Art helps create gifts of love for Valentine’s Day

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Reimagining how something occurs has been the mantra of the past year.  Curbside service from restaurants, online concerts, and remote working. 

How to reimagine those things that involved gathering?  Art shows often launch with an opening reception. While a concert can be enjoyed online, being present with a work of art is part of the experience.  Visual artists have hosted virtual open studios, made time-lapse films of their creative process, or hosted online exhibits. 

Still, nothing replaces viewing a work of art as it captures your thoughts.

Local Artists have benefitted from the YAC’s visual art program for years.  The Arts Council coordinates art shows at the Powerhouse, Oxford Activity Center, City Grocery, and Heartbreak Coffee on the Square.  These public spaces have been an important tool for local artists to place their works in high-visibility spaces.

During the pandemic, the arts council worked with local artists to rethink the shows.  The loss of markets, festivals, and public events such as the Art Crawl impacted regional artists.  Exploring how to replace that lost revenue the arts council proposed themed art shows around annual events.

If Kroger can put out Valentine’s candy before the New Year then maybe the Arts Council should look at major shopping trends and build art shows around similar themes.  Thinking of the art exhibits as opportunities to purchase local, find unique one-of-a-kind gifts, and match offerings to the current spending trends as impacted by the economy, these themed shows helped connect local artists with the community in a new way.

The themed shows return just in time for Valentine’s Day.  The Powerhouse is hosting a pop-up, Gifts of Love shop, from February 1st through the 27th from 9-5. The pop-up shop is filled with artwork from local artists that would make Valentine’s Day a day to remember.

Finding the perfect gift for someone you love is always hard but giving a piece that is hard to forget makes it all worth it. Each item at the Gifts of Love pop-up is unique to each artist. Gifts of Love is a variety of craft items and paintings, some Valentine-themed, some not, but all perfect for this holiday season. 

Artist Cecil Bowers, a woodturner, carefully crafted and handmade bowls, jewelry boxes, and Mississippi-shaped cutting boards.  Stephen Hopper created illustrated graphics, a set of three notecards (envelopes included), and a children’s book titled The Alphabet Book of Fairies and Gnomes and other Amazing Creatures Hopper’s pieces are all wonderfully written and illustrated by Hopper. 

The Pop Up Shop features paintings of Oxford scenes by Melanie Counce and Pannawat Thamutok. Encaustic works by Vicki Whitehead. Needlepoint with humorous valentine themes has been a popular item in the shop.

Wayne Andrews is president of the YAC and writes a weekly column for The Oxford Eagle.