The holidays are upon us. It’s time to empty your piggy bank and buy gifts for every single person you love. Seriously though, it’s the season to be generous — as long as it’s in your budget. If the idea of a Target gift card bores you, let the great gift of art excite you. This guide will help you delight and surprise even the blandest of third cousins once removed.
The White Page’s Winter Artist Market
Open Dec. 16-17
At this artist market, jewelry and ceramics tend to be the biggest sellers, but there are plenty of other crafty goods available. “People who don’t want to go to stores in malls can buy handmade goods for their loved ones,” said Alanah Luger-Guillaume, co-founder and outreach person at the White Page, a Powderhorn artist-run space that hosts two artist markets per year. If you’d like something super-customized, Zoey Melf, a studio mate at neighboring MirrorLab Studios, creates tintypes on-site; each one is 4 by 5 inches and goes for $45. (11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat. & Sun. only. The White Page, 3400 Cedar Av. S., Mpls. Free. 1-203-592-6642 or the-white-page.org)
Opens Dec. 1
Now in its sixth year of operation, SooVAC’s menagerie of Minneapolis artists is more than just a place to find gifts. “The holiday shop is an affordable way to start collecting art,” said Carolyn Payne, executive director at SooVAC.
In addition to paintings, drawings, sculpture and jewelry, this year there’s art that you can lay your head on. Brian Ness embroiders pillows with characters like John Waters, Julia Child, Little Edie from “Grey Gardens,” the Golden Girls, George Michael, Prince, David Bowie and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Sale continues through Dec. 24. (11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thu. & Fri., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat. & Sun. Ends Dec 24. SooVac, 2909 Bryant Av. S., Suite 101, Mpls. Free. 612-871-2263 or soovac.org)
“Prints on Ice: The 32nd Cooperative Exhibition” Opens Dec. 1, 6:30-9 p.m.
Highpoint Center for Printmaking’s biggest co-op exhibition of the year showcases work by 30 artists, with more than 70 pieces in the main gallery and 100 on the sales rack. During opening night only, take an extra 20 percent off. Prices range from $30 to $1,500, with the average work costing around $200. “This year we have a lot of color in the show, more than we have had in the past,” said Jessie France, operations and communications manager. There are a couple of sculptural print works, like Nicole Soley’s print “Roxanne,” a portrait of her tough-looking mom mowing the lawn with a Cub Cadet. (9 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri., noon-4 p.m. Sat., or by appointment. Ends Jan. 20. Highpoint Center for Printmaking, 912 W. Lake St., Mpls. Free. 612-871-1326 or highpointprintmaking.org)
“Made in Cuba/Hecho en Cuba: Recycling Memory & Culture,” ongoing
If “Adiós, Utopia” is the Cuban art show at the Walker, then this is the “other Cuba art show” and its purpose is vastly different. For one thing, Cuban artists here are selling their work. Similar to the Walker, this exhibition also presents work from the 1960s to the present day. Buy a photograph of Che Guevara watching Fidel Castro light up a signature cigar called “Habana, Enero” (1959) by Roberto Salas, jewelry by Osvaldo Castilla, or a tongue-in-cheek cartoonish graphic of a store called “Wal Marx” on the Malecón by the artist Ares. (noon-5 p.m., Fri., Sat., Sun. Ends Jan. 14. Squirrel Haus Arts, 3450 Snelling Av., Mpls. Free. 612-669-8712 or squirrelhausarts.com)
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Books are the thing to buy at the Institute’s gift shop, said Rita Mehta, head of merchandising and retail strategy. “This year people are telling a story through a gift ... like a scarf and a book about tying scarves,” she said. “Or it’s like a salt and pepper shaker with dinner napkins and a cookbook.” If food isn’t your thing, go for a book like “Goodnight Loon,” a woodsy retelling of the classic “Goodnight Moon” from a northern Minnesota perspective. (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Wed & Sat.; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thu.-Fri.; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun., Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2400 3rd Av. S., Mpls., 612-870-3000 or new.artsmia.org)
Walker Art Center
Pick up limited editions and multiples by artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, John Waters and Chris Larson or charming “Dear art collector” handkerchiefs by the Guerrilla Girls. Grab a Rollbahn notebook for the inspired writer. Say hello to Cuba with a quirky tote bag created by women-owned Cuban design brand Clandestina. It’s all available at the Walker gift shop. (11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Wed., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thu., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun., Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Mpls., 612-375-7600 or walkerart.org)