When shopping for loved ones during the holiday season, things can get away from us. A simple trip to a big box store to procure a couple DVDs can easily snowball, resulting in a full cart, a big credit card bill, and ultimately a bunch of random junk cluttering our homes. This holiday season, consider giving something meant to last. Something that means something. Consider the gift of original art. 

According to Zach DeBoer, owner of Sioux Falls’ Exposure Gallery and Studios, anyone can afford art, and as he prepares to host the third annual $100 Art Show, he means it.

“To call the show the $100 Dollar Art Show is purposeful,” he said. “People come in and understand the pricing of what I’m about to go see. It puts them at ease. Art prices can be shocking to some who are uninitiated. This is a way to help people be comfortable with purchasing maybe their first piece of artwork.”

Held annually on December’s First Friday, the $100 Art Show aims to benefit the artists, as well. There is a virtual open call for the show, which means some artists are getting their first shot at showing their work. And, DeBoer says, as Exposure’s biggest sales day of the year, it’s a chance to put a little extra money in artists’ pockets before the holidays.

In Rapid City, The Dahl Arts Center has begun a tradition aimed at making art giftable, as well. Their strategy: keep it small. Unwrapped opens November 18 in the Lobby Gallery, the show features works no larger than 100 square inches, or for 3D pieces, 125 cubic inches.

“We feel this is a really good size for gift giving,
or to ship original artwork,” explained curator Denise Du Broy.

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Like the $100 Art Show, each piece featured in Unwrapped must be for sale, and artists may submit multiple pieces, providing an opportunity to start collecting a particular artist’s work in an inexpensive way. For DeBoer, the gift of original art to a loved one, or even to oneself, is an investment in the community and a statement about who they are.

“For the most part, nobody is going to have the same piece of artwork. It’s one of a kind,” he said. “You’re not going to go to Target and see a thousand of them stacked up in a row that anybody could buy. If you go and buy a print at World Market or Hobby Lobby, most of that money’s not staying in the city. It’s not going to the person who made that print. They probably got paid a one-time fee and that company just owns that image forever, so you’re giving your money to a giant company instead of giving it to your neighbor, who will then take that money and buy groceries at the grocery store and keep the money
in South Dakota.”

“Art prices can be shocking to some who are uninitiated. This is a way to help people be comfortable with purchasing maybe their first piece of artwork.”

Du Broy agrees. “In my mind, it is such a personal gift to give to somebody, because it’s made. We won’t have prints, except photographic prints. It’s such an intimate thing to do, to have original artwork. It’s really thoughtful. It’s so different than going into a regular retail experience or buying something online. This, to me, shows that it’s unique, and someone has put thought into it.”

For more information about Unwrapped, visit thedahl.org. To learn more about the $100 Art Show, visit exposuregalleryandstudios.com

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