For many students, the return from Thanksgiving break marks the beginning of the hunt to find unique and affordable gifts for friends and family.
Several State College groups have taken advantage of this holiday shopping season, organizing arts fairs designed with a student’s limited budget in mind.
“We try to make it kid-friendly,” said Artistic Horizon coordinator Michele Rivera regarding the upcoming art sale, which will include several $1 items.
The sale will feature many different items, including handmade beads and cards. There will also be African fair trade wares, giving students the opportunity to support international artisans.
The sale, which runs today and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will benefit artists with disabilities. Artistic Horizon provides many classes for disabled artists, said Rivera, and proceeds from the sale will go toward scholarships for these adult learners. The fair will be held at 824 Pike St. in Lemont.
For shoppers looking for something closer to home, the Palmer Art Museum will be hosting an art and ornament sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
“There’s a little bit for everyone and in all different price ranges,” said Jennifer Feehan, coordinator of membership for the museum.
She noted that a variety of mediums will be represented at the sale, including glass, recycled metal and fiber, in addition to ornaments.
This year, the museum commissioned Dotty Ford, a retired elementary school art teacher and current museum docent, to create one hundred signature ornaments. Ford’s featured handmade flying pig ornament will retail for $30.
Feehan said that the average item will cost around $15. The holiday art and ornament sale is the museum’s second largest fundraiser of the year. Planned by the membership organization, proceeds will benefit the museum’s education programs.
The 38th Annual Winter Craft Fair, held at Mt. Nittany Middle School,also benefits a local cause, raising money for Happy Valley Animals in Need.
Shoppers who bring a pet care item to donate will get $1 off the $3 admission ticket, said Director Heidi Urbanski. Not only will local animals benefit from the sale, but Urbanski said she believes the fair is an opportunity for students to support local artists.
“It’s important to shop local and handmade for the holidays,” said Urbanski, noting that money spent in State College will stay in State College.
Well-known local artisans, some of whom participate in The Central Pennsylvania Festival for the Arts, will be selling pieces ranging from jewelry to fiber to pewter, with many items in the price range of $10 to $15.
The craft fair will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Urbanski said she hopes the sale’s unique variety of local artwork will attract student shoppers looking for interesting gift ideas.
“I like to look around,” Camila Chicarelli said of holiday art sales. “I’m really into hand-crafted jewelry.”
Chicarelli (junior-accounting and finance) said she believes growing up in a small town with many local artisans helped her gain an appreciation for artwork.
Alexandra Cross said as a freshman, it’s great to have art sales within walking distance of campus.
Cross (freshman-actuarial science) said she would definitely be interested in local holiday markets and appreciates that these sales often include items that are less expensive than gifts purchased from major retailers.
Students interested in browsing local holiday sales may also be interested in the Saturday craft fair held at Mt. Nittany United Methodist Church, 1500 E. Branch Road, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or the alternative Christmas fair, hosted by the University Baptist and Brethren Church, 411 S. Burrowes Street, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Caroline Briselli can be reached at (814) 865-1828.