Shopping for the holidays can be an overwhelming ordeal if you don’t know where to go. There are more than 100,000 artists residing in Minnesota, according to Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, so why not buy local art for the holidays? We put together a guide of five places to grab a variety of artworks.
Dynamic work from artists with disabilities
Interact is a visual art studio and theater in St. Paul that works to challenge perceptions of disabilities. Its rich holiday shop — which is now online, too — offers paintings, drawings, ceramics, jewelry and more by 74 professional artists coping with everything from physical challenges to anxiety disorders, cerebral palsy, dyslexia and traumatic brain injuries.
One of the most vibrant artists here is Lucy Picasso, who went from working an assembly-line job to earning from her artwork. Her detailed acrylic portraits visualize archetypical characters and legendary celebrities. In one painting, she portrays a funky tarot reader wearing chunky bracelets against a crisp green background. In other portraits, Elizabeth Taylor appears as if she were a ghost, and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz strike a pose.
Another artist who loves working with color is Ashlea Karkula, whose intense diptych “Denizens of the Deep” captures a wild sea alive with roaming octopus, sharks, and even a pink sea horse. If art isn’t your thing, pick up a tie-dyed T-shirt or David Wright’s greeting cards of colorful urban moments. (9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri., Interact Gallery, 1860 W. Minnehaha Av., St. Paul, or online at interactcenter.org)
The Textile Center’s holiday gallery shop features fiber works by more than 100 artists who love to be hands-on with their creativity. Taking an eco-friendly perspective, the center sells handcrafted goods that are sustainable, organic and sourced from local fibers. This year’s featured artist is Wendy Richardson of Brooklyn Park, known for detailed embroidery inspired by patterns found in nature. She’ll sell hand-dyed and embroidered vintage linens.
The studio gallery offers Indian artisan textiles made by Abdual Jabbar Khatri using Bandhani, a type of tie-dye used to create detailed patterns on fabric. (10 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 10-5 Fri.-Sat., noon-4 Sun. through Dec. 23; open Dec. 24 from 11-3. Textile Center, 3000 University Av. SE., Mpls. 612-436-0464 or textilecentermn.org)
Salon-style at SooVAC
The front room of SooVAC, the popular Uptown art gallery and shop, is packed with drawings, paintings, prints, jewelry, clothing, cards and sculpture by more than 50 creators, hung salon-style and crowding the walls.
I was drawn to a clever peach-colored shirt with the red text “I’M PEACH” by designer Butterfly Buffalo. My eye was caught by the bright red of a print by Meher Kahn showing a raccoon looking out onto the water, where a band of four-legged animals roam. Higher on the wall, Jennifer Davis’ goofy, colorful donkey taxidermy bust adorned with fake flowers gazes out onto the holiday store. There are also a ton of jewelry vendors as well as a variety of snarky, sullen cards to help everyone express their holiday angst — ’tis the season, after all. (11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed., 11-7 Thu.-Fri., 11-4 Sat.-Sun. Ends Dec. 29. SooVAC, 2909 Bryant Av. S., Suite 101, Mpls. 612-871-2263 or soovac.org)
Discover pottery, fiber art, blown glass, artwork and jewelry by more than 60 local artists at the Inez Greenberg Gallery. It’s overflowing with art: a giant tea kettle, a series of ceramic vases, ocean blue mugs, green bowls with molds of pine cones inlaid on the exterior. There are also plenty of cutting boards, mittens, candles and paintings of Fido the dog’s face.
Some cute finds include Christy Johnson’s candle with a blue ox painted on the side, Robin Stryker’s colorful, puffy bird ornaments and Ann Aas’ geometrically inspired jewelry. (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Wed.; 10-9 Thu.-Fri.; 9-9 Sat.; 1-5 Sun. Ends Dec. 18. Bloomington Center for the Arts, 1800 W. Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington. 952-563-8570 or artistrymn.org/gig)
North Pole via North Side
North Minneapolis’ Juxtaposition Arts takes its mission of promoting the accomplishments of creative youths up a notch this holiday season. The JXTA holiday sale offers a variety of artworks crafted by youth apprentices. Buy ceramics from the kids in the Contemporary Art Lab, posters made by Graphic Design Lab, and apparel from youths in the Textiles and Screen Printing Lab.
A pink sweatshirt with the words “Black Girl Magic” printed in English Gothic font is juxtaposed (get it?) with a black hoodie that has flames coming off the JXTA logo. If buying cool art by young people isn’t holiday happiness, I don’t know what is. (10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Thu. and Sat. Ends Dec. 24. Juxtaposition Arts, 2007 Emerson Av. N., Mpls. 612-588-1148 or juxtapositionarts.org)