Treasured Houston art market puts fresh twist on holiday shopping
For the last 13 years, Fresh Arts in Houston has been putting on the Winter Holiday Market, also affectionately known as WHAM. As this year's WHAM approaches on November 16-18 at Winter Street Studios, here are all the important things you need to know before you go.
What is WHAM?
It's an arts market that fosters professional growth, connects art lovers to creative makers, and supports artists across a variety of disciplines. It's a grassroots initiative that has since grown to generate over $1 million in sales for the Houston arts community, with more than 600 artists participating in the event.
How much does it cost to attend?
Nothing! WHAM is free and open to the public on Saturday from 11 am-8 pm and Sunday from 11 am-4 pm. Parking is free, and all your purchases will be tax-free.
But what about Friday?
That's the preview party and happy hour from 6-10 pm, and you'll definitely want to buy a $15 ticket to attend ($20 at the door, and free for Fresh Arts members). You'll get early access to the shopping, lite bites, festive live entertainment, and an open bar featuring drinks from Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co., Dripping Springs vodka, and Austin Eastciders. Oh, and be sure to wear an ugly Christmas sweater if you have one — that's the theme on Friday.
What sorts of items will I find at WHAM?
Shoppers can browse handcrafted items from a variety of mediums, including paintings, sculpture, photography, jewelry, clothing, soaps, and more from emerging and established independent artists.
Which artists will be featured?
Michael Leanes Design (furniture), Claire Drennan Knits (textiles), Studio Leep (sculpture), Kathrine Zeren (men's fashion and home goods), Domestic Papers (paper goods), and Outspoken Bean (poetry). Jewelry artisans will include Modern Artifacts, fLuxe Jewelry, Cindy Schulze, Brenda Grands Jewelry, and Panache by B. There will also be fine artists such as Angela Fabbri, Tony Parana, Lenora Palacios, Joel Anderson, and Rene Victor.
I heard a rumor that this is the last year for WHAM. Is that true?
Yes, so you'd better be sure not to miss it. Fresh Arts is shifting focus to provide a deeper level of support for artists through new programs such as an annual Artist Summit, which will provide skill-building tailored to the evolution of the local arts economy.
What if I still have questions?
Head to WHAM's website to learn more about Fresh Arts and to see the full list of WHAM artists. The event is made possible by Houston First, Fresh Arts, and Visit Houston.
What if I want to make a weekend out of it? Got any hotel deals for me?
You bet — Omni Houston Hotel is the official hotel of WHAM, and it's offering a staycation package that includes luxurious accommodations for stays November 16-18, a $25 food and beverage credit, tickets to the WHAM preview and Ugly Sweater Party on November 16, and an exclusive offer for Mokara Spa. Remember, this is subject to availability, and is not applicable to groups, conventions, or in combination with other savings or discounts. Taxes and gratuities are not included.