The Impressionist: Give a Gallery Gift

Impressionistby Kerri VanderHoff

The season is upon us, many will be gathering with friends and family from near and far, and often exchanging gifts to show how much we appreciate the people in our lives.

The perfect gift is not the most expensive, nor the latest trend, but the one that seems as though it was created just for the person who receives it. One of the best places to find such a gift is in a local gallery, where original art and other unique items abound.

“Our customers are looking for meaningful gifts and artwork to beautify and personalize their homes,” said Ben Perrin, owner of MercuryHead Gallery on East Fulton. “During the holidays there is a push for small paintings, pottery, and jewelry.”

MercuryHead is one of fourteen retail galleries and arts organizations that belong to the Grand Rapids Gallery Association (GRGA). The organization celebrates the

area’s diverse fine arts community, uniting in the spirit of cooperation to enhance the vibrant arts community.

“The Grand Rapids Gallery Association gives us an opportunity to collaborate, network and idea share with area arts organizations, art educators and other retail galleries,” said Perrin. “Each member has a unique way of engaging with the public, our common ground is art awareness. Throughout the year, we work with local artists by providing a venue for them to reach
the public.”

Their collaboration also provides a great central resource for the public when searching out the many galleries and arts organizations. GRGA maintains a comprehensive website (grga.org) where members are listed and links provided.

At the Museum Store in the Grand Rapids Art Museum, they pride in providing ever-changing, art-inspired gifts such as decorative accessories, toys, books, crafty functional items, and fair trade products from all over the globe.

Other galleries in the GRGA that stir hype for their unique finds include the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, and various college galleries in the area.

In addition to the website, GRGA produces an annual Gallery Guide. The Gallery Guide is a handy booklet that can be found free of charge in many locations throughout the city, and it includes a map, images, and descriptions of member organizations. A PDF of the guide is also available at the website at www.grga.org.

With the GRGA, you’ve got all the information you need in one easy location. Make time in your shopping schedule to browse the local galleries and museum shops to find that perfect gift for your loved ones.


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Kerri VanderHoff is a co-creator of the award winning collaborative CulturePassGR.com program and works at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, focusing on a new project called the GRAM GoSite.

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