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The art of giving


If the price-slashing deals of the Black Friday super sales left you longing for more from your holiday shopping experience, then maybe it's time to step outside of the big box and check out the locally made goods at the SLO Art Center's annual CraftArt Market. It's a great place to find a huge selection of unique, hand-made gift items that are as special as the person lucky enough to receive them.

From now until Dec. 31 the Art Center will feature paintings, photography, jewelry, ceramics, folk art, and home decor by some of the Central Coast's most accomplished artists, and Executive Director Karen Kile promises a wide range of prices to please just about anybody's pocketbook.

'A person can walk in and spend as little as $3 on a pretty pair of earrings or as much as $340 on a hand-sculpted vase," she said. 'We've got a lot of small items kids can afford to shop for and high-end things, too."

This year the Art Center is excited to include several younger, up- and-coming artists to the collection, like glass work by Cal Poly student Devin Doblitt, jewelry by Mike Markus, and sophisticated glass beads and jewelry by Evan Chambers, whose 'career is off and running." They're also featuring the whimsical art books and journals by Mendi Stubson and hand-knit hats and scarves by Kit Froman. Of course, favorite names from holidays past will also be featured, and all during the sale artists will be on hand to demonstrate techniques and answer questions about their work.

Best of all, a gift purchased at the CraftArt Market is one that keeps on giving. After each individual artist gets their 60 percent share of the proceeds, the Art Center sets aside the rest for its after-school youth art program, which provides professional art instruction to public-school children all over the county. So you're supporting local artists and promoting future artists at the same time. And that's definitely something to feel good about.

So think festively by shopping locally. After 20 years, the CraftArt Market has evolved into a sophisticated collection of local finery that makes shopping for holiday gifts almost as much fun as getting them.

The SLO Art Center is open daily from 11 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more info call 543-8562.



Got an old flag you'd like to burn? Avoid public scorn by letting members of the Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum do it for you. On Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. they'll hold a Flag Retirement ceremony at the SLO American Legion Post for the dignified destruction of unwanted flags. Everyone is invited to watch as boxes full of old glories go up in flames. That is so punk rock. For more info call 543-6198. ...

... On Dec. 9 the Economic Opportunity Commission of SLO will host an anniversary open house to celebrate its 40-year commitment to serving the area's low-income residents. Through more than 30 public programs, the EOC provides emergency and crisis intervention services, childcare, parent education, and healthcare, and their thrift store helps generate real income for needy families. Special presentations and a cake-cutting ceremony are scheduled for the event, which starts at 3 p.m. For more info call 544-4355. ...

... Let go of some of that holiday stress by exploring your mind, body, and spirit on Dec. 16 at a Full Moon Yoga Retreat at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort. Led by master movement artist Frank Dukehart, you'll do aqua yoga, take a walk in the Yoga Dome, and meditate with Tibetan Bowls. The goal is to utilize the power of the full moon to increase your intuition, endurance, vitality and endurance for greater magnetism of your heart's desire. Sorry, we can't explain what that means, though you have to admit, it does sound cool, doesn't it? For more info (and maybe some answers) call 543-2248.


New Times contributor Alice Moss compiled this week's Strokes & Plugs. She can be reached at

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