Shopping at Western Avenue is out of the ordinary.
Find Something Delightful
For lovers of fine and fun arts, exploring all the gift possibilities that Western Avenue has to offer can be a day’s delight or a zestful quest. The studios and lofts are the workspaces for over 350 artists and artisans, which means that here you’re going right to the source for a huge variety of work hand-crafted by local experts.
Our Open Studio events the first Saturday of each month are an invitation to wander among the hundreds of studios, discovering new beautiful and interesting things and meeting the makers where they create their work. During the holiday gift-seeking season we hold extra Open Studio days to allow for more connection and inspiration.
If full-on wandering doesn’t appeal, we have self-guided walking tours by medium, enabling visitors to follow a listing of their favorite kinds of artwork around the building. And there is always the concentrated and easily accessible experience of visiting the Loading Dock Gallery which offers artistic gifts at all times and a focused holiday gift show every December.
Customize Something Creative
With such a broad community of artists and artisans working in wide-ranging disciplines, the possibilities for meaningful and customized gifts are limited only by your imagination. Visiting Western Avenue is not only an opportunity to shop from the local source where the artwork is made, but to source something meaningful by meeting and working with the artist.
Resize a beloved ring, commission the perfect mug, re-bind the family bible, have a motorcycle airbrushed, customize a T-shirt, get a piece of wood from the old house turned into a holiday ornament.
Preserve a family photograph, set a special beach stone into a pendant, have a diamond made from the ashes of the ancestral yule log, commission a hot pink wedding dress, and while you’re at it, commission a wedding portrait, a pet portrait, a house portrait, and a car portrait.
The Open Studio events around the holiday season are a great time to meet the most artists and discover people who can work with you to create a gift for an important event or holiday in the coming year.
Gifts of Experience
Art comes in many forms, not all art needs a place to be displayed.
Just because something is an art, doesn’t mean it needs to last forever. Roasted coffee beans from Tiny Arms Coffee, beer brewed on-site by Navigation Brewing, and fine candles or note cards by various artisans, all bring richness to the passing moments of living and connecting.
Meeting and mixing with the many kinds of artists here in their working spaces means opportunities for broadening experiences. Beyond the conversations and inspiration possible in exploring during Open Studios, many artists offer classes or lessons in a variety of disciplines and mediums. The gift of a class with a Western Avenue artist could be the beginning of a beautiful new chapter in someone’s life.
Discover the Unexpected
Artists who would usually show large pieces in regional galleries or museums often have smaller works in their studios prepared for the giving season making it possible to discover some home-sized pieces when shopping direct from the studios.
With so much being made in one place, it’s a normal to find surprising items in among the more traditional fine work in painting, ceramics, jewelry, and sculpture. How about earrings made from toys, shotglasses with eyeballs in them, a sculptural Furby backpack, a living painting in moss, or a gargoyle in glasses?
The studios and lofts are open the first Saturday of each month for our Open Studio events. The best part though, is that the studios building is open every day for roaming – we invite you to come experience the inspiring vibrance of one of the largest artists communities in the country!