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Temescal Winter Art Hop offers gift ideas on a budget

on December 3, 2010

The weather outside is frightful, but thrifty Oakland art lovers and gift-shoppers might consider braving the chill to head down Telegraph Avenue for the Temescal Winter Art Hop, which will run Friday night from 6pm to 9pm between 42nd and 50th streets.

Organizers say the event, which is comprised of a mixed bag of local bars, galleries, and smaller art shows, offers an alternative to both the more expensive galleries in the area, and the traditional hipster-oriented scene of Temescal’s First Friday Art Murmur, which will be held concurrently in the same general area.

“We’re a little less Pabst Blue Ribbon, and a little more family-driven than Art Murmur,” said Emily Coker, who came up with the idea for the event’s passport booklets, which attendees who visit at least ten sites can use to enter a raffle for free art at the end of the Hop. “This is going to be an event where you can bring the kids. There will always be a place for tight jeans and street vendors in Temescal, but I think this show reflects how the area is also growing up.”

Coker is also the founder and curator of the Oakland under $100 show, one of the event’s stops, where all the arts and crafts are priced between $1 and $100. Her show will feature drawings, ceramics, sculptures, and journals – all handmade – from local artists who have either priced down their work, or made custom crafts specifically for the seasonal show.

“It’s really well-timed,” said artist Tracy Kronzak whose ceramics will be sold as a part of the show,  (Conflict of interest alert!  The Hop’s music entertainment will include the Ukaladies, a fine musical band featuring various ukuleles, a saw, an occasional accordion, and—singing and playing her ukuklele—Oakland North political reporter Laura Hautala.)  “We’re in the middle of Hanukah, right before Christmas, and the economy’s down,” Kronzak said.  “People want to give handmade gifts, but they just don’t have the same money to spend on art that they had five years ago.”

Kronzac, who lists Andy Warhol and Steampunk as some of the inspirations for her pottery, estimates that she will bring about 30 mugs, 10 bowls, and a few larger sculptural pieces to the show.

Although Kroznac is accustomed to making crafts that fall within the show’s price range, Coker said it is a real challenge for some artists to create affordable items for the show. “The price isn’t just about materials, it’s about the time and the emotional attachment that the artist puts into her work,” Coker said. “But at the same time, you want art to be accessible. Most of the artists take it as a fun challenge.”

Kroznac agreed that, although it’s nice to have the opportunity to sell some of her work, it’s not really about making money. “Oakland is full of creative and talented people, and the more art that’s out there the better,” she said. “If I make something that becomes someone’s favorite mug, that’s pretty cool. That makes it worth it.”

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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