About Market Exchange and Manos a la Obra
Market Exchange is a collaboration between Santa Monica artisans and Cog•nate Collective that creates platforms for empowerment by establishing alternative economic forms of self-determination for local crafts people and small businesses. This collaboration is dedicated to honoring the richness of artisan production in Santa Monica towards developing a community-envisioned and community-directed marketplace that will amplify the works of local artisans and artists, while providing sustainable economic opportunities.
The installation Manos a la Obra – hosted virtually at marketexchange.18thstreet.org and in-person at Pico Pop Up (2917 Pico Blvd in Santa Monica) as part of the exhibition Un Mundo Nuevo en Pico – brings together handmade items that were created and curated by an inter-generational group of women artisans from Santa Monica. The group’s work celebrates the resilience and the power of working women, whose daily social, emotional, cultural and artistic labor in our neighborhoods sustains the power, and vivacity of our community. This installation is comprised by and dedicated to working women and the expansive forms of labor they enable on Pico Blvd, and every street.
A portion of the sales from the handmade products sold during this exhibition will fund the collaborative’s long-term goal of establishing a community artisan marketplace.
The Pico Pop Up is a project of the Pico Improvement Organization (PIO) and supported by the City of Santa Monica’s Art of Recovery program. As part of an ongoing effort to transform vacant storefronts, Pico Improvement Org is reimagining the former Nancy’s Nails storefront at 2917 Pico Boulevard into a Pico Pop Up art gallery featuring local artists and artisans, with the goal of eventually welcoming a permanent vibrant creative small business to the Pico Blvd. community. PIO celebrates the diverse neighborhood and incredible merchants along Pico Blvd in Santa Monica, with its colorful murals, restaurants, coffee houses, pet spas, bars, fitness studios and so much more. To learn more, visit: https://picopassport.com/
Other artists who are part of Un Mundo Nuevo en Pico include Linda Vallejo, Anne Carmack, Nicola Goode, Jeff Gros, and Rosa Maria Lares.
Market Exchange is a project commissioned by 18th Street Arts Center. The artists thank Pico Improvement Org (PIO), the City of Santa Monica, and individual 18th Street donors for their support of this project. The Pico Pop Up and Market Exchange’s installation as part of the Pop Up is generously supported by Art of Recovery, an initiative of the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs, santamonica.gov/arts/artofrecovery.
Market Exchange Artists
Lily Alinaghizadeh crochets and knits a variety of home goods including coasters, blankets, and jewelry along with her mother and grandmother. What began as an opportunity for respite during the pandemic, has become a valuable form of connection with her family and with her community.
Laura Hernandez crafts beauty with unconventional materials. She produces decorative home goods that are “upcycled” with stones, shells and other found materials sourced in and around her Santa Monica neighborhood. In this way, her work comes to model more conscientious ways of producing, consuming, and living.
Ines Garcia is passionate about uplifting the rich diversity of indigenous cultural production from Oaxaca, her home state in Mexico. In partnership with a small network of artisan workshops in and around San Pablo Macuiltianguis, she sources and curates handmade jewelry, accessories, clothing and other items for her shop: using her business as a bridge between communities in Oaxaca and Santa Monica to support the continuation of traditional forms of making.
Carmela Morales creates made-to-order paper flowers, dolls, centerpieces and other handmade paper decorations, employing techniques she learned and perfected while studying as a young girl in Mexico City. By building on the tradition of Mexican handmade paper crafts, her work creates alternatives to balloons and other plastic decorations, contributing to more sustainable celebrations and events.
Recognizing how craft-making could open up avenues for being in solidarity with one’s community, Abby Juan learned to sew from her mother during the pandemic. She now designs and produces hand-sewn plush bags and purses, donating a portion of the proceeds from each item to local organizations that support social justice and equity work.
About Cog•nate Collective
Cog•nate Collective’s practice seeks to document and theorize markets as important nodes of exchange, facilitating – especially within immigrant, working-class communities – social, cultural and economic transactions that articulate individual and collective relationships to the communities we call home.