.Artful Shopping: Find Local Gifts This Season

North Bay artists and crafters have endured a challenging year since Covid-19 shut down the majority of art exhibitions, studio tours and other opportunities for local makers to showcase their products.

As the holidays approach, it’s more important than ever to consider shopping local and supporting the arts community at these upcoming holiday events.

In Marin County, holiday shoppers will find several makers and crafters popping up this season at the Mill Valley Lumber Yard. The one-acre shopping space welcomes its visitors to safely peruse the artisan retailers and enjoy takeout and outdoor dining at Flour Craft Bakery or Watershed Restaurant. Get updates at Millvalleylumberyard.com.

Also in Marin County, Spirited Marin Holiday Marketplace returns to the Marin Country Mart in Larkspur for outdoor shopping on Sundays, Dec. 13 and 20, from 11am to 3pm. The socially distant outings will feature several small Marin businesses that do not otherwise have storefronts to sell their wares at, and the marketplace also raises funds for several Marin nonprofits. Find details at Spiritedmarin.org.

Additionally, Sausalito’s 14th annual Gingerbread House Competition & Tour is now happening in local shops, art studios and other spots in town. This year’s tour is different in that, while in-person viewing is still available, Covid-19 safety precautions moved the competition voting online. Gingerbread house aficionados can download the 2020 map and voting ballot at Sausalito.org.

In Santa Rosa, a community of creative folks occupies a former military barrack-turned art building at 33Arts, which is now the home of some 30-plus artists who work in every kind of medium. This weekend, the artists move their work outdoors for the “Art, Crafts & Holiday Gifts Sale: Outside at 33Arts” on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 11am to 3pm.

The socially-distant sale features art from the likes of Kristen Throop, who displays and sells her watercolor “Christmas Squirrel” pieces featuring her made-up mischievous mascot on greeting cards, towels and other small works. Additional artists appearing outside 33Arts include sculptural painter Nell Hergenrather, quilt artist Sabel Rose Regalia, assemblage and jewelry artist Jessica Rasmussen and several others. Facebook.com/BarracksBuilding33.

Elsewhere in Sonoma County, Fulton Crossing—which houses artists in working studios and displays art in its large gallery space—hosts “Bijoux: A Holiday Open Studio Sale” Fridays to Sundays, 11am to 4pm, through Dec. 20. The show offers plenty of room for social distancing, and the sale features Barbara Baer’s spirited novels, Jeremy Joan Hewes’ art cards, Ingrid Weissgerber’s handmade paper jewelry and more. Fultoncrossing.com.

The best way to find local gifts and goodies in Napa Valley is via the Holidays in Yountville virtual and in-person offerings, taking place through Jan. 1. Due to the pandemic, this year features online offerings such as the Yountville Holiday Gift Guide, which lists 25 gift packages featuring Napa Valley wine, food, accessories and experiences. There is also the Yountville Community CookBook, featuring 40 pages of recipes from the town’s wineries, restaurants and residents. Yountville.com.

All in-person and outdoors events require face coverings and social distancing. Inclement weather or further stay-at-home orders may cancel the events. Check websites for updates.

Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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