Inexpensive, unique gifts sold at holiday art fair

Art glass by Bob Gent, Lawrence, will be among items for sale at the Holiday Art Fair on Saturday.

Susan Buchanan is hoping the sound of horses hooves and bells will get people in the mood to do some holiday shopping.

Buchanan, president of the Lawrence Art Guild, is helping organize this year’s Holiday Art Fair, which falls Saturday — the same day as the Downtown Lawrence Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade..

“The sounds of the parade itself — the horses’ hooves, the harness with bells — it all reminds people that the holidays are here,” she says. “We get a lot of people that come through after the parade. It gets them in the spirit to buy things for their loved ones.”

The annual Holiday Art Fair will feature the works of more than 45 area artists and will include a mixture of artwork, including paintings, pottery, jewelry, photography and tapestries.

Buchanan will be showing her artwork at the fair for the fifth time. Buchanan primarily works with polymer clay and will have jewelry, boxes, figures and tiny bowls called wishbowls available for purchase.

The art fair will also include live holiday music from a violinist to get people even more excited about the holidays, says Linda Baranski, director of 1109 Gallery.

“I just love the atmosphere,” Baranski says. “The artists are always really excited to do the fair. They put their best foot forward. All the items for sale are really neat items. They are really unique, one-of-a-kind gifts.”

Depending on the year, Baranski says it’s not uncommon for approximately 2,000 people to visit the fair. She says she especially looks forward to greeting guests as they view the art pieces.

“I enjoy seeing everyone and talking to people about artwork,” she says. “It’s a really fun, lively atmosphere.”

Buchanan says the economy has hurt art sales for the past few years, but she hopes the inexpensively priced items will generate interest and support for local artists. Even if people don’t enjoy traditional artwork, Baranski thinks the variety of pieces at the fair will appeal to everyone, even people just looking to cross off names from their holiday gift list.

The event serves as an annual fundraiser for the Lawrence Art Guild. Proceeds help support the guild’s activities as well as its new gallery, 1109 Gallery, located at 1109 Mass. Baranski says approximately 300 artists have displayed their work at the gallery since May.

“The guild is all about helping local artists,” Buchanan says. “We band together to help one another.”

Buchanan also feels fortunate to be a member of a community so receptive to the arts.

“The diversity of the population and of course having the university community here makes a lot of arts events possible,” she says. “People value all kinds of arts in Lawrence. That’s what’s makes Lawrence so great.”