Photo by Heather Middleton
By Joel Hall
Surrounded by various baubles, trinkets, and holiday knickknacks at the Mistletoe Market, Christmas shopper Mary Durant, of Jonesboro, was as impressed with the variety of items as she was with the fact that all of the pieces were made by local artists.
"I used to go to Stately Oaks for their Christmas bazaar," which no longer exists, said Durant. "There are so many different things [at the Mistletoe Market]. I don't think there is anything else like it."
On Thursday, Arts Clayton in Jonesboro hosted an opening reception for its Mistletoe Market, an annual offering of unique gift and Christmas items made by Arts Clayton exhibitors. From now until Dec. 19, the market will be held at the gallery alongside "Wonderland," the gallery's latest exhibit featuring various artistic takes on the wonder of life.
According to Arts Clayton Gallery Manager Karen Powers, the market features a variety of inexpensive and moderately priced gifts, many between $5 and $50. The items range from cute to edgy and include homemade gift cards, handcrafted jewelry, winter clothing, and lamps repurposed from household appliances.
"We had a lot of new artists that really rounded out what we have here," Powers said. "As a response to the economy, we have a lot of reasonably priced items, so there is something for every budget. As people are becoming more thoughtful of their purchases, knowing that it was made by their neighbor is becoming more important. It gives the public, and our patrons, a chance to own something or give something that is unique."
Cathy Brown, a Stockbridge artist who regularly exhibits at Arts Clayton, said the Mistletoe Market offers a unique opportunity to purchase high-quality jewelry and trinkets at affordable prices.
"It gives people access to more quality things [that] they wouldn't see the rest of the year," Brown said. "I like a lot of the jewelry. Everything is hand-selected, so you know it is going to be fine-crafted work. You get to see things that are not necessarily so expensive. They are things that are in everybody's reach."
On Nov. 12, the Mistletoe Market will serve as the backdrop for the Mistletoe and Merlot Wine Tasting, an annual event sponsored by Arts Clayton and the Highway 138 Package Store.
According to Powers, the wine tasting is Arts Clayton's most-attended event of the year.
"The event is always popular," Powers said. "We usually have about 150 to 200 people here. It's a great chance to purchase art, sample some really great holiday wines, and they can also shop for Christmas gifts at the same time. People who love art tend to love wine ... so it is a great partnership."
According to Stephen Pace, wine manager for the Highway 138 Package Store, this year's wine tasting will feature, red, white, sparkling, and fortified wines from six different providers, including Georgia Crown Distributing, Prestige Wine Wholesale, Quality Wine and Spirits, New World Wines, Metro Premium Wines, and United Distributors.
"The proceeds do go to Arts Clayton and it is a way for us to get in front of the community and show our appreciation," Pace said. "It is our biggest tasting of the year. A lot of these folks are our customers already. It just helps us become a little more visible in the community."
The Mistletoe and Merlot Wine Tasting will take place from 6 to 9 p.m., on Thursday, Nov. 12. Admission to the tasting is $20 per person.
For more information about the Mistletoe Market or the Mistletoe and Merlot Wine Tasting, call (770) 473-5410 or visit www.artsclayton.org/gallery.