As the holidays approach and thoughts turn to the tradition of gift giving, there are many unique, handcrafted items that make thoughtful, heart-warming gifts and support local artists and small businesses.
It is a rewarding experience to bring home a piece of art that you fell in love with. It's even more exciting to share that art find with family and friends. You know it won't wear out or go out of season, and it can travel to wherever you or the recipient lives.
You also get the joy of knowing that you have invested in the career of an artist and helped a local business thrive.
There are several reasons to buy art locally, not the least of which is the amazing amount of talent that thrives in our region.
When you buy local, your money stays in the community supporting the economic base of the community. Our artists are small businesses that often employ helpers and use local services.
You get a unique, creative item to bring beauty into your life or as a gift. Art provides the character that differentiates one community from another. In a time when the global outlook promotes homogeneity, art provides distinctiveness.
Many artists recycle, reuse and repurpose items to create their work. They also often create their studios in blighted areas and create economic growth.
In this issue we have included short profiles of several local galleries. There are many more throughout the area that have artistic creations for holiday gift ideas. Many carry extra stock during the gift-giving season to ensure a wide selection.
There are also several artist studios where visitors are welcome and art is available, such as Charles Vess' studio in Abingdon, Va.
Instead of buying a mass-produced piece of jewelry, consider a pair of handcrafted earrings. Art prints, books, hand woven scarves, pottery, stained glass, fabric art, photographs, sculpture and more are available through the region. Many of the offerings are thought-provoking, and many are beautiful and quite practical, such as cutting boards, mugs, baskets and blankets.
The options created by local artists and craftspeople are varied, eye-catching and affordable. Galleries also offer gift certificates in case you can't make up your mind.
So after you've made your list and checked it twice, consider visiting these galleries and supporting a local artist and a local business.
>> Cindy Saadeh Gallery