OWOSSO — Those who are looking for unique and affordable holiday gifts might want to check out the Shiawassee Art Center’s 32nd annual Holiday Along the River, which gets underway Saturday and runs through Dec. 31.

More than 80 Michigan artists will be displaying and selling original artwork, one-of-a-kind gifts and holiday decorations at Holiday Along the River, at 206 Curwood Castle Drive.

The event kicks off from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with free receptions open to the public featuring take-and-go snacks and live piano music by Richard Lahmann. SAC members get 20 percent off on a holiday show item during the receptions.

“This is such a unique place, and when artists from all over Michigan place their work here, it gives them a creative outlet and they get such great support from the community,” said Jennifer Ross, SAC exhibits director. “That makes it even more special.”

Among many others, artists will include jewelry artist Mary Warner-Stone of Durand, Glen Lewis of St. Johns, SAC board member Linda Hill of Owosso and Deb Cholewicki of Holt, who has been creating fiber art for about 25 years.

For the SAC holiday show, and bearing in mind this year’s tough economy, Cholewicki said she has made smaller wall hangings and holiday ornaments to sell.

“I love color, making a visual feast for the eyes,” she said. “Most people like to touch them, and I’m totally OK with it.”

Cholewicki said she generally starts out by selecting a piece of wood — driftwood or some “funky, gnarly” chunk of wood, adding to it natural fabrics combined with hand-dyed, “heavy, chunky” art yarns.

Her attention to detail is microscopic, extending to making sure all of the varied colors “transition nicely” from one to the next.

Cholewicki has been exhibiting at SAC for about six years, having been recruited by former exhibits director Karen Marumoto.

“The facility is beautiful and certainly the community of artists there is very supportive,” she said. “The holiday show is a wonderful way to celebrate artists.”

The arts center has already been festooned with holiday lights by Sunburst Gardens, and the sponsor of this year’s Holiday Along the River is Memorial Healthcare.

Specialty gift items and baskets can be purchased at the arts center or online at shiawasseearts.org/Holiday-show.

The items include a VIP wine-tasting for six at Chateau Chantal Winery and Inn in Mission Point; a seaplane flight over Lake Michigan and the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes and dinner at Red Ginger Restaurant in Traverse City.

The SAC is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Featured is the artwork of local and statewide artists in eight galleries, including the Frieseke Gallery and a specialty gift shop. There is no admission charge.

Celebrating its 48th anniversary this year, the SCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate, entertain and enrich the quality of life in the community.

For more information, call the arts center at (989) 723-8354 or visit shiawasseearts.org.

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