Vicarious Love, a Philly artists market that thrives on the unique, returns for its largest pop-up yet
Saturday's outdoor market will feature ceramics, jewelry, fashion, furniture, home goods, and more art from other mediums.
As the story so often goes, it wasn’t easy for Vicarious Love to make a full comeback during an ongoing pandemic. But the artists market will return Saturday, and this time, it’s tripling in size.
The organizers previously held Vicarious Love in the vintage furniture shop and showroom Betsu Studio. This iteration will be outdoors, in the parking lot of Love City Brewing in Callowhill. Kwan Howard, one of the pop-up market’s founders, said this expanded version required coordinating with 52 vendors.
“To come back from a certain break and a certain pause and to be infusing that much energy, that much thought in such a quick amount of time, it was a lot of pressure,” Howard said. “Even though we’ve grown in size with the market, there’s really no overlap in that we still keep it where every vendor kind of has an individual value and personality and aesthetic.”
Vicarious Love’s organizers Howard and Rebecca Ebner, who first launched in 2019 and held a mini-market in September, select vendors by looking for unique perspectives — like Better Lovers, ceramicists who build on their experiences as choreographers, or Roxy Azar, a sculptural artist who often creates holographic pieces that reflect collaged images of plants. The Saturday market will also feature fashion, furniture, home goods, glasswork, leatherwork, and jewelry, as well as art from other mediums. Howard said that creating an artists market that puts together art and fashion in the same place was a longtime dream, one that grew from his curatorial practice.
Before the pandemic, the amalgam of offerings already made for an eclectic vibe in a space where there were enough unique items to make shoppers linger, if not hang out. For this upcoming market, Howard and Ebner worked with guest organizers from Hothouse, DNA Floral, and Moore Vintage, all retail shops based at South Philadelphia’s BOK.
Carl Durkow, co-owner of Hothouse, said they’d been helping younger artists with tabling fees to support getting more folks out there. Hothouse co-owner Pauline Nyren said that Vicarious Love’s mix of perspectives was important to them.
“There are definitely a lot of vendors who do frequently table at these markets, but then we also have a good number of vendors who this is their first time ever having their own table,” Nyren said. “So there is going to be a lot of work that I think people haven’t seen before.”
Durkow, who has caught attention for both candlemaking and furniture, said the organizers were working to pull together an event where the time spent outside of buying and selling can be chances for new connections.
“It’s an environment where many people can make new creative friends that I think a lot of people, especially in Philadelphia, don’t always get exposed to. And it’s hard to meet other makers, and in many environments, sometimes you just don’t know about them,” Durkow said. “We’re trying to really create an environment where people you know, can have a place to hang out and socialize for the first time in a while.”
During the market, a lineup of DJs will play sets, including DJ Matpat, Wirl, Diamond Girl, Strglcty, and DJ Love. Musician Rieko Safiyya will perform at sunset. Artist Thomas Pontone is building an amphitheater for these performances, and Hothouse is creating on a lounge area for attendees. Brooklyn-based Arena Embroidery will provide live embroidery for shoppers who would like to bring clothes for them to embroider right then and there. The market will also have food, including a table from Philly chef Joy Parham.
“A big part of the market is like this creative celebration, this celebration of creativity,” Howard said. “There’s kind of like a little party that happens within the market itself.”