Makers come together to help each other, sell their work

Makers come together to help each other, sell their work

It seemed to mixed-media artist Shelley Mouber that there was room in the Northwest Arkansas arts community for an organization that would encompass “the hobbyist, the after-work maker, the weekend maker, the full-time maker.” So far, 7,000 makers seem to agree.

NWA Makers, formed in early 2021 by Mouber and Bo Dutton, owner of Natural State Custom Furniture, has almost 7,000 members across its social media platforms, Mouber says, and more than 250 of them will come together Nov. 6 at the Washington County Fairgrounds for the first NWA Makers Fall Market. The event doubles the number of local artists, crafters, bakers, makers, food trucks and activities featured at the Spring Market, Mouber promises, with everything sold being hand-made “by someone within 50 miles of Fayetteville.”

“The Spring Market was energetic, busy and really fun,” says ReBecca Graham, a woodwork artist specializing in scroll saw, detailed work at ReBecca Graham Arts in Tontitown. Graham uses repurposed wood as much as possible, including lumber from buildings damaged by this year’s tornado in Springdale. “As successful as the first event was, I can’t wait to see how the Fall Market goes. The new location at the fairgrounds is going to be great for the vendors and for those who come to shop.”

Mouber, who moved here in 1988, says Northwest Arkansas has “always had good craft fairs and markets, but we knew that we had this amazing community that was entirely local. There’s just something very special about our group.

“Many of our makers had never shown before the Spring Market, and it was exciting to watch these established makers and brand new makers all together, helping one another succeed,” she says. “You may have someone in the Facebook group ask how to make a certain cut on a CNC machine or the best way to display something. Our local creator community is a wonderful place to create and collaborate. These markets really let them shine and show off what they work so hard to make.”

Mouber herself focuses her artwork on advocacy for mental health awareness, addiction recovery and LGBTQIA-plus inclusivity. She uses “repurposed papers, labels, junk mail and found materials to create visual stories,” she explains. “My work varies from abstract, expressionism, to figurative collage. My socio-political ideologies are a big part of my art and inspiration, but the last six years my art has been more about my own personal journey through emotional healing.”

She believes that’s a thread that runs through NWA Makers.

“Another reason I think our group has a great level of participation is because we’re all trying to navigate a new path in our life post-pandemic. Whether it’s career changes or struggles with reintegrating back into socializing, this group has shown what an amazing creative community we have in Northwest Arkansas. We CAN shop local. The NWA Makers have made whatever you need. This is what your neighbor does in their garage or makeshift studio as their side hustle or creative outlet.”

Mouber promises art, jewelry, furniture, home decor, toys, clothing, woodwork, bath products, seasonal items and more for sale while The Amazeum and Fayetteville Public Library will also be on hand offering activities.

“NWA Makers has quickly made an impressive mark on the creative community in Northwest Arkansas,” says Karen Wagaman, vice president of Downtown Development for the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce and administrator of the Art on the Bricks Art Walk.



NWA Makers Fall Market

WHEN — 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 6

WHERE — Washington County Fairgrounds, 2537 N. McConnell Ave. in Fayetteville

COST — Free admission; parking is $5


Categories: In The News