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Indie art goes to market
A new local outlet provides a cutting-edge alternative to typical arts and crafts shows
August 23, 2007 — Rochester Democrat & Chronicle — Mary Chao, staff writer
photograph of Shanna
Textile artist Shanna Murray cuts material into squares that will be used to make stuffed soft blocks for children. Murray and three other artists founded Second Storie, an independent market for artists and trendier crafts.
Photograph by Annette Lein, Democrat & Chronicle.

On a large chalkboard in her carriage house apartment that doubles as a working studio, textile artist Shanna Murray writes a laundry list of things to do before her craft fair in two weeks.

There are pillows to make, bags to sew and dresses to make for the first indie art and craft show at the Visual Studies Workshop on Prince Street.

Together with fellow artists JoAnn McGranahan, Karen Stocks and Cris Sasso, Murray founded Second Storie, which they describe as an independent market for artists and a younger, trendier alternative to craft fairs.

“The art and craft indie market is strong all over the country,” Murray said.

Shoppers will not find floral wreaths or bird houses on a stick at Second Storie, said Murray, select the vendors with an eye toward edgier arts and crafts.

The first of the quarterly market events will be Friday evening, Sept. 7, and Saturday, Sept. 8, at Visual Studies Workshop. Seventeen vendors have been selected so far, said McGranahan, 32, of Brighton.

Vendors include potters, ceramic artists and letterpress artists.

The purpose of the show is to give fledgling artists an opportunity to start their own small businesses, Murray said. The table rental is $50 for the two days, much less than for some other craft fairs, she said.

“We want to make it accessible to younger people,” Murray said, noting that the high cost of some craft fairs may be a deterrent for young people to enter the arts field.

Murray, who last year launched her craft business — Shanna Murray Fine Handmade Goods — found tremendous success after the Clothesline Festival at the Memorial Art Gallery. She now sells her wares, such as clothing and building blocks for children using organic fabrics, to eight boutiques around the country.

Getting ready for the upcoming Second Storie show “forces you to pull your whole line together,” Murray said. She is restocking her inventory for the event while McGranahan is creating her handmade purses.

Kris Merola, coordinator at Visual Studies Workshop, is looking forward to the different artists, an approach that fits with the mission of the nonprofit agency, which offers a master of fine arts degree through State University College at Brockport.

“It seems like the alternative nature of the art really fits in with what we're doing,” she said.

Copyright © 2007, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle