Arts and Culture

Artful Giving

Shop local. Shop small. Even better, shop original, one-of-a-kind works of art.

By: Jessi Miller

Dreaming of giving friends and family unique and thoughtful gifts that no one else on the planet has? Save your eyes from screen fatigue and your fingers from searching the keyboard for the hundredth time. Don’t give in to the urge to buy another selfie-stick, VR headset or tablet. Technology is great but there’s more to life and it’s all becoming so, well, common.

It’s time to think outside of the monitor. Original art, created by local artists, is anything but common. A painting or sculpture only happens once. No one out-of-the-country is being paid to make a meaningless piece of plastic that will go out-of-date in a couple of years while putting money into a giant corporation’s coffers. Local artists live among you and their creativity outshines any mass-produced, factory product. Become an art patron for the holidays and give gifts that will genuinely wow people.

Ocala has ample artful giving opportunities for any price range and taste. Here are a few ideas.

Give Artfully Holiday Pop-Up — An Ocala Art Collective
A group of Ocala treasures have teamed up for an art pop-up show, which means not only is the art original, but you can only see and purchase these pieces for a limited time. Talk about a unique gift opportunity! Participating artists include Laurie Kopec, Jaycee Oliver, Sandy Sanders, Julie Shealy, Margaret Watts, Jan Williams and Meagan Gumpert.

The opening reception with whiskey and spirits tasting is Thursday, December 13 from 6-8pm. Hosted at Greiner’s, 405 E. Silver Springs Blvd. in Ocala. The show will remain “popped-up” and open to the public on Thursday, December 13 from 10am-8pm; Friday, December 14 from 10am-1pm; Saturday, December 15 from 10am-5pm; and Sunday, December 16 from 12-4pm.

“The Brick” Gift Gallery
It’s always a pleasure to shop our charming downtown and know that the money stays local. Marion Cultural Alliance’s (MCA) Gift Shop at Brick City Center for the Arts is open year-round and offers a variety of original art items ranging from jewelry to sculpture and paintings, along with the Ocala-famous Horse Fever miniature replicas and mugs. Each item is carefully selected by the Gallery Director with an eye for quality, uniqueness, representation of the area, artistry, and price.

MCA is located at 23 SW Broadway Street, Ocala. Gift Shop hours are Tuesday-Friday 11am-5pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm. Closed Sundays and Mondays. For more info visit

Custom Commissions
If you want something more personal, contact a local artist to have a commission made. Maybe you’d like a meaningful portrait of a family-member or pet, or talk to the artist for a while and give them a sense of what your passions and tastes are so they can come up with a masterpiece that suits you perfectly. To hone-in your search time, here is a suggested list of artists that are members of the Marion Cultural Alliance:

Charitable and Artful Giving
Stumped about what style that special someone would like? Charity is always meaningful. Here is a list of local arts organizations that you can contribute to in someone’s name or buy them a membership.

Remember, art lasts forever, it doesn’t need an upgrade plan. It’s a beautiful investment, with many returns including impressed and thankful loved ones, a growing local economy and all that the arts bring to our community. Go forth and shop art! Om

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