Arts Gifts and You: How to Find, Buy, and Give Really Cool Art Stuff!
Arts Gifts and You: How to Find, Buy, and Give Really Cool Art Stuff!
So here you are. You’ve made it this far so we can assume certain things about you. You enjoy the arts and you are willing to take that extra step to find unique and fun arts events in and around DC. Your friends know this about you and therefore they will expect something unusual during the upcoming holiday season of gift giving and receiving. Luckily for you, The Pink Line Project has you covered! Below we feature ten great places to visit for that hard-to-shop-for person on your list. Or why not treat yourself to something fun and unique; nothing wrong with a personal splurge during the holidays, you probably deserve it. Consider visiting any or all of these as a resolution for the fast-approaching 2013!
1) The Fridge is an innovative art space in Eastern Market featuring a gallery, performance space, music venue, and classroom. Their goal is to “serving as a conduit for expression through the arts and providing exhibition space to emerging and established artists.” Surely a reputable task, which is why you should support them with your art-related gift giving this holiday season!
The plethora of creative gifts at The Fridge cannot be overstated, but I must recommend the one-of-a-kind backpacks and messenger bags by Peerless Creatives group leader Shaymar Higgs. Proceeds from purchases go toward public art at a local Maryland skateboard.
2) Pleasant Plains Workshop on Georgia Avenue is a studio, gallery, and shop featuring work by DC-based artists. In addition, they host a number of events which you should check out, including poetry readings, art critiques, CD release parties, and group classes. Stay local during the holidays, and support those who promote local artists!
Just in the time for holiday shopping season, Pleasant Plains will have their annual Present Day beginning in December with an opening reception on December 1st. What better reason to come out and visit a fun new gallery!
3) Arlington’s gem, Artisphere, is an arts center including three visual art galleries, four performance spaces, and an enormous event ballroom…for free! Admission is free and while event prices average about $15, many are free or pay-what-you-can. Through this fresh approach, they attempt to connect enthusiasts of every level with new and exciting art opportunities. Surely you could find something here for that art-lover on your shopping list!
Specifically, consider the fun plush toys for kids (or not) by Beth Baldwin, once an artist-in-residence at Artisphere, they still sell her products…and you should go and buy them.
4) A bit more mainstream, the National Building Museum features more than enough to excite absolutely anyone. Conveniently located four blocks from the National Mall, the museum explains the history of engineering, architecture, and design in the United States. Rotating exhibits, as well as their extensive permanent collection, will keep you coming back time after time. Perhaps your gift will entice the recipient to visit as well!
I would recommend a gift from the museum, but there is simply too much in too many varieties to choose from. Just go, spend lots of time in the museum, and buy something on your way out. Oh yeah, they have a gift shop online too, but you should go anyway because it’s cool!
5) Pyramid Atlantic is an exciting Silver Springs destination for all things paper, from printmaking to books. Whether you’re in search of a unique gallery experience or first-hand classes for making your own holiday cards, they have something for everyone. From casual gifts to prints to start your own personal gallery, a visit to Pyramid Atlantic should be on your holiday to-do list.
Unique and fun birthday cards are a thing, right? Pyramid Atlantic features three sets by resident artists sure to brighten anyone’s day!
6) Red Dirt Studio is the home of handmade arts; it’s as simple as that. Natural, unique makes a great gift and when you add the value of Red Dirt’s mission, you simply cannot go wrong. Red Dirt Studio is a workspace, exhibition gallery, and all around community venue where artists may work and simultaneously learn from each other. Fulfilling the infantile want we all have to simply play in the dirt again, let’s leave it to the professionals at Red Dirt Studio.
We have a couple suggestions for you from the masters at Red Dirt, the first from the Dame of Dirt herself, Ms. Margaret Boozer. Small Gold Horizon is an 11”x11”x2” work of stancill gold with lavender raw clays and steel for $800. The second, Fancy Beast is by Red Dirt artist-in-residence Lindsay Pichaske. This fun series all run for under $100.
Small Gold Horizon
7) If it’s glass you seek, we’ve got two great suggestions for you. The first is Washington Glass in Mt. Rainier, featuring a school and gallery in one. On Saturday, December 15th from 1-5pm, Washington Glass and our previous suggestion, Red Dirt Studio, and their neighbor Flux Studios, will all be having an open house holiday sale. Stop by for this can’t miss opportunity at great art!
Secondly we have DC Glassworks in nearby Hyattsville. While they do have incredible products available for purchase, what are really fascinating are their classes. Anywhere from one day to six weeks, pricing starting at only $40, you can learn glassblowing from the masters!
8) Unrelenting in their mission to promote artists from the local high school to national level, the Brentwood Arts Exchange is a wonderful PG County destination. Between their gallery, shop, and classes, this member of the Gateway Arts Center will offer a fun and educational opportunity to indulge in local art.
Perfectly fitting with the entire purpose of this story, Brentwood is having a big blowout Black Friday Sale on Friday, November 23rd from 10am-7pm. Visit the gallery and receive 20% off all fine ceramic ware, glass, silk, and more!
9) Taffety Punk has the unique mission of not only producing high-quality theatre productions, but also to make them accessible and affordable. With productions ranging from traditional Shakespeare to modern playwrights, Taffety is a great opportunity for novices and experts alike to experience excellent dance and theatre in the nearby Eastern Market neighborhood of DC.
Before venturing into the realm of contemporary theatre, consider giving the gift of Shakespeare this holiday season with tickets to Taffety Punk’s production of Twelfth Night. Curtain goes up on February 1st with tickets costing only $10.
10) Last, but certainly not least for art-lovers, is this weekend’s upcoming Washington Craft Show, celebrating their 25th anniversary. Friday through Sunday, November 16-18, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center will welcome many of the nation’s best artists, painstakingly selected by renowned jurors for their skill and expertise. Crafts America stipulates specifically stipulates that if you have an eye for fine arts and appreciate that of the finest quality, then you will be among excellent company at each of their three yearly presentations. Featuring artists who exhibit in, among others, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Corning Museum of Glass, and more, you could easily spend an entire day wandering the streets of this illustrious exposition. Surely somewhere in there you will find that perfect gift!
By now we hope we have given you some ideas about where to find all those unique art gifts that will make you the talk of your friends, either for your ability to find the coolest crafts or because they think you must have way too much time on your hands. Either way, you will have distributed amazing works of art, supported local artists, and had fun doing it, so you still win. Enjoy the holidays, eat lots of turkey, then sleep, spend much (or little) time with family and friends, and keep visiting Pink Line!
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