The Gallori in
Oconomowoc sells handcrafts and artwork during the
holiday season to customers looking for a personal
and one-of-a-kind gift that can't be found in a big
Photo courtesy of Lori Boldig
- For those searching for a gift that is unique, personal and
lasts a long time, local art gallery owners say holiday shoppers
need look no further than handcrafted and oneof- a-kind artwork.
who aren’t avid art junkies may not immediately think to give a
piece of art as a gift, though, and others may shy away from
artwork because of widely varying tastes, not realizing the right
piece can be had if enough time is spent hunting.
is more personal; it’s not a generic gift,” said Lori Boldig,
owner of The Gallori in Oconomowoc. “Art truly lasts forever and
I think giving something unique and personal is the spirit of
Gallori and other art galleries in Waukesha County experience
their busiest season around Christmas time as customers search for
the perfect gift. Gallery owners prepare by making sure there’s something
for everyone in every price range. They separate themselves from
big box stores by providing customers with original gifts that
cannot be found anywhere else. “The fact that it’s
an original piece of art, it’s made in the U.S., it’s usually
made locally, sets it apart from things you’d find at any big
box store,” said Lynn Gaffey, owner of Almont Gallery in
downtown Waukesha. “There’s more meaning behind it.”
wish lists are often full of items that can be ordered online or
found in a big box store, Boldig said, but the true spirit of
giving is to present a family member or friend with something they
wouldn’t otherwise buy for themselves.
think it’s always nice to give a gift that they didn’t know
they wanted until they got it and saw it,” Boldig said, adding
that a gift of art doesn’t have to be a big painting — it
could be a handmade coffee mug, painted salt and pepper shakers or
a woven blanket.
biggest thing is not to be afraid to walk into an art gallery
looking for a gift, said Joan Skimmons, owner of River’s End
Gallery with locations in Elm Grove and Waukesha.
said people may shy away from galleries because of varying tastes
in artwork and the high costs associated with original pieces, but
her gallery works with artists to get prices down to the cost of a
those unsure where to begin when picking out artwork for
someone else, Skimmons said she starts by asking questions about
the recipient — what their interests are, if they like lots of
color or a certain medium.
said selecting a piece of wall art for someone else can be a
little more tricky because the gift-giver must know the exact
style and taste of the recipient.
handcrafts are easier because you can give them something that
speaks to their personality,” she said. “Wood bowls, blown
glass and picture frames are still one-of-a-kind, but they are
easier than a painting and can be equally sentimental.”
in case a gift of art misses its mark, many galleries are adopting
return policies similar to those of big box stores, Skimmons said,
whose gallery offers returns, loans and even layaway for the