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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Chicago Teachers Holding Craft Market This Weekend To Earn Back Some Lost Strike Pay

The Martin will host the pop-up market, with local teachers selling everything from scarves to succulents.

Samantha Nieto of Little Llama Prints organized a craft market to help teachers.
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HUMBOLDT PARK — With Chicago Public School teachers losing six days of pay following the teachers strike, one school counselor is hoping to help bridge the gap with a craft market Sunday. 

The Martin, 2515 W. North Ave., will host the Chicago Teachers Market from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, but organizer Samantha Nieto said she hopes to turn the market into a monthly or bi-monthly event if there’s enough support going forward. 

“A lot of teachers have it on their mind. How am I going to make up this money?” said Nieto, a counselor at Ray Elementary School in Hyde Park. “I know people who are babysitting or tutoring on the side or selling their lesson plans. We’ve gotten pretty creative.”

Friday’s paycheck will be the first to reflect days missed due to the longest CTU strike in 30 years, with union members getting paid for three days instead of 10. After initially insisting none of the 11 days would be made up, Mayor Lori Lightfoot ultimately agreed to add five days to the school year to end the strike Oct. 31.

Nieto, who turned her neighborhood-themed doodles into a side business called Little Llama Prints this summer, was trying to find ways to make up approximately $1,200 in lost take-home pay when she realized many other educators would be doing the same. 

“Seeing all the strike signs people made and how creative they were, I knew there would be a little interest,” Nieto said. She posted the idea on a CTU Facebook page and has already gotten more than 30 responses. “I didn’t expect it to blow up the way it has,” she said.

Sunday’s event will include about 15 vendors, selling handmade goods and crafts like greeting cards, succulents, fabric totes, cashmere scarves and screen prints. There is a suggested $5 donation that will go to a strike fund. Vendors will keep 100 percent of proceeds from their sold goods, as well. 

Nieto said she was especially thankful to The Martin and its founders, Whitney Currier and Lora Miller, who are letting her use the space for free Sunday. That meant she didn’t have to charge vendors a table fee, and all donations will go directly to Chicago teachers. 

“I’d never done an event there, but I’ve heard great things,” Nieto said of The Martin, which opened last year as a performance venue devoted to supporting artists with individualized rates and flexible planning. “And they were more than willing to work with me.”

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