youth Maker Alley at Handmade Arcade! As part of the new pilot program, each student is provided with free booth space and ongoing mentoring.

We’re so sure that you’ll love their work, and we are excited to share this sneak peek of what some of our youngest vendors will sell at Handmade Arcade:

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Meet Jeramaya Gramby of Against the Odds Clothing Co. Jeramaya has big ambitions to pursue investment banking and start his own private equity firm. A junior at Shadyside Academy, he’s passionate about crafts and the maker community. He says, “I attended the Three Rivers Arts Festival earlier this year, and to see that the maker community follows their passion by producing high-quality products and takes the risk and responsibility to do so, amazed me.”

Kimari Young is excited to take her business, Allaure Textiles, to Atlanta, GA after graduating from Penn Hills High School in spring 2018. Kimari uses multiple techniques such as shibori and ashari dyeing, as well weaving, to create unique and beautiful textile pieces. For Kimari, ALLAURE symbolizes love, care and an artistic way for everyone to join together in unity to teach respect and appreciation to our neighbors and their cultures. From scarves, wall hangings and pillows, to matching skirt and top outfits, you’ll be proud to own a piece from ALLAURE!

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B.Bourgeois is the creation of Angeleia Hall, a senior at the Pittsburgh Science & Technology Academy. Whether it be a tiny backpack or a colorful zippered pouch, Angeleia loves the satisfaction of creating something of her very own. Stop by and see what amazing things Angeleia has created for Handmade Arcade.

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Christina Miller of The Beauty Within Company is motivated. This dance major at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts High School (CAPA) plans to study nursing and become a neonatal nurse one day. She’s already started her own business and sells clocks, wall decor and jewelry boxes containing motivational messages. Come see her laser-cut wooden pieces and take home a little inspiration!

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Arianna Allen, a senior at Oakland Catholic, is passionate about the environment. She hopes to study Marine and Environmental Sciences and dedicate her life to preserving the planet for all living things. Nature plays a big role in her art. Arianna created Persephone Jewelry Co. when she couldn’t find affordable jewelry that she actually wanted to wear. Now, you can enjoy her one-of-a-kind pieces made from gemstones, bamboo, resin and more. Gaze into a moonstone pendant or ponder the calming properties of pink aventurine in a bamboo necklace.

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Arianna shares a booth with her friend and fellow jewelry maker, Handuo Chen, of Chenamboo. Handuo, an 11th grade student at Montour High School, came to America from China two years ago. She’s proud to share a cultural influence via her work: bamboo jewelry laser-cut with Chinese patterns and greeting cards with drawings rich in cultural meaning. Minimalists will appreciate her simple bamboo stud earrings cut into geometric shapes. Flashier fashionistas can make an entrance wearing dangly bamboo earrings that make sweet, tinkling sounds!

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Aaron Evangelista returns to Handmade Arcade with his company DuraNotebook. In 2016, Aaron was one of two youth makers selling at Handmade Arcade. Aaron graduated from Baldwin High School in June and is the 2017 regional Young Entrepreneur of the Year award winner from Ernst & Young. Since graduation, Aaron has been busy growing his DuraNotebook business into a 3D printing company. Aaron is the recipient of a special Youth Maker Alley table sponsored by Modesto Studios. His notebooks feature “a living hinge” a solid piece of wood with staggered cuts that allows the wood to be flexible and strong. His covers feature designs from sacred geometry to lively doodles.  

Justine Szurley, a senior at Seneca Valley Senior High School, has something to say. So she created HMR (Hear Me Roar) Apparel a handmade clothing line that promotes gender equality and female empowerment. She says, “I grew up with hearing the word ‘girl’ used as an insult … ‘Girl’ should be used to mean strong, confident and capable.” Justine hopes to reach girls and young women who have faced discrimination and harassment to empower them with t-shirts emblazoned with messages like “Girl is Not an Insult,” “Alpha Female” and more.

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All of this year’s Youth Maker Scholarship winners are graduates of Startable Pittsburgh’s summer program.

If you would like to receive updates about Handmade Arcade’s Youth Maker Scholarship Program, join our email list.