The local list: Twenty holiday shows and markets for last-minute gifts in December
It's getting down to the nitty-gritty, shopping-wise, if you're still scrambling to find the right gift for every person in your life. But as the holiday draws near, you can still feel assured that you'll find just that, and it'll all be handmade and locally sourced, to boot: Read on for our handy listing of all the best places to find artful, one-of-a-kind gifts in the remaining days before Christmas.
Artwork by Zoa Ace, courtesy of the Arvada Center.
Arvada Center Fine Art Market and ACES Show and Sale Opening reception, 5-9 p.m. December 12 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays, 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays, December 12-22 Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities Free
The Arvada Center saves its best for last with the annual Fine Art Market, now in its 27th year. The large exhibit and sale crosses the gamut of mediums and price points, offering works both functionally decorative -- such as one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry pieces -- and for art's sake. As a worthy sideshow, the ACES sale showcases ceramic works by Arvada Center students and instructors, many at affordable prices.
Gifted Holiday Handmade Market/Warm Cookies of the Revolution 5-9 p.m. December 12 McNichols Building Free
This new gift market from Evan Weissman's "civic health club" Warm Cookies of the Revolution aims to make you think about where your purchase came from and what went into its creation and includes a community discussion on these issues in addition to a curated collection of local vendors. But it's also meant to generate the holiday spirit, with a raffle, hot cocoa and, yes, warm cookies. Think before you buy.
This Season's Holiday tiny Huge art Show 6-9 p.m. December 12 Grant Street Artworks, 281 South Grant Street Free
The artist collective and shared studio space Grant Street Artworks regularly hosts monthly open studio nights that include guest artists, but in December, it's natural for the event to take on some holiday spirit. Originally intended as a miniatures show, This Season's Holiday tiny Huge art Show goes big, small and everywhere in between, instead; also featured will be jewelry, handmade holiday cards and other affordable items, as well as holiday refreshments. GSA will donate 15 percent of every purchase to charity.
Zip 37 Gallery welcomes the season with this unique annual ornament show and sale, which offers artist-made works of art to hang from the tree. This year's themes -- Space, Retro and Eclectic -- already intimate the out-of-the ordinary, so drop by to stock up on pieces that exude an alternative holiday vibe. The lion's share of profits goes directly to participating artists (Zip retains a percentage for operating costs), which makes this show a win-win.
"Art Pimp" Eric Matelski has been hosting one version or another of the 13 LUMENS show every holiday season since 2008, and it's persisted because it's so simply brilliant -- in every sense of the word. Matelski invites artists to design original artwork to wrap around those glass-pillar prayer candles and sells them for the ridiculously low price of $10. This year's version at the MacSpa includes candles in 28 different designs, mostly, but not exclusively, from local artists; though thirteen lumens refers to amount of light typically produced by a candle, Matelski says this year's show plays up the theme of "Lucky 13" -- note that the reception, which includes holiday movies, cartoons and snacks for a background, falls on Friday the Thirteenth.
Rick Griffith, another of Denver's artful entrepreneurs, opens the doors of his letterpress printing and design business Matter Studio each holiday season for the annual Matter Print Sale and Party, which, true its title, mixes seasonal celebration -- right down to the holly-jolly fish tank full of Mojitos -- with a sale of Matter's sought-after graphics.
The Denver Handmade Homemade, aka Denver HaHo, asks buyers to turn in their cash at the door in exchange for an alternative currency called "Dough." Taking its revolutionary economic model even further, the ongoing marketplace also encourages barter, so feel free to bring something you've baked, crafted or knitted yourself along in hopes of making a fair trade. And there's lots to trade for: homemade everything, from baked goods and canned foods to jewelry and handsome ceramics. A $2 to $5 donation gets you into the HaHo club.
Mona Lucero Design Studio
Designer Mona Lucero traditionally likes to greet the holiday season with an open house and impromptu runway event that blends shopping with an eyeful of her latest designs, displayed by live models in narrative vignettes. Shop for faux fur hats, bags and lamby capelets directly from her studio from noon to 5 p.m., and then dress yourself up properly and come back for the 9 p.m. fashion show. Lucero will also open the doors of her studio from noon to 5 p.m. every remaining Saturday and Sunday through Christmas.
Deb Henriksen's Equillibrium sustainable street-smart clothing, which holds a special appeal for the punk boarding community, is sought-after all year 'round, but drop by her showroom during the once-a-year holiday trunk show, and you'll find brand-new merch and a few sweet deals.
More than sixty local artists, small businesses and vendors are expected to fill the EXDO Hall in yet another opportunity to buy from the people who live your neighborhood. Admission is free and food trucks will gather outside...check it out.
The Mercury Cafe gets into the holiday shopping groove with a leisurely brunch-time market featuring jewelry, clothing, photography, facial products, ceramics, prints and other original works. Enjoy breakfast or coffee and dessert in-between gift-browsing sessions.
The members of the Good Thieves Press co-operative are banding together for a Second Saturday show filled with fun and affordable pieces, from hand-screened t-shirts and prints to homemade jelly. Good Thief Corrina Espinosa's clever framed haiku collages are sure to be a hit; get there early for the best shopping, though the resourceful Thieves should have plenty more to choose from.
New to the scene in 2013, the creatives of Colorado Makers will be tooting their horns at a new holiday market that will set up in RiNo's über-trendy Source retail-and-restaurant hall. A roster of sophisticated Colorado-based businesses will sell everything from home-baked pies and artisan chocolates to herbal potions and beautiful beetle-kill furnishings. It's another chance to shop and grab a bite or a beer, all in the urban wonderland and hipster haven that is the Source.
Brandi Shigley, the inspirational sprite behind a variety of enterprises, including Fashion Denver, spends most of her work days as an entrepreneurial consultant, handbag designer, musician and teacher of her own "Do what You Love" philosophy, but every holiday season, she still takes time out to gather a hella stable of local designers for the Fashion Denver Holiday Market, which spreads out in every nook and cranny of the regal Grant-Humphreys Mansion. But with Shigley, nothing is just about one thing: IN addition to the vendors, entertainment at the mansion will include fashion shows on the grand staircase, live music and comedy.
Continue reading for more holiday markets. Visionbox & Skylite Station Holiday Party & Gift Sale 2-6 p.m. December 15 910 Arts Free
Visionbox, a resident theater company at 910 Arts, will take over the studio enclave's Skylite Station event space for a benefit event that's both party and prime present picking, featuring items from the building's artist-residents. For vinyl nuts, KGNU Community Radio will also be in the house to sell off a trove of records. Live music and refreshments complete the experience.
Neat Market's pop-up events always draw a crowd for their spilling-over cornucopia of small-batch vegan-goods vendors. For the holiday version, expect a feast of party-ready plant-based goodies from more than twenty small culinary businesses, as well as a selection of gifty items and handmades.
Boulder County gift-shoppers will find lots to choose from at this family-friendly event, which showcases arts-and-crafts, holiday foods and treasures of all kinds from local merchants.
The Night Fair before Christmas: A Holiday Music, Art and Local Vendor Fair 6-11 p.m. December 20 Parkside Mansion $5 suggested donation at the door
As things begin to get last-minute, you need all the cheer you can get -- and a fresh supply of unique giftables, along with, well, maybe a stiff drink. The Night Fair has it all, for children and adults, from one-buck popcorn to locally brewed brandy and face painting to photo booths, as well a live music and performances. But none of it can outshine Urban Cipher's craft vendors, who will pulling out the stops for a last-minute blowout.
The artists of Powerhaüs Studio will also get into the last-minute game, with a unique mixture of artist/vendors and designers taking the studio floor. Enjoy holiday drinks while shopping and chatting with artists; the hilarious Mark Putt Explosion will also put in a surprise performance on Saturday afternoon. Here's to a little shopping in the city!
It doesn't get any more last-minute than this (unless you'd admit to taking a weary, undead crawl through the mall on Christmas Eve), so dig in: Last Chance makes shopping jolly with a huge and complete selection of gifts for all ages and tastes, along with rivers of hot chocolate and a train ride for antsy kids. Go for it.
See Westword's shopping event listings for more information on these and other holiday shopping opportunities.
To keep up with the Froyd's-eye view of arts and culture in Denver, "like" my fan page on Facebook.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Denver, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.