Arts column for 12-15-16

A variety of artwork is available for sale at Charleston Artist Collective. 

By the time you read this, there will be a little more than a week until Christmas Day and Hanukkah. And that means that last-minute shopping is a primary concern as we approach the last giant build up to the holiday.

While nothing can take the place of giving someone a gift (especially an unexpected one), I wholeheartedly cast my vote for gifts of the homemade variety. Every year my daughter creates cards for every member of her family and they are, without a doubt, the most treasured of all our gifts. Where once she used to color pictures for family members, now she paints personalized scenes.

I have almost no artistic ability, but I try my best to choose simple and unique items, even if it’s just a printed picture inside a simple frame. But if you need some help and inspiration from professional artists, however, you can’t go wrong by seeking these places out for artistic, handcrafted gifts.

The Charleston Artist Collective has a brand new studio space and lots of fine art work available to help you finish off your Christmas list. (And maybe pick something up for yourself, too.) They are hosting a Holiday Drop In from 5-8 p.m. Thursday at their new location in Mount Pleasant. Just in case you need an additional reason to shop local, the CAC supports a different charity every few months. For December and January that charity is Lowcountry Local First; a charity that strengthens and supports local businesses and farmers. Who knew holiday shopping could be this rewarding?

The Southern gallery is offering a host of amazing prints for sale online at its website. For creativity, social commentary or just gorgeous handmade prints, there is definitely a handful of works (all reasonably priced) that any art lover will appreciate. If it’s still too tough to decide, then The Southern offers e-gift certificates. Just email them directly to request it.

If jewelry and art are both on your list, then it is worth the venture out to Sullivan’s Island to visit the Sandpiper Gallery and their trove of handcrafted jewelry, pottery and art for any home. Sandpiper Gallery’s collection of jewelry is stunning to see and most of it looks and feels like it could only be born of the Lowcountry. You can pick out a sculpture from artist Bob Doster, glass blown ornaments from Jim Downey, or a unique corkscrew or bottle opener from metalsmith Aaron Heisler. Sending these Lowcountry gifts to family and friends is a friendly way of saying, “Wish you were here!”

As a final gift idea, I will suggest that tickets or memberships to some of Charleston’s best places, including the Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston Museum, The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, all found on the historic Museum Mile. Additionally, donations to local charities such as Darkness 2 Light, Lowcountry Local First, and Trident United Way made in someone’s name truly honor the spirit of the season.

There is never enough room to mention all the exceptional local charities and businesses in Charleston, but they’re all there just waiting for you to discover. In the meantime, I hope that the gifts you give are plentiful and appreciated and I hope that your gifts are returned to you tenfold.

Reach Scott Elingburg at

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