The art of craft can include everything from affordable art to locally-designed clothing to handmade everything and, in Colorado, to limited-edition microbrewed beers. All make great gifts -- or little presents to ourselves -- and in keeping, there's a show or market in the metro area with just the right stuff for everyone on your list as the holiday shopping season shifts into high gear. Get organized! Our handy list of places to shop follows.
Micro Market makes its debut this year with an all-Colorado theme supporting micro-makers of every variety. Expect a tasting frenzy featuring small-batch foods, coffee and craft beers, along with a unique selection of locally sourced gift items, clothing and home decor; there will even be a library section where you can pick up craft beer and food-centric titles. After a once-through, you'll end up in the gratis Wrapping Paper Lounge; though the wrapping service is free, tips will benefit the hosting nonprofits Endless Promotions and the Colorado Brewers Guild. Guests must be 21 or over.
Small Works Exhibition 40 West Gallery December 3 through 20 Opening reception: 5:30 to 7 p.m. December 3
Lakewood art hub 40 West will showcase artists working in the western 'burb with a diverse small works show. The opening reception is also a community potluck -- bring a dessert or appetizer with you, and shop and enjoy the show.
Forty crafty artists will fill the tables at this time-honored show from the Denver Potters Association, which strays from ceramic art to include jewelry, glass and wood works, as well. There's a few reasona why shows like this one have been around for so long: Variety, quality and affordable prices. Knock yourself out.
Five handpicked artists collaborated with Banshee Press for this letterpress print poster show featuring a variety limited editions of 25 prints each by Michael Scarano, Strangedirt, John Fellows, Rebecca Green and Kevin Hennessy. Here today, gone tomorrow: Once these beautiful works are gone, they won't be back, and the pricing -- $40 to $175 apiece -- is right. You'll also get a lesson in what letterpress is all about, as Banshee's presses will be inked up and running for demos.
This manly market has grown exponentially since it debuted in 2011, so much so that it's expanded to two shows this year -- one in Denver and one in Boulder. The concept -- a market for handmade gifts crafted exclusively by men, though not necessarily just for men -- is made even sweeter by a full bar with cheap drinks on the premises to keep everyone happy. More than forty guys (and some female partners) will be hawking everything from pickles to art prints, and the lucky first fifty folks in the door will leave with a free "man sack" of free goodies. And on the side, the artisans will compete in a Vendor Whisker War to win facial-hair cachet for the best mustache, beard, 'burns and combination thereof; pay up a donation for the opportunity to vote on your favorites and benefit VSA Colorado's Access Gallery.
DAVA Holiday Art Bazaar Downtown Aurora Visual Arts December 5 through January 9 Opening reception: 4 to 7:30 p.m. December 5 Free
There's something warm and sweet about the work DAVA does year-round by mentoring urban youth though hands-on arts and life-skills programs (for which DAVA just nabbed a $10,000 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, straight from the hands of First Lady Michelle Obama, last month in Washington, D.C.) But the nonprofit's holiday bazaar, which pairs exuberant student art with work by professional guest artists, really seals that deal. You'll find everything from kid-made treasures to ambrotypes and cyanotypes by Ameet Patel reflecting his cultural heritage, original collage works by Elizabeth Truglio highlighting Colorado's cultural landscapes and original pendants by Nicole Banowetz. And more!
Celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe, Christmas Mercado and Fair Trade Market Chicano Humanities and Arts Council December 5 through 23 Opening reception: 6 to 10 p.m. December 5
Denver's Chicano arts stronghold CHAC does La Navidad right, with riot of folk art, jewelry, photography, pottery, paintings and even a separate fair-trade market taking over the galleries for holiday shopping. But at the center of it all is the annual Virgen de Guadalupe showcase, featuring stunning religious imagery in all sizes and mediums.
Next door to CHAC, the Kanon Collective will offer its own take on the holiday exhibit with the annual Bibelot Show, a juried small-art extravanganza (full disclosure: yours truly was the juror). Bibelot is a Victorian term for a bauble or tchotchke, and that's the kind of show you'll see: one full of whimsical sculptures, tiny groupings of photographs, collages, paintings, baskets and more. Bibelot opens with a First Friday reception; meet the artists at a second reception on December 19.
Meet the designers -- all local and creating couture clothing, hats and accessories right here in the metro area -- and pick up something beautiful for yourself or someone you love at Denver's fashion central: The Fashion Design Center in RiNo. Expect an event that's a little bit ritzy and little bit laid-back, where people might be dressed to the nines, but no one will feel left out. Come as you are -- or as you'd like to be.
Fancy Tiger Holiday Pop-Up Fancy Tiger Crafts 5 to 7 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 5 through 20 Free
The craft side of Fancy Tiger is celebrating the season with a series of craft-centric trunk shows touting favorite yarn and fiber lines, project bags and other handmade gifts for people who like to make things by hand. And while you're there, you can finish up a lot of shopping for your craftiest friends -- Fancy Tiger's staff has even devised an online gift guide to set you in the right direction.
Holiday Miniatures Show Abend Gallery Fine Arts December 5 through 31 Opening reception: 6 to 9 p.m. December 5
Abend's miniatures show has been a standard for the local affordable representational art community since the East Colfax Avenue gallery opened, nearly twenty-five years ago. More than 500 works by 100 artists, none larger than ten by ten inches square, will fill the gallery walls; drop by from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays, through December 20, and you'll get live artist demonstrations, too. If you're a serious shopper, brush up before you go at the online show preview.
Winter Market & Holiday Fair Smedley Elementary School 4250 Shoshone Street 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. December 6
This popular annual neighborhood market in its fifth year is exceedingly family-friendly, with local craft vendors, professional photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, craft stations and food-truck fare by Mobile Meltz. Also, find sweet deals at a concurrent pre-owned toy and book sale to benefit Valdez Elementary School, all under the same roof at Smedley, where Valdez students are learning temporarily while their building undergoes renovations.
If an old-fashioned Christmas in the city with a rosy-cheeked Father Christmas and festive wagon rides is your bag, you'll find it on Old South Pearl's Winterfest. Enjoy merchant open houses and live music, hot chocolate and cider as you stroll down the street; there'll also be a Christmas tree lot with greenery and garlands for your home, as well as a winter reprise of Pearl Street's farmers' market, with a focus on holiday fare.
More farmers' market fare will return to Boulder County for the holidays at the eighth annual Boulder County Farmers' Markets Winter Market, which also includes a contingent of fifty gift vendors selling jewelry, candles, artwork and even live succulents for your windowsill. Live music, product demos and activities for kids keep things lively, and gift-wrapping services will be available.
In the mountains, Georgetown channels the Victorian vibe indoors and out at its annual two-weekend European market kicks off with old Saint Nick, Santa Lucia processions, carolers, wagon rides, roasted chestnuts and family entertainment, all under a blanket of high-county snow. While you're there, stroll Georgetown's shops or take advantage of a special round of tours at the town's Hamill House and Hotel de Paris museums, both of which will be decorated for the season.
The Denver Performing Arts Complex gallery at Backstage Coffee will host a reception that coincides with downtown Denver's Parade of Lights. Drop in on Friday night to warm up with art before or after the parade; the current show, Resonating, Re-purposed, Reverie, includes work by Elizabeth Kurtak, Diana Gomez Adducci and Greg Neel, as well as offerings from fifteen other DPAC veteran artists. Enjoy carolers, cocoa and ornament decorating on the side.
Shop for packaged soups and other items prepared by the Women's Bean Project, along with a variety of gift and craft items, at this festive open house with noshing, music and more. Santa will be in the house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Boulder's Firefly is a powerhouse of a craft market, with nearly 100 artisans hawking everything handmade, so rejoice: This year, Firefly is coming to Denver, too, for the first time. You'll find it a tight ship that makes certain guests are well-looked-after, with a Kids Creation Station to keep the little ones busy, a gift-wrap station, food trucks for eats and even adult beverages for the shop-weary.
In its first year, the Denver Flea is a runaway success, and the momentum is certain to continue building with its inaugural holiday market, which mixes shopping and beer-drinking in a festive atmosphere. Featured flea-market fare includes vintage goods and local handcrafts from more than seventy vendors and craft-beer tasting stations, as well as hands-on side diversions, gift-wrapping and other niceties. Admission is free, and if you register online in advance denverflea.com, you'll get a free adult beverage or hot cup of locally roasted Coda Coffee at the door.
ACAD Holiday Art Show ACAD Gallery 1600 Dallas Street, Aurora 5 to 9 p.m. December 6
The Aurora Cultural Arts District showcases artists living and working in the suburb to the east while also showing off its new downtown headquarters and gallery space. Within a few blocks, the Collection will also be showcasing local artists.
Denver's youngest entrepreneurs strut their products each year under the auspices of the Young Americans Center for Financial Education at this one-day market. Support your local youth small-business owners and load up on gifts and stocking stuffers galore.
Visit the Source in RiNo every Saturday to find a changing selection of local vendors and makers selling handmades, vintage clothing, pies, bow ties, furniture and other Colorado-made items situated inside the bustling marketplace. Plan for lunch at one of the Source's eateries and make a day of it, all under one roof.
Brandi Shigley's Fashion Denver Merry Market returns to the beautiful old Grant-Humphreys Mansion, where more than 25 designers and fashion vendors will fill every nook and cranny with fresh looks and one-of-a-kind gifts. Impromptu fashion shows are the highlight of every Fashion Denver market, and there will be three of of them throughout the day on the mansion's grand staircase, focusing on wares and wears from show vendors.
For one afternoon, Beauty Bar will turn itself into an intimate 21-and-over gift market featuring jewelry and more from local artisans and flowing martinis to help bring the holiday sparkle. A portion of proceeds will benefit We Care.
Find small art with big cachet at Space's annual twelve-by-twelve-inch format gallery-artist showcase. More than thirty artists will be represented under the gallery's handsome roof.
Stay tuned to Show and Tell for a second round of December holiday markets, coming soon. For more shopping opportunities visit Westword's Shopping listings online.
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