December 17, 2009

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For the arts lover
Some gift ideas of the creative kind

By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

What do you get for the person who has everything?

An experience.

The Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord tries to attract holiday shoppers with its annual holiday gift pack offer. If you buy a gift certificate for $25 or more by Dec. 24, you can then buy one ticket and get another ticket free for selected performances at the presenting house, said Angela King of the Capitol Center (ccanh.com).

Some people just want to give the gift certificate and they keep the tickets, and some give the tickets but keep the gift certificate: “It’s really a win-win,” King said. 

One deal you might also want to keep for yourself is the “holiday flex pack” from the professional Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell, Mass. This is a great gift for theater-goers who seek thought-provoking stage shows with an Equity cast (www.merrimackrep.org).

MRT tickets can cost more than $50. But with a holiday flex pack you get four tickets for $100, or six for $150, to be redeemed in any combination. So four people could attend one show for about half price, or a couple could see two shows, etc.

The Music Hall in Portsmouth offers gift certificates in any denomination and also offers gift memberships.

“Giving the gift of the arts, that’s a great idea,” said  Kathleen Soldati. She also recommends tickets as gifts. The presenting house just announced an Art Garfunkel performance for March, she pointed out. They also run films almost nightly. Visit themusichall.org.

If you buy tickets as a gift, keep in mind they may not be refundable, so ask before you buy. Capitol Center members can exchange their tickets within 24 hours of a show, but if you are not a member, the sale is final.

The Palace Theatre in Manchester also offers gift certificates, a great idea since tickets are not refundable there. Excluding bar tabs, Palace gift certificates can be used in other ways at the Palace, including for youth camps, said Cate Burns.

Most area performing arts education programs offer gift certificates, useful if you want to contribute to your niece’s drama camp bill or send a friend to guitar lessons. Peacock Players, Majestic Theatre, Acting Loft, Henniker Youth Theatre, Manchester Community Music School, Concord Community Music School and Bedford Youth Performing Company are a few.

You can find gift certificates for other performing groups, such as the Nashua Symphony & Chorus (www.nashuasymphony.org). The New Hampshire Philharmonic is going the route of merchandising. There’s a link to their Web shop at nhphil.org. The Palace Theatre has started offering a new Palace marquee ornament.

For other tangible gifts, visit some of the area’s galleries. Many like to fill their walls with artwork priced and/or sized for giving in this season, such as East Colony of Fine Arts miniatures show through Dec. 24 in Manchester (621-7400, www.eastcolony.com), or the miniatures show at the Sharon Arts Downtown Galleries through Dec. 31 in Peterborough (www.sharonarts.org, 924-2787). The New Hampshire Art Association hosts its “Art for Holiday Giving” exhibit at its Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery in Portsmouth (431-4230, www.nhartassociation.org) through Jan. 8. Peruse Hippo’s Art Listings for more gallery exhibits.

You should also be able to find jewelry and fine craft at many local galleries.

The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen has more than 700 juried members. One of their retail galleries is in Concord at 36 North Main St. (228-8171). 

New items are coming in regularly, and “the neat thing about it is it’s local,” spokesperson Pam Sullivan said. You’re buying from a New Hampshire neighbor who makes a living from their craft, she said. It’s also a good source for handmade ornaments including the League’s annual ornament. This year’s is “The Gift” by Joseph DeRobertis. The League shops also sell gift certificates. You can give a supporting membership, which offers 10 percent off at retail shops as well as free admission to the Annual Craftsmen’s Fair in August for the supporting member.  

Another gift membership idea is one to the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, which entitles the member or couple to free admission for the year. The museum shop in the lobby offers things like art deco serving platters, New England-made wooden bowls, note cards, art books, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired items, jewelry and children’s games and art kits. Currier gift certificates can be used at the shop or at the Currier Art Center for classes or workshops (669-6144, www.currier.org).

A source for supplies for an artist on your list is New Hampshire Institute of Art’s Camera Shop & Art Supply Store in Manchester (836-2510, www.nhia.edu).

If you are looking for a family portrait as a gift or for your holiday cards, there is no shortage of professional portrait photographers in the area. One place to search is the New Hampshire Professional Photographers Association at www.nhppa.com. The Picker Building in Nashua houses the studios of Sid Ceaser (www.ceaserphotography.com), Dan Splaine (www.testoftimephoto.com), Albert Wilkinson (891-1166), Grant Morris (grantmorrisphoto.com) and others (thepickerbuilding.wordpress.com). Langer Place in Manchester (www.langerplace.com) houses portrait studios including Dachowski Photography (www.dachowskiphotography.com).
For quick turnover, Mary’s Closet costuming is branching out with portrait photography in Manchester. They provide a CD that day with your images but you do the printing — and if you want, you can dress up like Santa. Call 566-5790 for details.

You could also try the members of SOPHA, Studio of Photographic Arts in Manchester (www.thesopha.com). SOPHA is one of the studios that also offer photo printing services.



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Using nature as a canvas
Waxwork
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Wyeth Works Return To The Currier