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Davis, California

Monday, April 15, 2024

Pence Gallery’s annual Holiday Market aims to showcase local artists

The market space advertises roughly 2,000 different handmade products to choose from 


By SAVANNAH ANNO — arts@theaggie.org


For roughly 15 years, the Pence Gallery has been creating a space for local artists to sell one-of-a-kind gifts at their annual Holiday Market. Spanning from ceramics to fiber arts to handmade soaps, the gallery prides itself on having something for everyone. Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Dec. 24, the holiday market typically supports around 50 local artists, each with their own unique style.

“The idea is to make local artists more visible, but also encourage people to shop local and to support their local [Davis] community,” Katharine Schultz, the gallery’s education and development coordinator said.

The market offers a range of not only products but prices. One artist, Eileen Hendren, offers hand-made trays, bowls and Christmas ornaments that start at $10. Schultz shared some of her own favorite pieces, like artist Kathy Matsumura’s hand-made baby booties and bobbin trees. Decorated with small flowers and ribbons, the pieces most notably showcase the beauty of sustainable creation.

“She also uses recycled cashmere and wool to make new scarves, so I love that she takes things that maybe were discarded and repurposes them into something new and unique,” Schultz said.

The Pence also makes an effort to post weekly staff picks of products from the market on their Instagram account as well as their email list. The most recent choice came from Gallery Associate Loraine Watson-Fox who noted the whimsical nature of ceramicist Liz Webb’s animal figurines.

“They remind me of childhood toys: ‘The Wind in the Willows,’ Beatrix Potter and classic Victorian Christmas decorations,” Watson-Fox said. “I think they would make a wonderful gift if you can bear to part with them after buying one!”

Beyond small decor items, winter accessories and figurines, the holiday market is also home to a vast array of framed prints, paintings and larger ceramic vases. Although the market is located in a singular gallery space, it can hold roughly 2,000 products at once, according to Schultz.

After surveying the market space, visitors are encouraged to explore the rest of the Pence Gallery, which has been open and creating space for regional artists since 1975. As a non-profit art organization, admission to the Pence is free for everyone.

“I feel like a lot of people, especially UC Davis students, don’t know that the Pence exists,” Schultz said. “So if they’re looking for somewhere that’s free just to look around at art, and also to find gifts — that I would say are pretty affordable — for family, they can come here. They’ll find lots of handmade, local things.”

The rest of the year, the Pence hosts workshops, family art programs and receptions for Davis’ monthly 2nd Friday ArtAbout. Located in the middle of downtown, the gallery serves as a center for local creatives to feel celebrated by their community and aims to provide a space where everyone is given the opportunity to participate in the arts.

Written by: Savannah Anno — arts@theaggie.org


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