Wyoming Arts Council

For holidays, seek out local artists & crafters

The Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) gives “direct financial and educational assistance to craft artists, including emergency relief assistance, business development support, and resources and referrals on topics such as health, safety, and insurance. CERF also advocates, engages in research, and backs policy that supports craft artists’ careers.” In the past year, it’s provided aid to craft artists on the Gulf Coast affected by Hurricanes Ike and Gustav.

During the holidays, CERF urges people to buy gifts from American craft artists. Here’s some background:

There is nothing quite like receiving a one-of-a-kind gift made by an artist in a studio. It says to the recipient that you care deeply about them. Maybe you have a neighbor who is a jeweler or a cousin who makes turned wooden sculptures, now is the time to visit their studio or go to a gallery and find something that you will never find elsewhere.

Did you know that when you shop locally, your money has three times the impact on your community as dollars spent at chain stores? Shop at one of the over sixty craft-related businesses currently participating in A Season for CERF. Click here for a full listing of our participating businesses.

While none of these CERF participants are in Wyoming, there are scores of fine craft artists in the state. This blog features a sampler of Wyoming visual arts web sites. See right sidebar for links. A number of holiday craft fairs and shows remain on the calendar. AVA Center in Gillette offers some great handmade holiday gifts in its shop. My wife, daughter and I wandered over to the Casper College Art Club Sale last Saturday and bought reasonably-priced cups and bowls made by CC students and faculty. Wyomingarts’ family and friends will be getting some handmade crafts this year (please keep it a secret).

The Unitarian Universalist Church in Cheyenne is holding a Holiday Gift Market this weekend. Opening reception is 4:30-6:30 on Friday, Dec. 13. It continues Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. You can also view a special exhibition of quilts and fiber arts in the church sanctuary.

Wyoming boasts a number of galleries and gift shops featuring cards, artwork, jewelry and sculpture by state and regional artisans. Margo’s Pottery at 1 N. Main in Buffalo is a great example. Also check out Potters’ Depot, 75 E. Benteen St. Hand-crafted Native American arts can be found on the reservation at the St. Stephens Indian Mission & Heritage Center gift shop and the Rupert Weeks Traditional Center in Fort Washakie. Indian Territory in Lander also offers a great selection of Native arts and crafts. The Wyoming State Museum, just a block away from the Arts Council, offers a great selection of items made by Wyoming and regional artists. Also a great book selection, many fashioned by the fevered imaginations of writers in Wyoming.

The 2008 Wyoming Cultural Guide offers lots of options for local arts shopping. You can find the online version at http://www.wyomingtourism.org/cms/d/culture_heritage.php.

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