Ample Art for Holiday Shoppers
Even though the chain stores have been pimping Christmas since before Halloween, self-respecting local establishments have honored the unwritten rule that you wait until after Thanksgiving to bust out the garland. Some of the best shopping in Portland happens during the next few weekends when area artists host their annual holiday sales. Below are some of my personal favorites:
Maine College of Art and Society of East End Arts
November 30, 6 to 9 p.m.
December 1, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
December 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
East End School, 195 North Street
Two organizations team up for one very large sale with more than 120 vendors. This is the mother lode of the season that requires two visits. The first is to scope out the lay of the land and run into everyone in the universe that you know. Second visit is for buying affordable, quirky handmade gifts.
First Friday Art Walk
With more than 60 participants, the December First Friday Art Walk delivers an opportunity to buy direct. Individual artists open their studios to sell right off the wall. The six floors of the State Theater Studio Building are open until 10 p.m. and the Studio Building above Space Gallery is also flinging open their doors. Galleries also join in the spirit by offering group shows with lots of work at lower than usual prices.
Shop-a-do Craft Sale
December 12 from 4 to 10 p.m.
Space Gallery, 538 Congress Street
The spot for offbeat gifts for that special hipster in your life. Handmade goods including books, t-shirts, cards, handbags, jewelry, iron cribbage boards, affordable art and more. Cool stuff sold by scrappy creative entrepreneurs with a heavy artistic bent. Who needs mall muzak when you have live sounds by Bam Bam and the ability to grab a beer while browsing?
And because Portland real estate is getting pricey, here are two Westbrook events of note. (By the way, it doesn't stink there anymore.)
Radasch Redware and Ianworks Home Studio Sale
Friday November 23, 6-9pm
Saturday November 24, 9-5 pm
Sunday November 25th, 10-4 pm
149 Central Street, Westbrook
Ceramic artists Kari Radasch and Ian Anderson open up their home over Thanksgiving weekend. Friday night is festive night with snacks, drinks and tunes. Lots of pots will be in supply on all three days. Kari was my instructor at Haystack this fall and I was completely taken with her whimsical earthenware with vibrant glazes. Her hubby Ian Anderson makes bowls that say "Eat More,Work Less."
Photo A Go-Go
December 14th from 6-8 pm.
Bakery Photographic Collective, Dana Warp Mill, Westbrook
This is the annual benefit auction for the Bakery Collective but also an excellent chance to pick up a fine photograph for a lucky person on your list. More than 100 photographs donated pieces this year. In addition to being a fundraiser, this is one of the prime holiday parties of the season with artists and shoppers filling the mill.
Next week, you can find the complete list of holiday sales in the Portland area at:
Porltand Buy Local: www.portlandbuylocal.org
Portland Arts and Cultural Alliance: www.portlandarts.org