Handmade, artisanal gifts available at Showcase of Arts in a restored barn

For the 15th year, The Barn in Mariemont is opening its historic doors and decking the halls for a Showcase of Arts featuring local artisans selling handmade gifts.

Nearly 40 vendors will have booths at the two-day weekend event, December 2nd-3rd, with a wide variety of handmade fine arts and crafts. From knits and totes to jewelry, pottery, paintings, woodworking, homemade soaps, baked treats and more, there’s something unique for everyone on your nice list.

Admission is free, and there will also be hot food from Fire on High. In warmer weather, Fire on High serves its seasonal, organic fare from a food truck, but it’s moving the cooking into The Barn’s kitchen for the Showcase of Arts weekend. Upshot? No need to venture outside to buy a bite to eat.

“We had the biggest turnout ever last year, with about 600 visitors,” says Jan Boone, the event organizer. “We try really hard to get a good variety of things that don’t compete with each other — it’s about creating a truly curated experience,” she says.

Although its name is plain, The Barn is worth a visit for its rustic beauty alone. Booths will be set up throughout its main gathering spaces, including the expansive first-floor gallery and the adjoining classroom, where budding artists from kids through adults learn everything from oil painting and watercolor to fashion sewing and mosaic-making.

Up the stately wooden stairs is The Barn’s crown jewel, the loft. With its vaulted ceilings, exposed beams and natural light filtering in through skylights, it’s an inviting space that’s both intimate and grand. Along with additional vendors, local Girl Scout troops will be stationed here selling fresh-cut holiday wreaths.

Mosaic artist Sandy Caruso has been a vendor at the Showcase of Arts every year since 2014. Her holiday offerings include tabletop mosaic Christmas trees and gift tags that bring cheer to the gift of a bottle of wine.

“The size of this show is perfect,” she says. “With about 40 artisans, there’s lots of variety. The Barn is a beautiful facility, artisans are in four different areas, so it
keeps things interesting.”

If you’ve never heard of The Barn, you’re not alone. It’s tucked unobtrusively into a residential Mariemont neighborhood, and you really can’t see it until you drive right up to it. However, its humble placement belies its substantial significance. It was built in the 1920s by philanthropist Mary Emery, and has served many functions within the community, from Lindner milking barn to tax offices. After falling into disrepair, it was rescued in 2007 by the Woman’s Art Club of Cincinnati Foundation, formed by the longest continually operating woman’s art club in the country (established in 1892).

Following a significant restoration in 2008, The Barn has been transformed into a vibrant cultural arts center. To find out more about more about the event, classes, summer camps, events and rental availability, visit Art at the Barn.
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Jessica Bozsan is a writer, content marketer and overall passionate communicator who lives in Ft. Thomas, KY, with her hectic family of five. She’s also a reader of novels, a yogi, a walker and a hiker. Additionally, she loves to knit, sew, draw, make jewelry and throw pottery on the wheel.