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Maureen J Andrade
I'm a writer and artist from the Pacific Northwest. Progressive and practical, I believe politics should never be a winner-take-all game, but rather a healthy relationship between people and their leadership.
While President Obama made necessary calls to CEOs in every major industry this week, small businesses prepared for the one day a year they get recognized: Small Business Saturday- November 24th. As a member of a local arts organization, and an instructor at an nonprofit art gallery, I can tell you, local businesses provide unique merchandise and services in this Wal-Mart World.
The holiday season is one time of year Americans now give themselves permission to do a little retail therapy. The days of mall-binges have been replaced with a new mindfulness for most of us. Nevertheless, this time of year we allow ourselves some freedom to buy gifts for family and friends. Nothing says “I care” like products and services from small businesses, which are created by folks who love what they do.
At Gallery 360 in Vancouver, WA, where I teach and show art, there is a Holiday Market with gift-worthy items like tree ornaments, prints, cards, ceramics, and jewelry. In the main gallery, there is a variety of artwork by regional artists for sale. Here’s a secret most artists don’t want anyone to know: due to the recession, art sales have been slow for a few years, and most of us have back inventory. This is a great time to buy quality art at an affordable price.
Whatever community you live in, chances are the local artists have put together galleries and retail spaces in your downtown area to show and sell their work. Check them out. Arts and crafts are typically affordable, collectable, and comment-worthy. Supporting local artists helps revitalize the economy, and creates community.
A community without art is not a community. Small Business Saturday is the perfect opportunity for shoppers to support the arts and get items checked off their holiday shopping lists. Show retailers and service providers how much they’re valued by patronizing them this holiday season.
Gallery 360 is at 111 W Ninth Street, Vancouver, WA 98660
For current shows, events, and classes, check us out at: www.gallery360.org
Hours: Thursday - Sunday 12-5p