Get in the spirit
What: Davis Art Center 21st annual Holiday Sale
When: Noon-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 4
Where: Davis Art Center, 1919 F St.
This year, the Davis Art Center is taking its annual Holiday Sale in a new direction, introducing locally sourced and quality handmade gifts in the Children’s Secret Store.
Parents can tell their children to look for the green tablecloth in the Secret Store, where they’ll find items such as hand-painted silk scarves, glazed ceramic bowls and mugs, glass bead necklaces, sewn ornaments, knitted slippers, natural scented soaps and local coffee.
Holiday Sale co-chair Diana Coss said the fundraising committee wanted a greener, more sustainable Secret Store, while also supporting local artists and the artist community.
The Green Table also is an opportunity for children to develop both an environmental awareness and appreciation of art that can last a lifetime, Coss said.
“It’s time for a change,” Coss said. “I think this helps children appreciate real art, and parents can talk to them as well about what happens when we buy items overseas.
“We’re not just paying for an item that costs $3. We’re paying for the environmental cost for it to be shipped over here, and a lot of these things break easily and they do not biodegrade. I don’t want to have any part in contributing to that.”
The Secret Store is a long-held Davis tradition, where children can leave their parents at the door and — with help from volunteers — buy and wrap secret gifts for family and friends.
Historically, the Secret Store has stocked bulk-ordered toys and other small, inexpensive items costing $1 to $6.
Coss said the goal this year is to test the waters and see how people like the Green Table, then gradually transition to an entirely eco-friendly Secret Store.
“We knew that we would have to start out small and see if the children of Davis are going to be attracted to real art,” Coss said. “We’re trying to make the Green Table really colorful, but we’ll still have the standard gift items.”
Thanks to generous contributions from artists — from young Art Center students to professional artisans — there will be about 800 green items for sale.
“It was a complete surprise to me how many people have actually come to donate their time to the store, to this table,” she said.
“Everyone’s excited. I have a test table set up at my house right now, with all the products that have come in and the people who’ve seen it, their mouths drop. They’re just like, ‘I want that.’ ”
Green Table contributors include Brianne Hope Agatep, Beatrix and Liz Ashwood, Heidi Bekebrede, Christine Belew, Daphne Berti, Diana Coss, Mary Bingle, Rachel Brant, Madeline Brattesani, Judy Catambay, Dianna Craig, George Grant, Lisa Imusser, Alice Renaud, Miya and Andrea Johnston, Emily Jonsson, Dawn Kingsbury, Caroline and Jean Korinke, Sai Krithika, Bonnie Lam, Liz Morgan, Tony Natsoulas, Vicki Plutchok, Norma Rice, Roberta and Victoria Savage, Stewart Savage, Jan Solorzano, Anne Syer, Mark Unger, Hen Werner and June Wood.
Business donors include Capital Nursery, Davis Ace Hardware, Davis Food Co-op, Intentions by Carol Grey, Puroast Coffee, Red Barn Nursery, Safeway and the UC Davis Arboretum.
Given the inventory of 4,000 gifts throughout the Secret Store, however, future Holiday Sale organizers will need to amass much more support to go completely green.
Coss said she hopes to develop a class at the Davis Art Center focused exclusively on making gifts for the fundraiser. She also is exploring the possibility of partnering with local businesses to sponsor artists who want to contribute.
She is determined to make it work.
“Let’s think of all the things that it will benefit: You create an artist community, you create a better environment, you teach children about art and the process of art,” she said, adding, “It’s a big thing to take on — no doubt about it.”
Kids who would like to make their own gifts can head across the hall from the Secret Store to the Holiday Sale Craft Room. Here, they can learn to make candles, a bird feeder or — new this year — peppermint-, vanilla- or coconut-scented glitter lip gloss.
Craft activities will cost $3 to $5, materials included.
As for the Holiday Sale’s adult visitors, there will be plenty of unique artisan gifts to see, sample and buy. The 21st annual fundraiser will feature 70 vendors, pre-screened for quality, selling functional and fine art goods, including ceramics, textiles, soaps, jewelry, clothing, home décor, candies and foods.
Roughly 200 volunteers make it happen, with a committee of a couple dozen individuals starting the planning at the beginning of the year.
As of press time, volunteers are still needed to help out in the Secret Store, as well as the Holiday Café, which will sell soup, salad, hot dogs and snacks, Coss said. Anyone who is interested in working a three-hour shift (or two) should call the Davis Art Center at (530) 756-4100.
— Crystal Lee is the publicity assistant at the Davis Art Center. This column is published monthly.