Handmade Arcade empowers makers of all ages by providing them with professional development and connections to customers. 


Handmade Arcade envisions an inclusive artistic community where all makers are empowered to share their craft and to achieve their creative potential and financial goals.


  • Anti-racism
  • Collaboration
  • Equity
  • Financial Sustainability
  • Transparency

Strategic Plan Town Hall

Handmade Arcade’s Board of Directors President, Vice President, and Executive Director shared the organization’s first-ever strategic plan. The presentation includes a brief overview of Handmade Arcade’s history, year-round programming, impact on the maker and creative community, and our plans for the next three years. It ends with an insightful Q&A session with the audience.

History: Handmade Arcade & Pittsburgh’s Maker Movement 

Handmade Arcade is the spark that ignited Pittsburgh’s robust maker community. Predating all other local craft-focused markets, including national markets like Etsy, Handmade Arcade has been a leader in Pittsburgh’s maker movement long before the term “maker movement” existed—with early credits such as features in MAKE Magazine and hosting the country’s first-ever Craft Congress in 2007.

Today, the organization operates as a nonprofit and continues to make significant, year-long contributions that directly impact Pittsburgh’s craft, maker, and arts community’s quality of life and economic success.

Markets, Events, and Impact

Between 2004 and 2022, Handmade Arcade has: 

  • Produced 18 Holiday Markets, including free and reduced spaces for youth makers, new makers, partner organizations, demonstration and teaching artists, and others
  • Produced 3 Spring Markets for new and emerging makers
  • Launched 4 Virtual Markets to assist makers when access to in-person events disappeared during the pandemic and 
  • Created a Virtual Catalog to highlight the makers participating in the 2022 Holiday Market
  • Hosted over 3,000 Crafters, Makers, and Artists at our markets and events
  • Welcomed over 120,000 shoppers who are ardent supporters of the shop small, local, and handmade ethos
  • Plays a significant role in the region’s creative economy, with over $2 million in self-reported income from makers since 2016
  • Created a Youth Maker Accelerator program hosting over 58 individual youth makers (ages 13 to 19), 25 Entrepreneurial Classrooms (grades 3 to 12), and 10 Schools as Artist Demonstrators in our hands-on activity area at the Holiday Market

Workshops and Professional Development

Handmade Arcade offers a variety of workshops for all makers. With something for everyone, Handmade Arcade regularly offers workshops that include topics such as Craft Fair 101: From Application to Event; E-commerce Best Practices; Creating Compelling Content; Photography; Marketing; Customer Engagement and Retention; Production and Inventory Preparedness; Making the Most of a Gift Market; Creating an Inviting Booth Display; and more.

During the 2020 COVID lockdown, Handmade Arcade quickly put together an 11-week curriculum to assist makers in switching from in-person events to online selling.

In early 2023, Handmade Arcade partnered with the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Center to develop a 6-week program to help new and emerging makers build their businesses.

Meet the Team

Tara McElfresh
Hands-on Handmade Coordinator

Board of Directors
Mia Hooper, President
Shannon Richardson, Vice President
Maher Hoque, Secretary
Tracy Lucas, Treasurer
Ariel Beach-Westmoreland
Samantha Caruthers
Shannon Parris



Advisory Committee
Samantha Bower
Joyce Ignasky, Volunteer Coordinator
Michelle Lancet
Seiko Sisco
Valerie Snyder, Youth Maker Coordinator

Emmanuelle Wambach

From the independent maker who went on to open a storefront to the 16-year-old high school student who launched a line of female empowerment fashions to the family who contributed a knitted square to a public art installation, we know that making things by hand can transform individuals and communities.