Minnetonka Center for the Arts show open through Dec. 23
by Jason Jenkins
Sun Sailor Newspapers
Minnetonka Center for the Arts is inviting holiday shoppers and art collectors alike to its annual Arts of the Holidays Show and Sale. Each year, the Lake Minnetonka-based nonprofit arts organization decks the walls, and everything in between, of its Laura H. Miles Gallery with work from more than 100 artists, the majority of whom are local to the Lake Minnetonka and Twin Cities area.
“It get’s a little bit bigger and better every year,” said Roxanne Heaton, executive director for the Minnetonka Center for the Arts.
Arts of the Holidays offers a juried collection of unique handmade art and fine craft items that artists have priced for gift giving. The show’s selection includes pottery, glass, textiles, wood, photography, painting, sculptures, jewelry and more.
This year, the holiday show runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through
Saturday, until its closing day, Wednesday, Dec. 23.
While there are plenty of ornaments to choose from, Heaton said the sale offers many items that aren’t holiday specific. The wide selection has helped make the show the largest retail event for the arts center.
It’s also one of its most well attended annual exhibits. Hundreds of guests flocked to the show’s grand opening Nov. 12. The night before, a ticketed preview party offered shoppers an early look at the extensive artwork selection.
“A lot of people really like the idea of supporting local artists through their purchases,” Heaton said. “As well as supporting a nonprofit and being able to give a one-of-a-kind handmade item to someone on their gift lists.”
Robert Bowman, curator for the Arts of the Holidays, began helping set up the show two decades ago. When he became the center’s exhibits director several years ago, he said he shifted the focus of the exhibit from fine arts toward fine crafts like textiles, pottery, glass and jewelry.
“Because I’m putting the show together, I can curate for price point as well as for quality, whereas at another venue, they might not be able to do that,” Bowman said.
The holiday exhibit is also a way for teachers and students of the arts center to show off their latest work. Ria Neilson, a fourth-year fused glass teacher, has been a part of the holiday show for the past five years. For this year’s exhibit, Neilson crafted a colorful assortment of fused-glass ornaments, dishes and an end table that features a double-sided glass top.
Neilson said the annual event offers a unique shopping experience for everyone who walks through the gallery doors. It’s a also a special show that benefits everyone involved, she added, because it brings a lot of attention to not only the arts center, but the to the talents of local artists.
“It’s a win-win,” Neilson said.