- Courtesy Photo
It's a strange holiday season we have ahead of us, as the desire to embrace the spirit of Christmas collides with existential dread over rising COVID-19 case numbers, and the breathless anticipation for when this nightmare of a presidency will finally end. Somewhere in the midst of all this, we'll still want to share gifts with our friends and family—but maybe we're more inclined to do so in a way that has deeper meaning.
As 2020 has rocked the arts economically, it's worth considering all the ways that you can support creative work—and the organizations creators depend on—in your holiday-gift-giving. Here are just a few examples of the ways local businesses and creators can share in a seasonal celebration of our highest aspirations.
Utah Pride Center & Clever Octopus present "Not Yo' Mama's Winter Market": Second-hand craft supply retailer Clever Octopus and Utah Pride Center team up for a virtual version of the craft market originally launched as a two-day in-person event in 2019. More than 30 local creators of cards, jewelry, clothing, visual art, block prints, personal hygiene products and more participate in this online showcase, running now through Dec. 18. It's an opportunity to support local artists and find one-of-a-kind items, and every participating artist also provided work that will be auctioned off in support of the programs of Utah Pride Center. Visit cleveroctopus.org/winter-market to browse and buy.
Craft Lake City Holiday Market: Continuing a year-round process of supporting local artists and artisans, Craft Lake City has developed a two-tiered program for the holiday season. For those who prefer to do their shopping virtually, the online Holiday Market continues through Nov. 30 at craftlakecity.com/holiday-market, with nearly 50 participating vendors sharing their clothing, craft art, jewelry and other items, with direct links to online shopping. If you're okay with heading out into the real world, a live version of the Holiday Market will be held at The Monarch (455 25th St., Ogden) on Friday, Dec. 4 (4-10 p.m.) and Saturday, Dec. 5 (11 a.m.-5 p.m.), with more than 80 Utah-based artisans on-hand. Strict attendee limits will be enforced, so interested visitors are required to sign-up for a two-hour registration slot at craftlakecity.com, and encouraged to browse vendors online in order to make the best use of that limited time. An entry fee (TBD amount at press time) will be required.
Pioneer Theatre Company "Ticket to Feel" Gift Card: Some performing arts organizations have found a way to invite patrons back to their theater spaces; others have not, and the impact of those closures hits not just the performers, but support staff, technicians and many others. Pioneer Theatre Company has been finding creative fund-raising methods throughout the pandemic, and now invites those who support their work to keep PTC afloat and get an amazing bargain in the process. "Ticket to Feel" gift cards—supported by the Governor's Office of Economic Development "Shop in Utah" program—allows folks to purchase cards towards future Pioneer Theatre Company season tickets or individual performance tickets at a value of double the purchase price: $25 for a card worth $50 in tickets, $50 for $100 in tickets, and so on. There's no expiration date on cashing in your card, so no matter how long it is until the Pioneer Memorial Theatre opens once again, you'll be ready to join in. Visit tickets.pioneertheatre.org or call the box office at 801-581-6961.
The King's English Bookshop, Weller Book Works and Ken Sanders Rare Books: Remember back when Amazon was just a place to purchase books—and instantly became a threat to the very existence of local, independent booksellers? Stalwart local businesses survived years of price undercutting by the online behemoth, only to face the additional damage caused by the pandemic. If you're looking for reading material for someone on your shopping list, and you want to support the businesses that have always had the backs of local authors, give your attention—and your dollars—first to these folks. The King's English (kingsenglish.com), Weller Book Works (wellerbookworks.com) and Ken Sanders Rare Books (kensandersbooks) are still doing business, each of them approaching online vs. in-person service in a slightly different way. Visit the websites for gift recommendations and ongoing updates about services offered.
Utah Arts Festival Virtual Holiday Show: If you really missed your opportunity to browse the vendor booths at the Utah Arts Festival this summer, you can still buy the kind of wonderful work that you'd love to have on your walls, your tables or even your body. Now through Dec. 19, visit uaf.org/holiday-show to purchase art from local creators across a wide variety of media, from mixed media and painting to ceramics and textiles. Peruse the available offerings from more than 20 participating artists, and put a little creative light under someone's Christmas tree. Maybe even your own.