Cultivate Tucson

The light catches several nomad necklaces, made with bronze, chain and trade beads on display at the MAST table at Cultivate Tucson December 2016. 

The holiday artisans market Cultivate Tucson is still on, 2020-style.

Once or twice a year, the marketplace brings together local artists and makers to sell their creations and interact with each other and the community. That's still going to happen on some scale, despite the pandemic. 

Rather than packing an abandoned warehouse with people on one day, the holiday pop-up will extend from Friday, Nov. 27 (Black Friday) all the way through December, says co-founder Kristin Tovar. 

"Typically, we focus on the buzz and energy of a big, one-day event," she says. "But instead of doing that, we're going to spread that out into several, smaller connection points through six weeks of the holiday season, so people can safely and responsibly support small businesses and also still get to know them." 

The pop-up shop will take up residence in an empty shipping container in the MSA Annex, 267 S. Avenida del Convento. Customers will be able to browse consistent vendor products or stop by during designated times to meet certain vendors in person. 

"Yes, online shopping is great and a necessity for some people, but the whole point of Cultivate is to have these face-to-face connections come to life and get to know the people behind the businesses and the products," Tovar says.

You'll have multiple Cultivate shopping options, from an online store with shipping or local pickup to consistent in-person shopping hours weekends and weekdays and by-appointment hours. 

"If you say you want to support local and see these artists and makers thrive through the pandemic, we're going to give you as many options as possible," she says. 

The shop will allow a limited number of people in at a time and require masks. Tovar says that in the past, Cultivate has drawn as many as 5,000 people over a weekend. Obviously, that will look different this year. 

"In a typical year, it's such a great joy to see these businesses and owners grow and thrive," Tovar says. "So thinking about them not being in a place to thrive, I feel a responsibility to use the resources and platform that Cultivate has to boost their potential and make sure that people who are living out their passion are able to continue to do that." 

Cultivate begins Friday, Nov. 27 at the MSA Annex. For more information, visit cultivatetucson.com


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