Beautiful things are in your future and goodies too.
Artist Vivian Yang said the event is fun.
“We just have friends who bring in their stuff,” she said. “We call ourselves Art Citizens who all make things. We are artists and crafters.”
Originally, Yang had a pottery studio in the building at 407 W. Main Street.
“It was mine and Beth’s (cousin Beth Lo) studio,” Yang said. “We bought the building in 1980 and were so excited we said, ‘let’s have a party.’”
Yang and Lo began the open house as a way to sell pottery and the fun and often whimsical creations of their friends.
“Every year we continued to have a holiday party,” Yang said. “We invited crafty friends, covered the tables and shelves and just had fun. People would come, bring whatever they had just to show it off. Mostly, our friends didn’t have any other retail outlet. We got to shop too and it just grew from there.”
The building was their pottery studio for close to 20 years. When Yang built her home, she moved the pottery making studio too. Her cousin, Beth Lo, became a professor of ceramics at the University of Montana and moved to Missoula.
The building on Main Street became a center for art and the holiday open house continued.
“We started with having each of the artists who had work in here ‘mind the shop’ for one day a week,” Yang said. “Mary Lakes organized that. She had her sewing studio upstairs and was making pillows and futons. She had the idea for a year-round retail outlet. ”
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Art City has become a fixture of Hamilton. The eclectic craft store is known for having items that show the creator’s touch.
“The items are definitely handmade and kind of old-fashioned,” Yang said. “Everything definitely shows the hand of the maker, even if we have note card it is not a commercial print. A lot of our cards are photographs of our artists’ works then put onto a note card.”
The only note card that are commercially printed are by Yang’s aunt, Kiahsuang Shen Lo, who passed away in February this year and by Jennifer Ogden.
“She has to because her collages are huge,” Yang said. “The work that sells the best here is what shows the hand of the maker instead of it going to a commercial.”
Some of the artistic work is created above the shop in the studios above but it also is made in artist’s home studios, garages and kitchen tables.
The Art Citizens and friends invite everyone to celebrate: Mary Byers, Linda Sulewski, Shirley Sylvester, Joe Thompson, Mel Holloway, Lorna Gabel, Rebecca Dane, John Schneeberger, Dulcie Belanger, Pam Watts, Jennifer Ogden, Al Izzio, Karen Coombs, Kim Milstead, Marilyn Morris and Annie Allen.
The small Ornament Tree hangs in the center of the room and features new handmade ornaments and old favorites.
Pottery artist Kim Milstead has been a member of Art City for about six years and was originally Yang’s student. She creates functional work, like bowls and cups, but also makes wall hanging plaques.
Art City is an artist run gallery featuring locally made art and craft work at 407 W. Main St. in Hamilton. For December, open hours are Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the holiday season. It is also open by chance or appointment, call 406-363-4764.
But you’ll want to attend the Holiday Open House on Sunday. Meet the artists, enjoy snacks and the creations of artsy and crafty friends and the Open House that has continued for 40 years.