The Black Market Will Host Two Artistic 'Swap' Events This Month

The Black Market in Gordon Square hosts two special swap events over the next two Sundays. This Sunday, Sarah Catt McGee curates an Arts and Craft Supply Swap. Next Sunday, Blackhole Press presents a Sticker, Patch, Button and Pin Swap. At both events, sales are prohibited. Whether you’re moving, doing spring cleaning or just looking for some new inspiration or hard-to-find items, this is a perfect opportunity to refresh your creative inventory.

From 2 to 7 p.m. this Sunday, May 8, local artists and crafters of all ages and skill levels are invited to bring any extra supplies to the Black Market. Instead of trading item-for-item, the swap will be a “free-for-all” format. After dropping your items in the appropriate section, based on material type, guests can take what they like from what others bring. Organizers promise it’ll be more laid back and better organized than item-for-item swapping. Organizers suggest participants bring items they don’t want back. Any leftover art supplies from Sunday’s swap will be donated to the Dreaming Zebra Foundation.

Additionally, throughout the entire month of May, any art supplies may be dropped off for donation during regular store hours. Again, all donated materials collected throughout May will be given to the Dreaming Zebra Foundation, a non-profit arts education organization dedicated specifically to children and young adults from locations with underfunded art programs.

"In today's educational environment, thousands of underprivileged children are tragically going without access to basic art and music education, and/or art therapy, even once per week,” the organization states on its website. “Dedicated teachers, therapists, and community organizations worldwide face significant constraints due to lack of funding for basic art and music materials. Dreaming Zebra's mission is to deliver supplies to young artists in need, with an emphasis on serving diverse populations of vulnerable youth in underserved communities. All children deserve to pursue their creative dreams. Out of thousands of requests from our waiting list, these are the supplies that young artists need the most. Please consider donating today."

The organization gave a list of their “most needed” items, including: acrylic and tempera paint, watercolor sets and paper, drawing and construction paper of all sizes, paintbrushes of all sizes, oil pastels, colored pencils, both washable and permanent markers, canvases 11 in. by 14 in. or smaller (but any size accepted), sketchbooks/journals and modeling clay, especially white, self-drying.
While registration is not required, organizers ask potential swappers to RSVP at

From 2 to 7 p.m. next Sunday, May 15, presents another swap event, this time focusing on stickers, patches, buttons and pins. Again, anyone can participate, but organizers ask that participants bring their own table if possible.

In addition to these events, the Black Market hosts weekly and bi-weekly yoga events. Shel Greenberg Erba instructs Punk Yoga from 7 to 8:15 p.m. every Monday. Admission is $13 for adults, $7 for “Junior Warriors” (ages 8 to 17) and free for “Mini Warriors” (kids 7 and under).

From 7 to 8 p.m. on every other Friday, Shannon Nietzche leads Metal Yoga for $10 per person. The next Metal Yoga event is May 6. Both Erba and Nietzche are certified yoga instructors with more than 200 hours of experience. More information is available on the Black Market’s Facebook events section.

The Black Market has been described as a “Punk Rock Goodwill.” The shop is entirely run by volunteers. In an effort to keep prices competitive and become an asset to Cleveland, the shop has five volunteers who donate their time to working the front desk. Additional Clevelanders have donated their time, materials and services to help paint, build and hang shelves, make repairs, etc. The items in the shop are mostly donated as well, with the exception of the consigned local artwork.

The Black Market began as the pop-up Heavy Metal Flea Market, originally at the Foundry, later at Now That’s Class.

“Dissatisfied with the goods available at the currently established flea markets in Cleveland, I started doing a bi-monthly pop up ‘Heavy Metal’ Flea Market at west side music/dive bars,” reflects owner and founder Emma White. “Vendors were primarily friends who just wanted to clear out their record and merch collections, but also included local artists, craftsman, and clothing companies that somewhat stuck with the overall theme.”

Late last year, White was a runner up for the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization’s Holiday Pop Up Shop contest. Although she didn’t win the contest, the organizers were so impressed with her proposal that they offered her a retail space with free rent and utilities for three months, as well as free business classes.

“In the fall of 2015, a buddy sent me a link for a Holiday Pop Up Shop contest put on by the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization,” White explains. “I applied for shits and giggles not expecting anything to come of it, and ended up winning a runner-up spot. As a prize, I received free rent and utilities for three months (through the holidays) at our current location on Detroit and West 54th, as well as complimentary business development classes. We continued to host mini weekend flea markets at the new storefront, as well as art shows, punk and metal yoga classes, and even private meetings and birthday parties. The pop up ended up being such a huge success that we are currently in lease negotiations and plan to stay open permanently.”

The Black Market prides itself in “being Cleveland’s most cost effective store to find obscure music, local art and jewelry, cruelty free taxidermy, and much more, giving back to the community by teaming up with local charities and organizations on our swap meets and other events and above all, supporting the local art and music scenes.”

The Black Market’s regular business hours are Monday through Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 7 p.m. Both swap events are free and open to the public.

(The Black Market) 5403 Detroit Ave. (no website or phone, but you can find them on Facebook or Instagram)

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