Five Minutes With Patsy Chapman, CEO Nutcracker Market Spring Spectacular

The Spring season is bouncing into the Bayou City with Houston Ballet’s first-ever Nutcracker Market Spring Spectacular.

Published April 9, 2019

The Ballet’s Christmas Nutcracker Market is now one of the most anticipated events in Houston. Since beginning in 1981, the annual tradition has come to mark the start of the Houston holiday season, filled with enthusiasm, imagination and dreams for shoppers.

Merchants at Houston Ballet’s Spring Spectacular include Seeing Pink Elephants, which features mid-century barware, 1950s glassware, cocktail shakers, vintage bar carts, Mad Men martinis 
and Rat Pack entertaining. Photo courtesy Houston Ballet

This year, that enthusiasm and imagination is making its appearance in April as well as November, bringing with it a sunny and warmer side to the traditional Nutcracker Market. More than 160 booths will set up April 12th-14th at NRG Stadium, offering unique items for the entire family, including home décor, gourmet food, apparel, accessories, toys, men’s items and more. 

Patsy Chapman arrived at the Houston Ballet in 1989 and today leads the Nutcracker Market. We chatted with her ahead of the Spring Spectacular.

Who are some recognizable merchants at the Spring Spectacular?

We are so excited to have some longtime Nutcracker Market merchants join us. The Round Top Collection, a Nutcracker Market staple which has been with us for over 25 years, will be there. The Brookwood Community and M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Children’s Art Project, both of which have been with us for almost 30 years and are also nonprofit organizations.  I love it when nonprofits help nonprofits! Also attending will be The Royal StandardSigns for DesignThe Write DesignsGlenda Gies Designs and Amy B’s, just to name a few. 

Hazen & Co. designs and creates exquisite, handcrafted jewelry and accessories including earrings, bracelets and necklaces. Photo courtesy Houston Ballet

How does the Market help the Houston Ballet Foundation?

All proceeds from our ticket sales, plus 11% of everything you buy at the Market, go directly to benefit Houston Ballet, its Academy and scholarship programs. These funds allow the Ballet to bring arts education to Houston-area schools, provide free programming, performances, and classes to students, and support the national and international touring of its company. So, you’re supporting the Houston arts community while you shop… how fun is that? 

Two Tequila Sisters is a Houston-based company specializing in one-of-a-kind denim jackets and vests. Each coat is a unique, handmade work of art with decorations that include edgy skulls, ethnic florals, tribal trims, sports teams, school motifs and ranch logos. Photo courtesy Houston Ballet

What types of programs are offered through the Academy’s Education and Community Engagement?

We offer a variety of performances and dance classes, most of which are free of charge, both on school campuses and at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance.  

Our Adapted Dance programs take existing Houston Ballet Education and Community Engagement programs and adapt them to populations with specific needs. For example, we offer free classes for children with Down Syndrome to emphasize strength and balance while encouraging creative expression and teamwork. 

Also, in partnership with the Houston Area Parkinson’s Society, fun and energizing classes allow students to tap into their creativity and apply some of the ground-breaking approaches that are proving to benefit those with Parkinson’s.  

It’s heartwarming to know that funds raised from our Markets are supporting incredible programs like these.

What are the differences between the Spring event and the event in November?

During the Nutcracker Market, we host a few different special events including an opening night Preview Party, a Saks Fifth Avenue Fashion Show and Luncheon, and a Macy’s Fashion Show and Luncheon. 

The Spring Spectacular will not have any special events. Just three days of glorious shopping bliss! The merchandise for both shows differs due to the time of year. The Nutcracker Market is more holiday-themed, while the Spring Spectacular will be more seasonal (think spring and summer holidays, vacations, graduations and more).

Get ready for summertime shenanigans at the Spring Spectacular with Sarahjanes Oilcloth totes in a wide array of prints, from bright floral patterns to classic stripes. Photo courtesy Houston Ballet

Will the Spring Spectacular become an annual event?

We hope so!  We want to continue to raise much-needed funding for Houston Ballet Foundation and by adding this show in the spring, we think we can. It’s something we have talked about for more than 10 years. We are so excited to bring this brand-new shopping experience to life, and we know it will be a lot of fun. 

The Spring Spectacular springs into action April 12-14 at NRG Center in Houston.


Cover: Patsy Chapman. Photo courtesy Houston Ballet

Austinite Lisa Davis is the Editorial Assistant at Texas Lifestyle Magazine and a student at Concordia University Texas.

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