Celebrate the holidays with art

Art column
By: Paul Apfel, Special to The News Messenger
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Art lovers seeking local treasures for family and friends will be amply rewarded this year with offerings in Lincoln and Loomis galleries. So, while several art groups are celebrating the holidays with colleagues at seasonal art receptions with cups of good cheer, wassail bowls and the like, others are staffing the galleries and gift shops. We are particularly delighted this month to feature the festivities at the High Hand Gallery in Loomis. Set in the historic High Hand fruit sheds in Loomis, the High Hand Gallery is celebrating this Christmas season with gusto. Taking advantage of their co-location with the High Hand Nursery, they kicked off the season on Friday, Dec. 3 with seasonal tree lightings, a bonfire and carolers. We also noted during a recent visit that the gallery experience is now a bit warmer temperature-wise with the placement of a portable heater near the gallery’s front desk. Near that same front desk, artist Maureen Gilli showcases custom greeting cards and Christmas art featuring unique colors and textures in a size and style useful for greeting cards or unique wall displays. Hand-felted woolen hats by Kat Oliver adorn a nearby display tree while Pat Sokolowski’s felted wool western headgear tops a display of wool and chiffon scarves by Joan Maxwell. Carmichael resident and gallery customer Andrea Westberg told us she has been coming to High Hand for the past three years and to the gallery since it opened in 2009. “I’m attracted by the local artists,” said Westberg, who visits the gallery often. “I like to buy from local artists.” As we talked, Westberg gathered glass ornaments by Rick and Janet Nicholson while other patrons browsed a nearby metal sculpted tree and selected small holiday pyramid boxes by Susan Cawthon. The Nicholsons’ art in the gallery includes blown glass balls, teardrops, bells and icicles. Art from their collection was featured in the White House Collection during the Clinton presidential years. The Nicholson studio on Bell Road in Auburn will have a holiday open house on Dec. 11,12, 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contact the High Hand Gallery for more details. The gallery artists will also be busy hosting their own special holiday open house with wine, appetizers, carolers and live music on Saturday, Dec. 18 from 3 to 8 p.m. Music starts at 6 p.m.   In Lincoln, Lincoln Arts and Culture Foundation on 580 Sixth St. is having its annual Christmas gift shop through Dec. 22. It’s open Tuesdays through Saturdays. Check its website at for details. The Place! Gallery and Gift Shop, the heart of downtown Lincoln at 505 G St., will be open during the holidays with art and gifts. The Place! is open Wednesdays through Sundays. Think art for the holidays. And shop locally when you can. Good holiday cheer to all! Paul Apfel writes on art in and around Lincoln. Contact him at