Holiday Fair

Mansfield Art Center is holding the annual Holiday Fair until December 30.

MANSFIELD ─ This year’s Holiday Fair at Mansfield Art Center is far more important than normal for Ohio artists.

With lots of exhibitions and art events canceled, executive director George Whitten said artists did not have many opportunities to physically show their work this year.

That is the primary purpose of the 51st Holiday Fair ─ to feature Ohio artists and, hopefully, sell their work.

Close to 100 artists have joined the showcase. All kinds of artwork, including painting, pottery, sculpture, art glass and wooden pieces, have been placed at the upper gallery.

Jewelry can be found at the gallery shop.

Whitten said until Dec. 30, everything in the art center is for sale. The price ranges from $5 to several thousand dollars.

“There’s something for everybody,” he said.

With its new ceramic and glass studio this year, the art center is selling hand-blown glass ornaments made by its in-house artist, Noah Schenk.

Because there is a 30-people capacity limit for the second floor, where most artworks are shown, Whitten said the opening hours have been extended to avoid crowds at any time.

Instead of closing at 4 p.m. every day, the art center will open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. It will close at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Masks are required in the space.   

Whitten said the event attracts artists beyond the Mansfield area. Some are bringing their work from Mount Vernon, Cleveland and Columbus. A lot of artists told him they were so glad that the Holiday Fair is open this year.

Dan Snyder, a potter and retired Mansfield City School’s art teacher, can relate to that. He said this year has been “horrible.” He used to do six to eight shows a year. With the COVID-19 pandemic playing havoc with the schedule, he has only done one event this year.

The former watercolor artist now operates a pottery studie with a good friend in Shiloh. He is looking forward to the opportunities that should arrive next year, but isn't sure how much he can get.

“We'll just keep making pottery and wait till our world gets a little bit better,” he said.

The art center used to throw a “preview party” on the first day of Holiday Fair. The party cannot happen this year because of the limit of the capacity limit. Instead, the art center is offering a “Let’s Wine About a No Preview Party” swag bag for a $50 donation.

Whitten said it's an important fundraising event for the organization. It also lets people see art pieces first and make purchases.

It will also host a “Women’s Day into Evening Event” on Dec. 10 from 2 to 8 p.m. for all women in the community. Whitten said the free event is sponsored by the Richland County Foundation Women’s Fund. Ten percent of the sales on that day will go to the fund.

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