President of the Penticton Arts Council Tim Tweed.

President of the Penticton Arts Council Tim Tweed.

Arts Matter: look local for the holidays

Penticton Arts Council president Timothy Tweed explores unique local gifts as the holidays approach.

  • Nov. 2, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Halloween is barely over, and the biggest retail shopping season of the year is already upon us!

As you are reading this, store shelves are being stocked and re-stocked with all manner of holiday gifts and gadgets. Surveys indicate that the “average”

Canadian will spend about $1,500 on shopping during the winter holidays — including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, as well as others. That figure includes food and beverages, entertainment and gift items.

I want you to close your eyes and try something … think back to all the things you spent your hard-earned money on during the holidays last year (can you even remember the gifts you purchased for others nearly a year ago?). Now, thinking about all those gifts — how many of them were hand made? How many of those gifts were locally made? How many of those gifts were made by local artists and artisans? If I had to guess  I would say, in all likelihood, very few. That’s OK, I’m not here to judge or shame you, we’re all bombarded relentlessly by the media to purchase all the latest-and-greatest gadgets released just in time for holiday gift giving.

What I would encourage you to do this year is to think more about the long-term value of your holiday gift purchases. Is it a well-made product or cheaply made and mass-produced? Is it something that you can buy locally, rather than online? Even more importantly, what does your gift say about you to the person that you are giving it to? Does it say “This gift is as unique as you are,” or does it say “I just needed to find a cheap gift in a hurry?”

There are many, many opportunities this time of year to find more thoughtful, hand made, artisanal gifts in Penticton. These are just a few:

Okanagan Makers Christmas Fair: Nov. 5 & 6 (Penticton Trade & Convention Centre)

Penticton Art Gallery’s Under $500 Art Sale: Nov. 18 thru Dec. 24

SS Sicamous Christmas Market Nov. 19 & 20

Saint Germain Café & Gallery’s POSTCRD Show & Sale: Nov. 24 thru Dec. 1

Martin Street Gallery ’s – Waxing Poetic Encaustic Exhibition: Nov. 25 thru Jan. 4

Leir House Christmas Art & Craft Show : Dec 10 & 11 (Leir house)

Shatford Centre/Okanagan School of the Arts : Why not give the gift of art classes?

Check their website for upcoming courses.

Tumbleweed Gallery : This artist run co-op gallery always has many pieces for sale

Penticton Academy of Music : Giving children the gift of music is something that nurtures their mind, body and soul. See website for more details.

There are many, many other local galleries and shops with artwork for sale — be sure to check them out for unique holiday gifts!

They say when it comes to gift giving, that it’s the thought that counts. So, make that thought count – give the gift of the arts this year! Dollar for dollar, giving art as a gift yields far more long-term memories and appreciation that most other gifts. Long after those other gifts are lost, broken or forgotten — the art you gifted will still be enjoyed and appreciated for many years to come!

If you would like to get in touch, please email me at

Timothy Tweed is the President of the Penticton and District Community Arts Council’s board of directors.



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