PRINCETON — The Princeton Arts Society invites the community to browse, buy and enjoy hundreds of handcrafted, affordable art and holiday gifts made by members of the society at its highly anticipated Small Works & Holiday Marketplace event.
The market, which will be held at the Princeton Senior & Community Center, 206 Worcester Road, will be open for two weekends in December. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays, Dec. 3 and 10. ; from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays December 4 and 11; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays, December 5 and 12.
The Princeton Arts Society was founded in 1991 by a small group of art enthusiasts who were committed to promoting the arts through exhibitions, workshops, performances and lectures. The society is a nonprofit organization that promotes the arts in central Massachusetts through programs, events, and performances.
“The arts enrich the community in so many ways,” said Judy Dino, president of the society. “The Princeton Arts Society promotes all arts, not just the visual arts. Our members include poets, writers, comedians and musicians. All artists bring unique perspectives to their community.
One of the two major trade shows the company sponsors each year is the Small Works & Holiday Marketplace.
Initially offering small and affordable wall art suitable for gifts, the show has grown to also feature an assortment of high quality handcrafted crafts by the company’s talented members who hail from all over central Massachusetts, she said.
In addition to framed wall art — an exhibit worth the trip in itself — many artists also offer unframed pieces or giclee prints of their work for sale, “a bargain hunter’s delight,” said Dinosaur.
“Visitors will find beautiful little wall art in many available media, and the tables will be filled with jewelry, cards, prints, ornaments, fabric items, original books, bags, ceramics, woodworking and much more,” she added.
In its format, this fair is more like an art exhibition than a traditional craft exhibition.
“Member items are on display throughout the show and are not limited to a table held by the artist,” said Jean Strock, vice president of the Princeton Arts Society. “Any given performer in the show may have a single item or many items on display.”
The selection of articles changes from year to year and no list is available in advance.
“Shows in years past have included jewelry, handmade glass beads, handmade cutting boards, wooden jewelry boxes, turned bowls, crocheted cup mats, pincushions needlepoint, felted owls and gnomes, magic wands, note cards, poetry books, art books, knitting animals,” Strock said. “With a variety of embellishments, silk scarves , zipper pins, dried flower arrangements, ceramic bowls…and the list goes on.”
Dino and Strock encourage the community to support a local artist, where the money you spend goes directly to that artist to allow them to continue doing what they love: creating art.
“It also helps support a vibrant arts culture in the community, which is felt in many ways throughout the year,” Dino said. “The work you buy will be unique. If you’re giving a gift, you won’t have to worry that your recipient already has an identical item. The money you spend won’t make Amazon even bigger. You don’t have to wonder if your purchase exploits workers.
Take a leisurely stroll through the engaging exhibits, enjoy the art, avoid the crowds, and see exactly what you’re getting.
“There’s something special about owning something that you know was created by hand by someone who cared about what they were doing,” Strock said. “Particularly around the holidays, handmade gifts evoke a sense of nostalgia, even if they’re not made by yourself.”
Many exhibiting artists attend the sale on the opening Friday evening, which presents the best opportunity to meet the artists.
Dino believes that when you meet the artists, you are likely to learn more about their creative process or the events leading up to the creation of the art you purchase, which increases its value to you.
“A lot of people come to our show year after year because they’ve gotten to know the artists and want to see what new work they’ve done,” Dino said. “This show offers the opportunity to get note cards or an unframed print or painting from a favorite artist whose work might otherwise not be affordable.”
Singing out loud, reading poetry, taking a drawing class and engaging in art can be calming and meditative or lively and invigorating, Dino said.
“Art beautifies our surroundings, gives us something to do and hope for, helps us think outside the box, focuses our minds, makes us attentive to detail and aware of our surroundings,” Dino said. “Art is an elegant gift, and we have very talented artists in our company, and we welcome you all to come and visit our market.”
Only checks and cash will be accepted on all sales. Face masks will be required to be worn in the building. For more information about the Princeton Arts Society, visit www.princetonarts.org or the Princeton Arts Society Facebook page.