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James Lindsay speaks at an event hosted by Turning Point USA at Pitt on Tuesday evening at Alumni Hall.
Turning Point speaker James Lindsay criticizes ‘queer theory,’ draws protest
By Briana Bindus and Khushi Rai February 21, 2024
SGB discusses upcoming elections, events 
By Emma Hannan, Staff Writer • February 21, 2024

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James Lindsay speaks at an event hosted by Turning Point USA at Pitt on Tuesday evening at Alumni Hall.
Turning Point speaker James Lindsay criticizes ‘queer theory,’ draws protest
By Briana Bindus and Khushi Rai February 21, 2024
SGB discusses upcoming elections, events 
By Emma Hannan, Staff Writer • February 21, 2024

Vendors and visitors fill Mellon Park for annual craftsmen’s fair

Mellon+Park+in+Pittsburgh%2C+Pennsylvania.
Via Wikimedia Commons
Mellon Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Mellon Park came alive last weekend as 85 vendors and thousands of visitors flooded the space for A Fair in the Park with all kinds of art, food and music. 

The Craftsmen’s Guild of Pittsburgh hosts the annual fine arts and crafts festival as a way to promote and preserve excellence in craftsmanship. The event welcomed families with a scavenger hunt and demonstrations by Pittsburgh Glass Center, Turners Anonymous and Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media. Various artists showcased art ranging to woodworking, jewelry making, fiber, mixed media and more. 

The director of A Fair in the Park, Carrie Nardini, said the fair offers artists exposure for their craft as well as the opportunity for visitors to find handmade, high-quality art. 

“I hope that people enjoy interacting with the artists, purchasing one-of-a-kind, handmade works that they wouldn’t find elsewhere and that they’re supporting our local arts community as well as the national artists that are here,” Nardini said. 

Nardini recognizes the fair is a tradition for many families.

“It’s a lasting tradition –– it’s been happening for 54 years. I know I came as a child and as a young adult, and then I brought my son before I became the director,” Nardini said. “I know for a lot of families it’s a tradition that they look forward to every year.” 

For artists like Cheryl Brooks, who has participated in the fair since the 1990s, this weekend was a chance to interact with new customers, but it was also a reunion with customers who bought from her since the beginning. 

“I have customers that have bought work from me right from the start,” Brooks said. “To catch up with their lives again, hear how they’ve been doing, how their pet is, how their mother is. I mean, they’ve grown from being a customer to being a friend.”

Brooks started making jewelry about 38 years ago and developed her classic European hand-built style. Some of her pieces include gemstones cut by her husband that she builds around with clean, classic lines. In 2022, her meticulously created jewelry won Best of Show for A Fair in the Park. She said having her work recognized as the best was an incredible feeling. 

“First of all, jewelry often doesn’t win an award, so being a jewelry winner is special right there,” Brooks said. “And to be considered the best work at the show, it’s just so humbling and honoring.”

The current president of the Craftsmen’s Guild and fine woodworking artist, Mark Mooney, expressed great pride in the Guild’s artists, the fair and the work that they displayed this weekend. 

“These people are just incredible artists. I’m very honored to be included into the Guild,” Mooney said. “They’re a wonderful group of people. They all have one thing in common, to produce fine art and put out a very good show every year for the people of Pittsburgh.” 

Mooney makes custom picture frames, tables, chairs, bookcases and more in what he describes as an “arts and crafts style”. 

“They call it rectilinear. It doesn’t have a whole lot of curves. It’s got what they call exposed joinery so you can see how the pieces fit together,” Mooney said. “The old style from the 1920s and 30s, it’s more traditional. It’s heavy, it’s solid wood. I say it’s not Ikea.”

Mooney draws inspiration from books in that style or time period or designs a piece custom to the customer’s house. He said he most often uses quarter sawn white oak for his designs. 

“I try to pick really nice pieces of wood for my pieces,” Mooney said. “I try to pick things that people like to touch and feel and things that look nice as well.” 

Mooney said even if visitors don’t buy anything, he enjoys the conversation and having them appreciate his work. 

“It’s really nice that they come and appreciate our artwork even if they don’t buy anything,” Mooney said. “I’m glad they come out to see it and have a good time.” 

About the Contributor
Maya Valletta, Staff Writer
Maya Valletta is a sophomore majoring in media and professional communication. She loves to crochet and is an avid reader.