· First stop should be the 5TH STREET GALLERY (55 W. Fifth St., Downtown) to gaze upon pieces from the gallery's member artists, who include glass artists, painters, sculptors, photographers, jewelry creators and many more. The "artists showing artists" gallery features new member artwork. In addition, 5th Street has new work from Pendleton Center Artists and other local artists who've created special pieces in honor of the holidays. 513-579-9333 or www.5thstgallery.com.
· A stop at 1305 GALLERY (1305 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, pictured) should be next on your list, as the gallery features the second annual Yuletide 2006 exhibition, which offers a bevy of gift-ready items from 15 local artists. Gifts looking for a good home include ornaments, candles, glass pieces, wearable items, holiday cards and even candy -- all hand-crafted or homemade. In addition, each artist has created personalized gift wrapping for their pieces, providing the perfect packaging for that perfect handmade gift, which of course saves you the extra step of wrapping it. 1305 Gallery offers extended weekend hours for the next month and will be open for the Second Sunday on Main event Dec. 10. 513-374-5618.
· Head to Hyde Park Square for a little shopping, and I think you'll find your desire for classic gifts satisfied at the MILLER GALLERY (2715 Erie Ave.) as they present their annual holiday exhibition, Objects of Desire XV. Featured this year are gallery favorites Ron Monsma, Ron Johnson, Pang Jen and Ober Rae Starr Livingstone, among others. Serious collectors as well as holiday gift-givers will find provocative pastels and oils, black and white sketches, pencil drawings and more as a part of this holiday tradition, now in its 15th year. Looking for some new faces? Artists Theodore Gall, Robert Ash, Marie Gibbons, Bil Starke and John Whipple are new to the gallery, presenting figurative sculpture, ceramics and glass.
· Experience some traditional holiday celebrations when you visit the TAFT MUSUEM OF ART (316 Pike St., Downtown) for An Antique Christmas. The exhibition spotlights ornaments and decorations from mid-19th through early 20th century history, transforming the historic home into a scene from a simpler time. German trees made of wire and goose feathers are trimmed with rare ornaments, including Czechoslovakian beaded glass, Japanese Santa candy containers, American paper scrap ornaments and Pennsylvania Dutch cotton batting ornaments, among others. View a German village scene ("Putz") and marvel at an arrangement of "Belsnickles" (Father Christmas figures), among many other early toys and decorations on display. And after you visit, hop on the Holly Jolly Downtown Trolley for free shuttle service to a variety of downtown holiday attractions along Fourth and Fifth streets.
So get going, and have an artful holiday season! ©