The Art of Gifting

A creative campaign has people talking about local art


It may be cold outside, but Providence is heating up with holiday cheer. 'Tis the season of giving. White lights and egg nog lattes aside, there’s no better part of the holidays than the feeling you get gifting someone you love with something that they love.

But if you’re anything like me, getting holiday gifts for everyone on your list is no small task. Whether looking for family or friends, significant others or coworkers, I’m constantly on the search for something just as unique as the individual I’m giving to – which is why I’ve always been a fan of gifting art.

Art, you ask? Yes, art – affordable, creative, totally unique. Something created (or performed) by a local artist always has that perfect one-of-a-kind touch, whether it’s a hand-blown glass vase for my mother, locally designed graphic-print tees for friends, or a pair of tickets to that play I know he’s been wanting to see at Trinity Rep. Which is why I’m so thrilled that the Providence Department of Art, Culture and Tourism has launched it’s fifth year of the Buy Art campaign – it’s a way to give local and tell everyone that you did.

Following an open submission and juried selection process, the city commissions five local artists to design special limited edition ‘I Buy Art’ buttons. Then distributed to a wide variety of local galleries, arts associations, businesses and individual artists alike, the buttons are included with your all of your holiday art purchases, big and small. This year’s collector’s pins feature designs by local artists Heather Annis, Maria DiFranco, Alison Paul, Quintín Rivera Toro and Matthew Underwood.

Since it’s inception, Buy Art Providence has met with great enthusiasm from the local creative community, featuring a steadily growing contingency of participating retailers and an engaged public audience. “We are thrilled about how five years on, people still anticipate and covet the new series of art advocacy buttons each season,” says Program Director Margie Butler. She describes the program as flexible, designed to reach a broad audience through inclusion of everything from fine arts and handicrafts, jewelry, classes and workshops, museum memberships and performance tickets. A truly unique arts advocacy initiative, Buy Arts allows you to wear your support of the arts on your sleeve (or wherever else you choose to pin it).

Between the participating galleries, RISD alumni sale, classes at AS220, and upcoming performances at PPAC, the Creative Capital has got something for everyone on my list. Looking for an art aficionado? A year’s membership to the RISD Museum will have them thanking you all year long. Know an aspiring photographer? Sign them up for darkroom classes at AS220. Having trouble shopping for the person who has everything? I guarantee you’ll find something that suits even the most eclectic tastes at RISD’s annual alumni sale. With all of this holiday shopping, you’re bound to come across a few things you fall in love with. Go ahead, treat yourself. You deserve it.

Need Ideas?

Head to one of these Buy Art events to find the perfect something for everyone on your list:

November 18 through December 23: Providence Art Club 108th annual Little Pictures Show and Sale.

November 29 through December 9: Foundry Artists Holiday Show at the Pawtucket Armory Arts Center.

December 6: Buy Art Reception at Craftland.

December 8: The Rhode Island School of Design Holiday Alumni Art Sale.

December 8: AS220’s Annual Holiday Sale.

December 14: WaterFire’s Annual Holiday Lighting.


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And don't forget 'Made in Olneyvill' at Satellite Space 102 at The Plant by Yellow Peril Gallery, the folks who brought you "Summer Grid" by Quintin Rivera-Toro as featured in the 'I Buy Art' button shown above.

Saturday, December 15, 2012