Often art is thought of as an expensive purchase, a budget buster, a luxury item that is inaccessible to regular folk.  Sure, you can spend thousands, even hundreds of thousands (really there is no limit) on art and that clearly is inaccessible to 99% of us.  But that’s not what I’m talking about, and surely, not what you’re planning to purchase for a holiday gift.

Even if you’re not an art aficionado, you can easily give fantastic, one-of-a kind treasures that don’t cost a fortune.  Since art comes in every flavor – decadent, simple, explosive, bitter, sophisticated – it’s easy to find something for everyone on your list.

Are you gifting someone with practical sensibilities?  Functional pottery (think beautifully glazed bowls and mugs) or wearable art like hand-felted capelets may be the thing.  A writer, doodler, or an obsessive organizer?  A hand-bound journal could be exactly what you’re looking for (you just didn’t know it).  Cat lady, horse lover, or a dog person?   Professional  photographs of furry creatures are just purrrrrfect!  Jewelry is a great option for almost everyone – no explanation needed here.

Whether you are shopping for functional art pieces, like hand-woven scarves or shrugs, dysfunctional pieces that just make you smile, or fine art pieces, you can find them created locally and within your budget.  Purchasing gifts from local artists and artisans through local art associations, artist cooperatives, locally owned galleries, or a holiday market not only keeps you out of the big box stores and your money close to home, but also supports the arts in our community.  In addition to providing a venue for local artists, art associations use proceeds from art sales to fund and expand their Community Education programs, art classes for children, and art shows.

If you can’t get out to do your shopping or you want the convenience of making online purchases, you can use the nifty feature on Etsy “the world’s online handmade marketplace”, to find Salem Etsians that will ship right to your door.

If you’re a last-minute shopper, I’ve compiled a list of local places to make your holiday shopping incredibly easy.  Once you begin your art perusing you may find it hard to make choices, but no worries, most offer gift certificates.  So, no excuses – go get your art on!