CORALVILLE — The Iowa Children’s Museum teaches kids to be creative and innovative through hands-on learning.
It’s fitting then that a new fundraiser for the museum is an innovative twist on a way to showcase handmade creations by local artisans and crafters.
Vendors often pay a fee to “rent” spaces at craft fairs and other events. Children’s museum volunteer Guild Board member Lindsey Litton rethought that concept. In exchange for a spot at the ICM Made Market on Sunday, vendors donated items that the museum will auction at the Celebrate Play gala later this fall.
So market vendors will take home all of their profits. “All product sales at ICM Made Market go to the vendors themselves,” says Kate Ahn of Coralville, Iowa Children’s Museum Volunteer Guild Board Member who helped organize the event.
The museum benefits because volunteers won’t have to find auction items this fall. “Every year, the children’s museum puts on the Celebrate Play gala as a major fundraising effort.
“We’re always looking for great and unique items for the silent and live auction. We saw an opportunity to support the many local artisans and makers while also benefiting the museum,” Ahn says.
As a non-profit, the museum depends on fundraisers and donations.
“The money raised from the sales of their donated items at the gala benefit the ICM’s educational and interactive exhibits, engaging programming and community outreach throughout the year. So it’s a mutually beneficial way to promote and support the handmade community and the ICM.”
Vendors were recruited through word-of-mouth and Facebook.
“Shoppers may be surprised at the level of craftsmanship of the vendors,” she says. “Sometimes there might be a stigma attached to ‘crafty’ things, but there are some truly beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces available.”
More than 30 vendors will be selling handmade products — everything from furniture, jewelry, artisan food and treats, to clothing, baby items and home decor.
“There is sure to be something for everyone,” Ahn says. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for everyone — whether you’re shopping for a gift or something for yourself — as 100 percent of the profit goes right back to your community.”
“You’re supporting artists and people who create locally, while also supporting the vibrant community asset that is the Iowa Children’s Museum.”