This isn’t a holiday gift guide with specific suggestions for what to get Mom, Dad, your S.O., the kids, Nana, Grandpa and that coworker-across-the-cubicle-you-chat-with-sometimes-but-don’t-really-know-so-well. (If you’d like ideas, though, you can find a few local gift guides out already this year, courtesy of the folks at Vita.mn, Minnesota Monthly, METRO magazine, or the Duluth News-Tribune. No doubt more such lists are on the way shortly.)
Instead, what you’ll find here in the coming days is a brief rundown of craft fairs, pop-up shops, mom & pop independents, and various and sundry art sales and trunk shows, and online shops where you can find kick-ass, locally made art and craft. We’ll point the way to some of the best spots for buying from Minnesota artists this season, and leave figuring out what to get Auntie Whosit to you.
No Coast Craft-O-Rama
Friday (3 pm – 8 pm) & Saturday (9 am – 5 pm), December 2 & 3
Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis
For me, it just wouldn’t be the holidays without this, the most fabulous of the Twin Cities craft fairs. From crazy-cute duds for kids, to cheeky baby gear, and ingenious toys and stuffed critters; stylish handbags, beautifully crafted jewelry, and handmade accessories, fancy soaps, candy, and punk paper products, awesome prints, posters, letterpress, and household doodads at every price point – I swear, this well-curated local craft fair gets bigger, and more bustling every year. If you’re in town and looking to check some of your near and dear off the holiday gift list, you should go. It’s a delight to browse, and I guarantee you’ll not leave empty-handed. (You can check out all the vendors online here)
College of Visual Arts’ Holiday Art Sale
Preview party December 2 (5 – 8 pm, $30 admission at the door)
Sale, Saturday (10 am – 4 pm) & Sunday (noon – 4 pm), December 3 – 4
College of Visual Arts Gallery, St. Paul
This year’s 6th annual holiday art sale boasts more than 2000 pieces of original work by CVA students, faculty and alumni – most of which will be priced at less than $100. Like all student-centric events of its kind, this art sale offers budget art collectors a great shot at affordable pieces by emerging artists, not to mention the satisfaction of putting your consumer dollar toward a good cause. Word to the wise: if you’re serious about making a purchase, it’s probably worth the price of admission to stop by the preview party. The really good stuff tends to get snapped up early. If you’ve got a bit more scratch to spend, you could also bid on work in the silent auction of pieces made by friends of CVA. All proceeds from both the silent auction and sale go to support the college’s scholarship programs.
Color Wheel Gallery’s Holiday Bazaar
Color Wheel Gallery, Minneapolis
Saturday (6 – 10 pm) & Sunday (noon – 6 pm), December 3 – 4
Gallery proprietor and artist Tammy Ortegon is hosting a local art and craft fair at her shop, including paintings, prints, collages, photography, and mixed media work by a bunch of Minnesota artists, but also crafty stuff by local folks, like handmade jewelry, knitted winter things, baby gear, and the like.
Rochester Art Center’s Gallery Shop Holiday Sale & Trunk Show
Rochester Art Center, Rochester
Sunday, December 4, noon – 5 pm (admission is free)
For its 6th annual gallery shop and trunk sale, the RAC is offering art and craft by a variety of regional artists, including glass & beaded jewelry, handmade housewares and kitchen vessels, fiber arts, Amaglyphe art packs and books, and deals on the usual cool stuff on sale in the gift shop.
The Grand Meander
December 3, 8:30 am through 5 pm
Along Grand Avenue in St. Paul
Start the day with breakfast with Santa and a visit with the big man’s reindeer; the kids will be thrilled by the fire truck and trolley rides, hayrides, caroling, and a community Christmas tree-lighting later in the day. While you’re in the neighborhood, stop by Grand Hand Gallery – particularly if you’re in the market for higher-end, locally made art and craft. Their Handcrafted Holidays selection is carefully curated and just lovely.
>>Next up: The best mom & pop retailers, pop-up stores, and online outfits for MN-made art & crafts this season >>