Buying local art as holiday gifts supports the community during COVID-19

by Nick Gonzales

For the last eight years, Durango’s Studio & Gallery has put on the Bizarre Bazaar, an event in which the gallery hosts more than a dozen local artists and their works so you can go buy them as holiday gifts. But naturally, that same thing that canceled everything else this year and turned 2020 into the ultimate suckfest effectively canceled it this year.

But COVID-19 can’t kill the spirit of the bazaar, said Tim Kapustka, co-owner of the gallery.

“Even before we did, the Bizarre Bazaar, we always made it our mission during the holidays to try to leverage a little of that societal need — so many people feel like they have to give things, and we could go off on a tangent where that begets a whole lot of waste and ridiculousness — but early on at Studio & we came up with trying to leverage that into giving the gift of local art,” he said.

That sentiment evolved into the Bazaar, which would have happened over the weekend of Dec. 11 to 13 if, you know, microbes weren’t lying in wait to kill us all.

[image:2]Instead, the studio is uploading all of the art it has for sale onto its website. Currently, it has around 200 items representing the 11 artists featured in the gallery. Studio & is also interested in directing shoppers to the artists’ websites to find more items or to put them in touch with the right artists from which to commission art. And, if Studio &’s artists have not created what you have in mind, the gallery will put you in touch with other artists in the community.

“We’re kind of advocating and connecting all working artists in Durango. That isn’t as easy, just because we don’t have such an immediate conduit to all those artists. But we always encourage people, if you don’t see something you like or if you’ve got the perfect idea of a piece of art for your brother or your nephew or something, get in touch with us,” Kapustka said. “We know a lot a lot of the artists in this community and we would love to kind of matchmake in that way.”

If you’re dead set on visiting the gallery, check their hours online first. The gallery closed for the week of Thanksgiving, and is deciding whether or not to open after that based on local health advisories. Studio has canceled all of its recent exhibitions with the exception of its Recess Gallery.

[image:3]The Recess Gallery is an 8-cubic foot section of wall at the back of the studio where works 5 by 7 inches or smaller are featured and cost $100 apiece. For the month of December, the works of Carmen Tafoya, who creates embroidered art, are featured. The Recess Gallery works can be found alongside the rest of the art in the studio in its online shop.

Whatever you do, as you struggle to think of gifts to give your friends and family, remember that like buying from local restaurants and stores, supporting local artists supports the community in a time when many are struggling to get by.

“The artists are out there,” Kapustka said. “Getting in touch with artists via Studio & is one way (to find them), but artists are out there, so search for them however you can. We certainly would love to help people find other artists and can be used as a resource but, like, they’re out there. This town is just disproportionately rich with artistic talent.”

Nick Gonzales

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