Lawrence Arts Center gears up for holiday art fair

Holiday Art Fair

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St.

About 50 artists will pack into the Lawrence Arts Center Saturday, cramming the lobby and hallways with booths displaying their work. Patrons go from artist to artist looking at and buying paintings (acrylic and oil), jewelry, ceramics and a variety of other artwork.

Lawrence Art Guild president Amanda Monaghan said the Guild’s annual Holiday Art Fair is the first moment of the season when she gets that indescribable “Christmasy” feeling.

“It’s the first day you’re downtown shopping for Christmas, you come in, and there’s live music and people coming and going,” Monaghan said. “It really gives you that feeling that Christmas is coming.”

The Holiday Art Fair will be Saturday, the same day as the Lawrence Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade, which begins downtown at 11 a.m.

“A lot of people come in and get warm after the parade,” Monaghan said.

Melinda Hutton, an artist from Newton, Kan., will be one of the area artists at the fair this season. It has been a staple on her schedule for five years, and is just one of 14 different art fairs she attends from September through December.

Hutton has been making recycled jewelry out of a myriad of unusual items (antique buttons, cuff links, old game pieces, doll eyes and costume jewelry, to name but a few) for the past 20 years. She plans to bring a variety of jewelry to the fair, from funky to traditional.

Over the past few years, Hutton has built up a customer base of more than 600 in the Lawrence area. Each year, she sends every one of them a postcard as a reminder of the Holiday Art Fair.

“My Lawrence patrons really seem to have a feel for art,” Hutton said. “I definitely like that vibe you get from the Lawrence crowd.”

But the customers aren’t the only thing keeping Hutton coming back. In conjunction with the Holiday Art Fair, the Lawrence Arts Center Preschool throws its annual cookie sale, in which cookies are sold by the pound.

“I don’t cook much, and I’m not very good at it,” Hutton said. “This fair provides all of my holiday treats for my family each year. I go through the cookie walk and it looks like I’ve been baking like my mom used to.”