The Art of the Deal

The Art of the Deal: An exhibit in Sylva puts art within reach with pieces priced at less than $200
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For watercolorist Joseph Meigs, a subject such as a weathered barn merits just as much attention as a peaks-and-sunset panorama. And Jack Stern, a Tuckasegee-based landscape painter, favors detail over grand gesture—especially in his oil miniatures, some as tiny as two inches wide. Normally working in larger formats, these artist are creating small-scale mountain motifs to be featured as part of the Jackson County Visual Arts Association’s annual Under-$200 Art Bazaar, a consortium of artists exhibiting paintings, photography, and crafts. The show unites two trends that were fashionable in Western North Carolina long before the term “recessionista” was born—namely, giving handmade items as presents and supporting local artists. “It doesn’t take too many tours through area art districts to get the misconception that you have to pay a lot for a painting,” says Meigs. But at Sylva’s Gallery One, where the show is being held, “some of us purposefully keep our prices low because we like to have people come back for more. We like to encourage people to be thinking art.” In a season of economic challenges, such a frugal motif feels extra-inspired—call it a generous dose of goodwill. However, the holiday exhibit, in its fifth year, “has always been about gift giving more than anything else,” says JCVAA president Ray Menze. “The point is to make fine art affordable for more people.” Instead of a gilt-framed canvas, think chic matted print: local and accessible, united with a single stroke. Under-$200 Art Bazaar December 4-18 Gallery One 604 W. Main St., Sylva (828) 293-3407


While you’re in the market for handmade gifts, here are more holiday art sales and craft shows across the region. Holiday Arts Extravaganza: Asheville Art Museum; November 17-22; (828) 253-3227; ArtMart: Transylvania Community Arts Council, Brevard; November 23-December 16; (828) 884-2787; Mistletoe Magic Arts & Craft Show: Macon County Community Building, Franklin; November 27 & 28; (828) 524-6630 Holiday Artist Market: The Arts Council of Henderson County, Hendersonville; November 27-December 29; (828) 693-8504; Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree Holiday Market: Cross Street Center, Spruce Pine; December 5 & 6; (828) 765-9033; Guild Artists’ Holiday Sale: Folk Art Center, Asheville; December 5 & 12; (828) 298-7903; Fireside Sale: John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown; December 6; 1-(800) 365-5724;

Written by Melanie McGee Bianchi