Buy from Detroit artists this holiday season instead of large corporations

I was so close to getting my mother to agree not to exchange gifts for Christmas this year.

I’m trying to simplify my life and don’t like accumulating random stuff. In the past, I’ve asked for things that I need, but I always seem to get a gift that will get banished to the depths of my closet in a few months.

I could have explained how the pagan origins of this holiday have all been lost in a consumerist frenzy, but she wasn’t going to understand that. So I suggested instead of giving gifts, we save our money for a future vacation or tattoos instead. She was into the idea until her fiance started whining about not opening presents on Christmas. Oh well, I tried.

So here I am, having to figure out how to avoid buying from corporations that I don’t ethically support. Amazon doesn’t need your money (the company is under fire for its military contracts with Israel amid concerns of ethnic cleansing in Gaza) but local artists do. The CEO of Target is still going to be able to pay their bills if you don’t spend money there, but working artists, many of whom don’t have “day jobs,” rely on their collectors and supporters to survive.

Going to art exhibits and museums to appreciate the work is great, but putting money in the artist’s pocket is even better and if your friends don’t appreciate art, you need better friends. If you want to spend your money more ethically, here are a few holiday art shows around Detroit where you can buy something meaningful and circulate your dollars locally.

Annex Gallery at 333 Midland, Holidaze II
The holiday market and art show at this Highland Park gallery is coming up this weekend with paintings, tie-dye, prints, jewelry, ceramics, and more. There will also be food, drinks, and music. Shoppers are encouraged to bring an unwrapped gift to place under the tree for Highland Park children.

2-8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9; 12-6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 10; Annex Gallery at 333 Midland, 333 Midland, Highland Park; 333midland.com.

Irwin House, Talented and Gifted
Irwin House Gallery’s fourth annual “Gift of Art” exhibition presents art pieces for every budget with everything priced below $500. This show features over 100 original works by more than 40 local artists, both emerging and established. The work includes photography, paintings, sculpture, mixed media work, and more.

Until Dec. 17; Irwin House Gallery; 2351 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; irwinhousegallery.org.

Detroit Artists Market, Art for the Holidays
The Detroit Artist Market has the work of over 100 local artists available in their holiday market. In addition to visual art, Art for the Holidays includes handmade jewelry, ceramics, and other artisan goods for everyone on your list.

Until Dec. 23; Detroit Artists Market, 4719 Woodward Ave., Detroit; detroitartistsmarket.org.

Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Holiday Shop
Over 200 artists are represented in this holiday show. You can buy handmade soaps, candles, prints, paintings, ornaments, wood carvings, and more.

Until Dec. 20; Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center; 1516 S. Cranbrook Rd., Birmingham; bbartcenter.org.

Playground Detroit, COMM[UNITY] II
This isn’t a holiday show, but the art is for sale. The group show includes primarily painting and photography and celebrates Playground Detroit’s six-year anniversary. Prices range from around $150 to about $6,500 so be ready to spend.

Until Jan. 14; Playground Detroit, 2845 Gratiot Ave., Detroit; playgrounddetroit.com.

Blackbird Gallery, A Fine Arts Holiday Market
Blackbird’s Holiday art market is hosted on Sunday, Dec. 10 and Friday, Dec. 15. It includes work by Lori Ellsworth, Geno Harris, Amadeus Roy, Oneita Jackson, Ifoma Stubbs, Maria Barrow, and more, plus special works by Shirley Woodson. There will be ornaments by local artists for sale as well.

11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 10; 5-9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 15; Blackbird Gallery, 36216 Freedom Rd., Farmington Hills, ​​blackbird-gallery.com.

The Gallery at Brewery Park, Merry and Bright Holiday Market
This smaller show features the work of 20 artists and offers mainly paintings and prints for sale. The gallery is located in the Brewery Park Corporate Campus’s Crain Communications Building.

Until Jan. 1; The Gallery at Brewery Park, 1155 Gratiot Ave., Detroit; facebook.com/thegalleryatbrewerypark.

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