Students Organize Mutual Aid Craft Fair to Raise Money for Oberlin Community Member

A host of Oberlin student-artists will participate in a mutual-aid craft fair this Saturday to raise money for a member of the Oberlin community who wishes to remain anonymous. Attendees will have the opportunity to donate either directly to the mutual aid fund or to purchase art from students who will donate a portion of their revenue to the fund. Artists can choose what percentage of their revenue they donate to the community member based on their own needs. The craft fair will take place at Harkness Bowl from 1:30–3:30 p.m.

College third-years Basil Musgrove and Elliot White worked together with the Student Labor Action Coalition to organize the event. The idea originally came from Musgrove, who had been working closely with the mutual aid fund and noticed that the donations were slowing down. 

“I think that mutual aid is potentially better than donating to the non-profit industrial complex because you know exactly where the money is going,” Musgrove said. “I know that this money is going to support not just one person but all of the other people that he supports, too. … I am protecting his anonymity, but it’s someone that I had been working with to raise funds to support his livelihood.” 

From these considerations, the craft fair was born. Musgrove and White distributed a Google Forms application on social media, calling for artists to participate. They received a number of responses exceeding what they expected.

“I’m just really grateful to the entire Oberlin community for reacting the way that [it has] — it is really more than I ever could have expected,” Musgrove said. “Artists really show up, and it’s really wonderful.” 

They eventually had to close the application due to concerns about table and space availability.

Both White and Musgrove also talked about the value of mutual aid in providing a way for people to come together to provide support to the community.

“I have relative class privilege, but I’m still low-income, so at a certain point, I couldn’t donate more of my money because I had to sustain myself,” Musgrove said. “This is what I can do to help. I can organize people that maybe have more relative class privilege than I do that can potentially donate.” 

White talked about a similar drive to help out and also spoke on what they find appealing about mutual aid. 

“I don’t feel like I have a lot of money to consistently be donating, so I can donate time,” White said. “It makes me feel really connected to a place and the people.” 

Musgrove made sure to emphasize that although they don’t identify as an authority on mutual aid, they are willing to work with anyone who is interested in getting involved or is in need. 

“We’re working together to sustain the community,” Musgrove said. “If someone was interested or knows someone with need, reach out to me.”