If you are looking for unusual gifts this holiday season, Wichita galleries, local boutiques and pop-ups offer plenty of opportunities to purchase a unique piece of art.
Local gallery owners say that if you buy from a local artist, the impact of the gift goes beyond the recipient.
âDonating artwork is a great way to support your local arts economy,â said Chloe Lang, Program Director at Mark Arts. âIt’s also exciting to give a gift that will support someone who is one of your neighbors. “
If you want to avoid the mass-produced gifts this year but don’t know where to start, here’s a guide to some of the places where you can find quirky and unique gifts:
The gallery scene
The most traditional place to buy art is a gallery, the main purpose of which is to exhibit and sell art. Although some are only open occasionally or by appointment, the galleries mentioned here all have regular opening hours.[, which you can find on their websites or Google Business listings. Many galleries also extend their hours for a First Friday or Final Friday reception.
Mark Arts at 1307 N. Rock Road is a community art center with several different gallery spaces.
âThere are works of art that start at just $30, so itâs a very accessibly priced place to support artists and champion artists within our community,â said Lang, the program director.
Mark Arts is now showing âSix by Six,â a series of works by their instructors, students, and community artists that are all six inches square and priced from $30 to $100.
One of Wichitaâs newest galleries is Mulberry Gallery, located on the second floor of the Revolutsia shipping container mall at 2721 E. Central. There, the focus is on work by Black artists and other artists of color. Founder Anthony Joiner says itâs important to know the person youâre buying for well â if you think about the kinds of things they enjoy and their personality, you might just find the perfect fit.
Both Joiner and Lang agree that one of the keys to art buying, whether for yourself or for someone else, is to look at a lot of art then let your instincts take over.
âLet your intuition lead when youâre looking for a gift, and youâll find the perfect thing for someone you love,â Lang said.
Reuben Saunders Gallery, 3215 E. Douglas, represents more than 60 local and regional artists working in a variety of styles.
Because the price points can be higher, co-owner Trish VanOsdel recommends gift certificates, which can be purchased in any denomination. The gallery also stocks artist-made jewelry and design-focused home goods.
Other local galleries to check out include Gallery 12, a longstanding artist cooperative located at 412 E. Douglas Ave, and CityArts at 334 N. Mead in Old Town Square. The latter is a publicly funded community art center that includes galleries and a gift shop that carries a wide range of items, from jewelry to hand-blown glass ornaments. If youâre interested in traveling farther afield, the Birger Sandzen Gallery in Lindsborg holds an annual holiday gift show, which is open now and continues through Jan. 2.
Shoppers who havenât spent much time in galleries should know that while they look different from a traditional retail store, many of the same rules apply. People can ask questions or browse on their own, and a gallery employee will be happy to take payment by cash or credit card. One important difference: If you fall in love with a piece that is part of an exhibition, you may need to wait until itâs over before you can take your purchase home.
Art in the aisles
Next to their inventory of gifts and stationery, Vortex Souvenir, 607 W. Douglas, offers over 75 different prints. These are usually made at least in part by hand, but are sold in multiples, which means they are much more affordable than a single piece. Co-owners Hannah Scott and Kevin Wildt are price-conscious: Most of their prints are between $ 20 and $ 35, although the smaller offers are only $ 8. They stick to prints that fit into a standard frame and strive to store a wide variety of styles, including prints by local artists Wade Hampton, Bernardo Trevizo Jr. and Scott herself.
Some of their most popular gift prints feature animals or popular hobbies such as music or motorcycles. Buyers can also browse their art inventory online.
Other local stores that have art in their inventory include home goods and gift store The Workroom, 150 N. Cleveland, and The Hereafter, a vintage and consignment clothing store at 120 N Hillside.
Pop-ups and direct purchase
Arts and crafts markets can be great places to find handmade gifts. Think about Etsy, but you can browse the products in person. The Haute Handmade Pop-Up Market is one of Wichita’s longest-running pop-up programs, and it offers an extra chance for holiday shopping at its âChristkindlmarktâ event from 5pm to 9pm from December 16-18. at Revolutsia.
Many local artists also organize their own holiday pop-ups. Wade Hampton has had a successful Vacation Sale for many years. This is the fourth year he has partnered with Local Roasters, a coffee shop at 2828 E. Douglas. (Prior to that, he was hosting the sale at his home.) His $ 125 drawings are already sold out, but a handful of his paintings are still for sale on the Local Roasters website.
For a few months before its sale, Hampton made one drawing a day. Likewise, local artist Armando Minjarez begins to prepare for the holiday sales in August. He won’t be selling in person this holiday season, but his work is available both at Vortex and Local Roasters and on his company website, Del Norte Studio.
Another source of handmade ceramics is Wichita Pottery, 300 N. Meridian Ave. Work from instructors and members is available during their vacation sale, which runs through December 18.
Finally, a local artist recently opened a permanent studio with regular shopping hours: Delilah Reed sells prints, stickers and stationery from The Loud Cicada, located in Revolutsia.
If this all sounds overwhelming to you, Joiner has a tip:
âDon’t be afraid to buy late,â he says. âAny time before the gallery closes for the holidays is a good time. “