Shop, learn Dec. 12 at virtual Wabanaki Winter Market 

After last year’s 25th annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Holiday Market, organizers renamed the event Wabanaki Winter Market to better represent participants and the wide range of artforms.

And because of the coronavirus, the word “virtual” has been added to the name of the 26th annual market slated for Saturday, Dec. 12.

This year’s popular collaboration between the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance and the University of Maine Hudson Museum will still include demonstrations and performances. John Bear Mitchell, Penobscot, will emcee the livestreamed event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Shoppers and browsers can find names of participating basketmakers and other artists in the Hudson Museum’s Wabanaki Artist Directory.

Click on a name to get that artist’s contact information, biography, photographs, and links to their professional websites and social media. From there, market-goers can visit each artist’s website to purchase one-of-a-kind creations, including basketry, clothing, jewelry, beadwork and more directly from the artist.

“In 26 years, we’ve never had to cancel,” says Jennifer Neptune, director of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance. “We’ve had snowstorms and so many different conditions. We waited until the last possible moment to go virtual. I’m so happy that we found a way to do this for the 26th year.”

Neptune says the market is important for artists because during the pandemic, many other shows where they sell their works have been canceled. “Buying from local artists and small businesspeople makes a big impact in their lives and in area communities because the money stays here and gets spent locally,” she says.

Hudson Museum director Gretchen Faulkner says in addition to the market providing important income for Wabanaki artists at a crucial time of the year, it also provides an opportunity for the public to learn about Wabanaki history and culture through demonstrations, storytelling and music. 

“We could not have imagined at our 25th anniversary event last year that we would not be able to hold an in-person show this December,” she says. “It was important that the Hudson carry on this tradition and we hope that you join us for this year’s virtual Wabanaki Winter Market.”

Presenters and performers scheduled for the livestream event include: Barry Dana, Penobscot, birchbark artist; Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy, basketmaker; Jennifer Neptune, Penobscot, basketmaker and beadworker; Geo Neptune, Passamaquoddy, basketmaker; Carol Dana, Penobscot, storyteller; James Francis, Penobscot, multimedia artist; and Firefly (stage name of Jason Brown of Decontie & Brown), Penobscot, singer.

Contact: Beth Staples,