The Hippo


Jul 5, 2020








On view at the Mill Brook Gallery in Concord. Courtesy photo.

The gift of creativity

Most organizations and businesses hosting art exhibitions or selling art this holiday season (the Currier, Studio 550, Wild Salamander, Twiggs Gallery, League of NH Craftsmen, Kimball Jenkins, etc.) also offer art classes or workshops. Here are a handful of other organizations to look into.

Homestead Woodworking School, 52 Bald Hill Road, Newmarket,
Girls at Work, 4 Elm St., Manchester, 345-0392,
Sharon Arts Center, 457 Route 123, Peterborough, 836-2550
New Hampshire Institute of Art, 148 Concord St., Manchester, 623-0313,
artstream, 10 2nd St., Dover, 516-8500,
Art Happens, 37 Wilton Road, Milford, 654-2287,
Beck’s Arts Express, 89 Amherst St., Nashua, 781-910-3438,
Give art
InTown Manchester Downtown Holiday Market, Brady Sullivan Plaza, 1000 Elm St., Manchester, Thursday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 12, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Thursday, Dec. 17, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.,
Currier Museum of Art, gift shop, 150 Ash St., Manchester,, 669-6144
Studio 550, 550 Elm St., Manchester, 232-5597,, has a cup sale, with work by 20 different artists, on sale through Jan. 16
Wild Salamander Creative Arts Center, 30 Ash St., Hollis, 465-WILD,, hosts a show of affordable art gifts, all on sale, “Good Things Come in Small Packages” through Dec. 23
Mill Brook Gallery & Sculpture Garden, 236 Hopkinton Road, Concord,, 226-2046, hosts “Artful Gift Giving 2015,” which is up till Christmas Eve
4th Annual Holidaze Bizarre, hosted by Wrong Brain, is an alternative craft fair Saturday, Dec. 12, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Newmarket Millspace, 55 Main St., Newmarket,
East Colony Fine Art pop-up show, Salzburg Square Shopping Center, 292 Route 101, Amherst, up through Dec. 24,
Kimball Jenkins School of Art, 266 N. Main St., Concord, 225-3932, has a student winter exhibition now through Jan. 4
Seacoast Artist Association Gallery, 225 Water St., Exeter, 778-8856, shows select pieces from the 22 gallery members; it’s on view through January
Twiggs Gallery, 254 King St., Boscawen, 975-0015,, hosts a show, “COZY,” with artwork on view and for sale through Dec. 20
League of NH Craftsmen hosts a show, “Yours, Mine and Ours,” at the craft center, 49 S. Main St., Suite 100, Concord, through Dec. 18; the organization also has retail galleries across the state, including in Nashua, Sandwich, Meredith, North Conway, Hanover; visit

Gifts of the arts
What to get the art lover in your life

By Kelly Sennott

Getting art gifts for art people is hard. As Studio 550 owner Monica Leap pointed out in an email, so much is a matter of taste. 

Nevertheless, she and a handful of other local art people provided ideas and tidbits via phone and email about what to get the art person in your life this holiday, from handmade creations to tools and experiences.
Art shopping
When in doubt, buy something handmade. It’s local, it’s beautiful, and it’s something nobody else has.
You can find great, locally made work by perusing Etsy or New Hampshire Made (, but your best bet is to find something at a gift shop, gallery, fair or event.
Currier Museum of Art gift shop head Heidi Norton said via phone some of her favorite artists selling work at the museum are Barbara Lester, who creates bright jewelry from glass; Corey Doherty, who makes hand-dyed silk scarves; and Annette Blazon, whose handmade literary earrings display typewriter keys, typewriter photos and famous literature references.
You don’t need to pay museum admission to peruse the shop, and Norton said she takes in new artists every year, so the merchandise is constantly being updated. 
Leap, somewhat biased, said she’d love to receive a handmade ceramic mug or bowl for Christmas (and Studio 550 just happens to have a large number to choose from right now). But when you’re shopping to buy art for someone, personal taste and preference come into consideration, so Leap suggests you forget surprises and just take your gift-receiver with you while shopping.
Portability and quality are the golden words in novelty art tools this season, in Norton’s opinion. She said the museum’s Watercolor Wheel Stack pack, available for $10 and containing 24 rich opaque colors, is popular this year. The kit is small, about four inches across, and stackable.
“To have a bunch of colors, you don’t have to have a big, long tray,” Norton said. “And it travels well.”
She also said the Artist’s Tile Set is a frequent buy among artists. It’s perfectly square, small and sturdier than paper, ideal for watercolor, drawings or oil paintings. 
Coloring books always sold fast at the museum shop, and it’s no different now that the adult coloring craze has grown to form meet-ups and programs in libraries across the state. Popular artists in general include Johanna Basford and Emma Farrarons, and Norton said shoppers were buying books featuring work by the “Group of Seven,” i.e., the Algonquin School Canadian landscape painters prominent from 1920 to 1933.
This gift could be great for an art connoisseur, not necessarily an artist.
“I’ve always sold coloring books, and I’ve always sold them to adults,” Norton said. “You can take these beautiful artworks you love, and you can color them in and kind of re-live the painting, and have something that’s satisfactory when you’re done.”
To go along with the book, snag some high-quality colored pencils made with graphite, which sharpen well, contain good pigment and transfer to paper “like silk,” Norton said. (She recommended EBoo, Faber-Castell, Derwent Studio and Winsor & Newton brands.)
Shopper, be warned: Leap said she wouldn’t recommend purchasing materials or starter artist kits unless you were given specific instructions, or you’re giving them to a complete beginner.
Sometimes the best gift is an experience, and Leap said she highly recommends — besides of course her own Studio 550 — the Homestead Woodworking School ( in Newmarket, which offers lessons for novice, intermediate and advanced woodworkers eager to improve skills. She’s also a fan of Girls at Work, Inc., a nonprofit that empowers young girls and women through woodworking projects.
Buy a gift certificate or class to a local art center, studio or school (find local businesses in the sidebar). If you’re on a tighter budget or would rather your art experience supplement another gift, Leap suggests finding a DIY lesson online and making a date of it to try out together.
Adele Sanborn, paper artist and founder of Cornerstone Design at Twiggs Gallery, Boscawen, said one way to her heart would be League of New Hampshire Craftsmen membership (which includes free passes to the August fair, a 10-percent discount at galleries and tuition discounts at League classes, the New Hampshire Institute of Art, etc.) or a Currier Museum of Art membership (free admission all the time, plus early admission to new exhibitions).
If your art person is a theater or classical music buff, check out and purchase tickets for an upcoming production or concert.
For your theater enthusiast, actress and theatre KAPOW co-founder Carey Cahoon recommended a handful of books about theater: What’s  the Story by Anne Bogart, The Necessity of Theater by Paul Woodruff and Through the Body: A Practical Guide to Physical Theatre by Dymphna Callery.
Sanborn said her “dream machine” art gift would include a handmade travel journal and Zentangle supplies (which could include directions from the book One Zentangle a Day: A Six-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun). She also loves the book Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon, which has “some cool ideas to support the artist within.”
Or for the gift that keeps on giving, Sanborn suggests getting a subscription to an art publication, like Art New England or Somerset Studio. Another popular book that just came out by the Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert is Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, which offers her own process and opinions on creativity. 

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