With event cancellations, local artist plans holiday market in Youngstown

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With holiday shows canceled this year due to COVID-19, Bob Barko, Jr. was looking for a new way to share his artwork with the Youngstown community

Barko & Friends Xmas Market at Concept Studio in Y-Town

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – One local artist is bringing together the local art community for a two-day show in Youngstown.

With holiday shows canceled this year due to COVID-19, Bob Barko, Jr. was looking for a new way to share his artwork with the Youngstown community. It was especially important this year due to the 20th anniversary of his business, Steel Town Studios.

That’s how “Steel Town Studios & Friends Christmas Market at Concept Studio” was planned.

The event will be held at Concept Studio, located at 217 W. Federal St. in Youngstown on two days: Sunday, November 29 and Sunday, December 13. The show will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on both days.

Admission is free, however, due to COVID-19 health guidelines, the number of people in the venue at any one time will be limited. Face coverings will be required, and physical distancing will be encouraged.

In addition to Barko’s Youngstown pop culture graphic art, the Christmas Market will also feature the work of five additional local artists:

  • The Repurposed Stage & Studio Lighting Fixture Home Decor of Jody Cercone
  • The Paintings of Will Duck Jr.
  • The Hand-Lettered Home Decor, Gifts & Custom Creations of Megan Factor
  • The Jewelry & Photography of Mary Ann O’Leary
  • The Pottery & Artwork of Daniel Rauschenbach

Barko said the idea for the show had its genesis when he was working on the State Theatre Mural earlier this year. The new mural, part of the State Theatre Block Project, is located right next door to Concept Studio.

“I already knew my usual Christmas shows had been canceled or were up in the air,” he said. “Working next to this awesome venue inspired me to take matters into my own hands. So, I spoke with Mary Ann, the owner, and also reached out to some of my Youngstown artist friends… Before we knew it, we had ourselves a Christmas Market!”

Barko said the show will have a variety of gifting possibilities as each artist has their own distinctive wares.

“Our guests will be able to find something truly one of a kind for that special someone on their gift list,” he said.

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