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Sonoma County art galleries make the best gift shops

This holiday season, you might be tempted to head to the big box stores, holiday shopping list in hand, ready to cross everyone off in one fell swoop. While that has its appeal (sure; returns are universally easy), we all know that shopping at the big box stores cuts into the bottom line of our local makers and artisans.

You might think of art galleries as stuffy or unapproachable, but those misconceptions are exactly that: a fallacy. Art galleries -- especially here in Sonoma County -- are fun, approachable and full of life. And, lucky for us, we have a ton of them (More than 100 countywide!). Not only does each gallery showcase artwork from local artists, they also provide passerby an opportunity to support the local artist.

“Each purchase supports a local artist,” said Teri Sloat, owner of Sebastopol Gallery. “Galleries carry one-of-a-kind gifts and can tell you about the artist, making the gift more personal.”

Sloat said at Sebastopol Gallery, the gallery owners often work with customers to help them choose the right gift.

“If there is an artist you like and we do not have just the right piece in the gallery, we will refer you to the artist and even call them for you,” Sloat said.

The type of artwork showcased and available for purchase at local galleries expands beyond the typical canvas or photograph.

“People may not know we have wonderful jewelry, wood turned bowls and platters and ceramic pieces at a variety of price points, perfect for gift giving,” Sloat said.

Five reasons why art makes the best gift

Buying and giving art shows thoughtfulness.

Giving art is environmentally friendly.

Giving art supports your local economy.

Buying and giving art demonstrates real meaningful support for the arts.

When shopping for kids gifts, buying and giving age appropriate art related gifts can be inspiring and educational for them and the whole family.

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