The blog highlights the happenings of the Short North Arts District. In Art Spotlight, we feature the artists, gallerists, performers, and professional companies of the District and explore their exhibitions, shows, and more.

At Studios on High Gallery, the holiday spirit is alive and well thanks to its current exhibition, a small works show titled The Art of Gifting. With 15 gallery artists contributing a variety of pieces, this show is a particularly great display of the wide range of mediums featured at the oldest gallery in the Short North Arts District. Prices range from $35 to $195, so there is art for every budget and each piece is a great way to either start or add to a collection. We chatted with 10 of the artists about why art makes a great holiday gift and what pieces they love; use this Art Spotlight as a gift guide to find the perfect piece for everyone on your list!

Works by Tracy Greenwalt, Marty Husted, Beth Himsworth, Jessica Wojtasek, Nancy Nearing, and Annette Simon

Textile artist Deb Johnson and mixed media artist Tracy Greenwalt feel a piece of artwork is a great gift because it is one-of-a-kind. “It can become a great conversation piece and forever ties the recipient to the giver,” Greenwalt said. She is hard pressed to name a favorite piece in the show, but thinks her series of small children with animals are would make for interesting conversation starters. Johnson loves Kim Maurer’s encaustic works because they are “unusual and atmospheric.”

Painter Jessica Wojtasek agrees that art is a special gift because each piece is distinctive. “When you give a work of art as a gift, you are giving something 100% unique,” she said. She also feels artworks as gifts have more dimension since they directly support artists, and the local art culture in Columbus. She feels this show is a great way to introduce people to collecting art because the works are a smaller investment that work with many budgets. She loves her piece “The Book Loft” because of how much she enjoyed the process of painting it.

Works by Jennifer Jolley Brown, Ben Sostrom, Carol Bucklew, and Teda Theis

Painter Annette Simon thinks the holidays are the perfect time to give art because “art is a gift from the spirit,” she said. She loves her piece titled “I Haven’t the Foggiest” because it reminds her that nature provides the quiet and spiritual solitude she searches for during her daily morning walk.

Similar to Greenwalt, painter Teda Theis feels art is a unique and personal gift; “the recipient will know that special thought and time went into the selection process,” she said. Printmaker Jennifer Jolley Brown agrees, and feels art makes a great gift because it is heartfelt. “It’s also unique; no one else will have a piece of art exactly like the one you are giving,” she said. Her advice to buyers is to look for inspiration in the art itself: “maybe it reminds you of your friend or loved one, or a special time you shared. You can also look to the recipient for inspiration – a favorite color, something that would make the other person site or laugh, or something you love yourself.” Brown loves her “Celtic Knot Tile” in this show because it reminds her of a recent family trip to Ireland.

Works by Kim Maurer, Jessica Wojtasek, and Deb Johnson

Wood artist Ben Sostrom feels art is the gift that keeps on giving: “It’s a way of capturing a pause and giving it to someone else,” He said. “When [the recipient] hangs it in their home, or when they happen to look at it in the middle of a busy day, that piece will give them an opportunity to stop for a moment and feel something outside of their routine.” His favorite piece in the show is a framed sculpture of a pearl by metalsmith Carol Bucklew, which he describes as “seemingly exploding through a sheet of metal,” which he loves because is it an “unexpected and unconventional use of materials, and it’s a really beautiful composition.”

For her part, Bucklew feels affordability is an important factor in giving “a truly unique gift made by local artists.” She noted that Studios on High Gallery always has artists staffing the space, so visitors can see the art-making process in addition to having the opportunity to interact with artists. She is particularly fond of her earrings in this show, for which she handmade every part.

Works by Judy Hoberg and Beverly Whiteside

Clay artist Judy Hoberg thinks art “flatters the recipient by implying they are a person of taste who would enjoy originality,” she said. She enjoyed making smaller version of her signature “critters” because shrinking their features was “a fun challenge.” Similar to Sostrom, she also enjoys Bucklew’s framed metal pieces, which she calls “ especially appealing.” 

For polymer artist Nancy Nearing, art is a “truly intimate gift,” she said. “It comes from the heart of the giver, and combines their reaction to the piece with their affection for, and understanding of, the recipient to make a match.” She loves her wall pieces in the show because they are a new technique she learned earlier this year, adding, “they are the first pieces I’ve made in a very long time which came bouncing out of my imagination.”

Works by Nancy Nearing

Also showing in The Art of Gifting is beaded jewelry artist Mikelle Hickman-Romine, glass artist Beth Himsworth, mixed media landscape painter Marty Husted, ceramicist Bill Meyer, and ceramicist Denise Romecki. The Art of Gifting will be on display at Studios on High Gallery, located at 686 N. High St, through January 2.

– Michelle Gibson