Okay, admit it – you haven’t bought all your holiday gifts yet. Never fear, though, as there’s a great alternative to hitting the mall that will not only get your loved ones a handmade, unique gift but soothe your soul in the process. I’m talking about art, of course. Buying art doesn’t have to be a multi-thousand-dollar, big-investment kind of decision. At this time of year, artists and gallerists realize that what people are looking for is affordable, approachable gifts, and they set up shows to fit the bill – group shows of lots of small works.
In Tacoma, there are three “small-work” shows worth checking out. Traver Gallery’s “Holiday Salon Sale” features best-of from regular artists like Sonja Blomdahl and Paul Marioni, works like bowls and vessels that make easy gifts. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue-Sat, noon-5 p.m. Sun through Dec. 24. 1821 E Dock St. #100, Tacoma. 253-383-3685, www.travergallery.com
The ArtStop (inside LeRoy Jewelers) hosts the Washington Clay Arts juried show, with both functional and conceptual work by local artists. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tue-Fri, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sat through Dec. 31. 940 Broadway, Tacoma. 253-274-1630
Proctor Art Gallery has a holiday display of artwork $50 and under, a good price for original art. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon-Sat, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun through Dec. 31. 2811 No. 26th St., Tacoma. 253-759-4238, www.proctorartgallery.com
And over in Auburn, the White River Valley Museum has its annual Small Works show. I was on the jury for this one, so I can say with in-depth knowledge that these works are affordable and make great gifts, ranging from the cute to the breathtaking. noon-4 p.m. Wed-Sun through Dec. 19. 918 H St. SE, Auburn. 253028807433, www.wrvmuseum.org