AIGA Jacksonville’s Designers in Toyland never fails to delight. The atmosphere is as wonderful as the toys, gratefully lacking the combat-like conditions of chain retailers. Music and conversation spill from a gallery sparkling with tiny white lights. Stepping inside, you’re greeted with warm smiles and cold beer. You can browse one-of-a-kind creations at your own pace, and mingle with friends both old and new. The gifts are ho ho ho, never ho-hum, and offer that extra bit of joy that comes with contributing to a good cause.
Approximately 50 artists participated in Designers in Toyland 3, showing off toys ranging from nostalgic to edgy, adorable and more. From gamer themes to Internet memes, oldies but goodies included oversize LEGOs, a Super Mario Brothers Rubik’s cube, and a hipster mermaid. More Tim Burton-esque offerings included pups with glowing eyes and a Zombie Claus with a mouth full of, um, jelly. There were angels and conspiracy dolls, shiny metal creatures, snugly plush animals, and hand-painted nesting and Munny dolls. True to AIGA Jacksonville tradition, a banana blond puppet celebrated President Karen Kurycki’s inaugural year.
While Designers In Toyland 3D certainly offers the best viewing experience, the 2D tour is definitely worth a look. View photos from Tiffany Manning and Sarah Butsch.
Just as amazing as the toys, of course, were the volunteers. Special thanks to everyone who donated time and talent to make the show a great success. Intuition Ale Works provided the holiday spirits, AIM donated the signage, and The Florida Times-Union and WJCT’s First Coast Connect helped to promote the event. DJs Dennis Eusebio, Joey Marchy, and Ian Latchmansingh filled the air with festive tracks.
Designers in Toyland 3 raised nearly $500 to benefit Discover Design, AIGA Jacksonville’s high school mentoring program. I can’t wait to see a mentee debut at the show; now that may be the biggest, brightest show yet.
~ Jen, AIGA Jacksonville Aficionado
(Photo by Sarah Butsch)