SooVAC’s Artists Holiday Shop open through December

The annual holiday shop features hundreds of original pieces from local artists for affordable prices.

Stacy Dennis views artwork in search of holiday gifts at the Soo Visual Arts Center in Uptown.

Easton Green

Stacy Dennis views artwork in search of holiday gifts at the Soo Visual Arts Center in Uptown.

Kate Drakulic

Soo Visual Arts Center opened its doors Friday morning to celebrate the first day of the center’s annual Artists Holiday Shop. Located just off of Lyndale Avenue in Uptown, the shop features a variety of prints, paintings, handmade jewelry, ceramics, sculpture and more within a wide price range.

The Artists Holiday Shop is a perfect opportunity to familiarize yourself with work from local artists, support their practices and stock up on holiday gifts and goodies (and maybe a little something for yourself). Noteworthy items include delicate ceramic bowls and vases, handmade skirts, shirts and sweaters, colorful pom-pom earrings and comical greeting cards. What sells throughout the month will be replenished by more work in stock, and artists will receive 60 to 70 percent of their sales.

A number of University of Minnesota alumni are among the many local artists who participated in this year’s shop. Alex Petersen, a recent Master of Fine Arts graduate is selling a series of prints new to Minneapolis eyes.

“The work in the holiday shop is a series of prints from drawings I did a couple of years ago. Those are a body of work I completed in Portland, Oregon before moving to Minnesota for graduate school,” he said. 

Petersen works primarily in large-scale graphite drawings. He explores topics of gender and sexuality by featuring representational, narrative-based imagery.

“[SooVAC] is a pretty amazing set up. Just the chance to bring a bunch of different artists and art together… it’s pretty approachable work for the community,” Petersen said. 

Petersen isn’t alone in his admiration for SooVAC’s Artists Holiday Shop. Jennifer Davis, Bachelor of Fine Arts alumna, contributed her thoughts.

“I got a sneak peek at this year’s SooVAC holiday shop items last week, and I can honestly say it is their best one yet,” Davis said. “There is an amazing variety of well-crafted goods and beautiful artwork.”

Davis was originally rejected from the University’s BFA program, but was confident that art was a personal calling. After reapplying, she eventually graduated with an art degree. Since then, her vibrant paintings, drawings and other works have been shown all around the Twin Cities.

“I was an absolute beginner during my time at the University, but I loved it and hope I can always hang on to that spirit of learning, experimenting and growing,” she said.

Davis is selling a series of butterfly wall hangings, round flower paintings and a few other small paintings at the holiday shop.

In addition to the Artists Holiday Shop, SooVAC hosts a number of juried and monthly exhibitions. The nonprofit arts organization and was founded in 2001, and is overseen by Executive Director Carolyn Payne.

“Our mission is to connect our community with fresh, underrepresented and provocative art. In the past 16 or so years, we’ve shown over 2,000 visual artists, the majority of whom are from Minnesota or emerging,” Payne said. 

The Artists Holiday Shop will be open every week Wednesday through Sunday until Dec. 24.