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Community Celebrates Together Again

On Sunday, August 8th, 2021 from 2pm-8pm, Print Shop Inc. held a Reunion & Open House behind the shop, marking a third year in operation. In 2020 just a few members of the board gathered due to pandemic restrictions, but this year the whole community was invited. It was a beautiful day to enjoy the recently unearthed alleyway and landscaped outdoor space adjacent to Depot Square. There was a full spread from menus from across the city... Sweet Potato Tacos and BBQ Cauliflower from Crave (High St). Pulled Pork and Mac & Cheese from Paper City Bar & Grill (Whiting Farms Rd), Briquette Sliders and Bau Buns from Avalon Bar & Lounge (Dwight St), Fried Chicken and more Mac & Cheese from Khi & Eli’s Food for the Soul (High St) and a Meat Platter, Rice and Empanadas from El Paraiso Colombiano (High St). It was all wickedly delicious. The empanadas were the first to go! And for dessert, Raul De Luna Pacheco lugged his Piragua cart to the middle of the party to serve traditional Puerto Rican shaved Ice, a popular summer treat in Holyoke.

There were a lot of familiar and unfamiliar faces at the event. Many Print Shop members had not seen all the updates and new equipment since the shop had reconfigured thanks to Covid, and some attendees never at all. Heather, Jeff, and Jona gave tours. Dylan Guzman, a Student Designer Member, manned the commemorative button-making and vinyl tote-making booth. Clarissa & John and Orlando & Kayla took turns running a balloon popping fundraiser game. Prizes include gift certificates to the Print Shop and local restaurants (Brennan’s Place and El Columbiano), prints and artwork by local artists (Joel Kappenman and Jeff Richard), tshirts, hoodies, mugs, and other objects made at the shop. As you entered the lot to the right there was a line of pop-up tents covering a row of vendors. Several members set up to sell their art and promote their services: Maddie McDougall from Resilient Community Arts, Anne Thalheimer of My Monster Hat, Laura Bundesen selling colorful brain decor, Pearl Burns (another Student Designer Member) selling original jewellery and plush sewn items. And over to the left in the shadow of the Jess Hotel was Carlos Pena and Fernado with silk-screened items from Paper City Clothing.

During all this, a mother and daughter from Seattle were waiting for a train at the Depot Square platform. They were touring New England colleges and had just come from South Hadley on their way north. From the station they saw our event and wandered in to use the facilities. Their trip to the area had been lacklustre so far. But after a tour of the shop, meeting a bunch of our members, some great food, and buying some art they left thrilled to have found a diverse urban center that reminded them of home. Vowing to be back.

Thank you so much to everyone who attended. It was an incredible turnout of over 100 people, and amazing to see the community that makes the shop possible all there together. It was great to meet new people checking out the shop for the first time. Thank you all for coming! Thank you to the makers who popped up a marketplace and to those who purchased things from them. Thank you to the 5 local restaurants for coming through last minute with those amazing flavours. Thank you to our intern, and his little helper buddy, who made totes and buttons for everyone! Thank you to Raul who shaved ice all day long! Thank you to Witman Properties for all their support over the years and letting us use the empty lot. Thanks to the Holyoke Local Cultural Council for their support, funding the totes and buttons. Thank you to the sponsors who gave to the event beforehand - Alberto Rogriguez, Gustavo Romano, David Yos, Will Newcomb, Samilid Hogan, Chis Dillon, and our moms Janet Bianchine and Marge Leenders. Thank you to the artists and restaurants who donated to our prize table and everyone one who popped a balloon. Thank you Joel Kappermann for painting that amazing mural! Thanks to MIFA, our fiscal sponsor, the shop wouldn't even be here without you. And especially thank you to the Print Shop board - who made this happen (both creatively and physically) - not just that day but for the months leading up to it - all the planning, and cleaning, and painting and moving heavy stuff, and hanging things on walls. And spreadsheets, emails, and post-it notes. You are all amazing. The result can be seen here in photos, and the spirit of that day is enshrined at the Print Shop.

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