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Loca-voyeur: Your Guide to Buying Art for the Holidays

The Market Street Art Center Holiday Art Trail begins this weekend in Lockport. Image by Joseph Buczkowski.

Area artists and artisans sell work at special venues and exhibits this holiday season

The 1980s mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle” has its modern counterpart in the recent slew of admonishments to “buy local!” The national buy local movement, wherein independent businesses band together to encourage local shoppers to spend their consumer dollars supporting their own community, isn’t new, but it may be reaching its height of popularity in Buffalo this season. This is thanks in part to the efforts of Buffalo First (, an organization modeled on those in other cities that have successfully directed retail dollars away from national chains and toward hometown-based purveyors. The concept is simple, but detailing it toward an efficient Christmas shopping game plan may not be. After all, the mall is a one-stop deal, whereas the small, “mom-and-pop” shops that a buy local shopping goal includes are scattered throughout the area, keep varying business hours, and generally carry less generic (read more unique, more thoughtful) gift options.

If the shops have a hard time competing with malls and chains, it is even harder for local artists to attract attention during the holiday advertising blitz. Most artists have no year round outlet to market their work, so in order to get exposure during the season many artists and craftspeople take part in special holiday shows and sales, and galleries have seasonal exhibits featuring local art.

While it can be difficult to choose something as personal and permanent as artwork, when you do hit the mark it is one of the most appreciated presents one can give—especially when the piece comes from someone in your own community. There is such a variety available that if you are choosing local artwork as a gift option you should be able to find something for recipients ranging from your boss to your great-aunt. Making a gift out of artwork for your seven-year-old nephew might be more of a challenge, but take a look anyway: Everyone needs something to hang on the wall, even scrappy little boys, and there are handcrafted toys out there that beat Hot Wheelz any day.

Art for AIDS Orphans Auction Sale

Roycroft Inn, 40 S. Grove St., East Aurora (652-5552 / Friday, November 20, 6-10pm. Work by 27 artists and craftspeople from the WNY area. Silent auction, music by Bob Sowyrda, cash bar, hors d’ouevres. Proceeds benefit the children of Crossroads Springs Institute, a school for AIDS orphans in Kenya (

The Gift Bearers, by Edward G. Bisone. Included in the 15th annual Artful Gifts: The Fine Art of Giving exhibition at WNY Artists Group's Art Dialogue Gallery.

15th Annual Artful Gifts: The Fine Art of Giving

WNY Artists Group at Art Dialogue Gallery, One Linwood Ave. (885-2251 / Friday, November 20, 7:30-9pm. Open house and holiday celebration for an exhibition of hundreds of artwork by area artists. Sale will be open through December 30.

Buffalo Arts Studio Annual Artists Exhibit & Sale '09

Tri-Main Center, 2495 Main St. (833-4450 / Affordable works from over 30 artists-in-residence at Buffalo Arts Studio. Opening reception this Saturday, November 21, 7-10pm. Exhibit and sale wil continue through January 2.

Market Street Art Center Holiday Art Trail

247 Market St., Lockport (478-0239 / Saturday, November 21 & Sunday November 22, 10am-5pm. Works by 26 local artists specially priced for holiday gift giving. Sale runs through January 3.

Route 78 to the Lake Holiday Art Trail

Shoppe on Main, 2714 Main St., Newfane (778-5273 / Saturday November 21 & Sunday November 22. Over a dozen local artists, art shops, and galleries participate in a weekend of holiday shopping. Stop at Shoppe on Main to pick up the Holiday Art Trail Map.

Artists & Artisans

ZGM Fine Arts, 1045 Elmwood Ave. (510-0251 / November 27-December 31. Holiday sale of original paintings, photography, printmaking, and handcrafted items. Fridays 10am-9pm; Saturdays 10am-5pm; Sundays 12-4pm. Different artists and artisans may be featured each weekend.

Allentown First Fridays Gallery Walk

Allentown. (881-1024 / Friday, December 4, 5-10pm. Participating galleries in the Allentown/Elmwood area open for their holiday exhibitions. Allen Street Hardware, Betty’s Restaurant, Buffalo Big Print, College Street Gallery, COMAND Solutions, Café 59, El Buen Amigo, El Museo, Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, Indigo Art, Kepa3 Gallery, MERGE Restaurant, Quaker Bonnet Eatery, SP@CE 224, Starlight Studio, Studio Hart, and Sugar City.

December Art Market

464 GALLERY, 464 Amherst St. (983-2212 / December 1-31. Art and gifts from over 60 artists and artisans. Paintings, prints, photography, literature, music, jewelry, and more, There will be a Holiday Open Galleries Tour Happy Hour on December 4, 6-10pm, and a Green Christmas Happy Hour on December 18, 6-10pm, featuring repurposed furniture, vinyl recreations, handcrafted housewares, and more. By Nickel City Girls Design Duo.

Holiday Open Studios & Galleries

Artists in Buffalo, 190 Bryant St. (881-2199 / Friday, December 4 from 5-9pm; Saturday & Sunday December 5-6, 11am-5pm. Eighth annual weekend sale featuring more than 100 studios and galleries opening their doors to the public. Potters, jewelers, textile/fabric artists, painters, printmakers, sculptors, photographers, jewelers, glass and metal workers, and other artists and craftspeople. Visit artists in their home studios as well as public galleries from the Burchfield-Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College to the Hauptman-Woodward Institute in the Medical Corridor at Main and High.

Gifts of Art for the Holidays

Artsphere Studio & Gallery, 477 Amherst St. (874-2863) Friday, December 4, 6:30-9pm; Saturday & Sunday December 5-6 from 11am-6pm. Sale and studio event featuring small works by over 30 artists. Show will be up until December 31. Extended holiday hours apply.

Nomad Art & Literary Magazine Release Party

Starlight Studio & Gallery, 340 Delaware Ave. (842-1525 / Friday, December 11, 7pm. “Give Local” event and NOMAD Magazine release party. Donate $20 to Buffalo City Mission and select a piece of original ocal artwork to keep or give as a holiday gift.

College Street Gallery Holiday Art Sale

244 Allen St. (856-2839 / Friday, December 18, 5-9pm and Saturday, December 19, 2-8pm. Sale of work by artists featured in the College Street Gallery December Co-op.

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