Posts Tagged With: shop local

Don’t duke it out for discounts

You may have seen the countless memes about trampling others for deals merely hours after saying thanks for what we already have.

Yes, Black Friday can become an addiction. Yes, the deals are alluring. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to spend hours with my aunt, whom I rarely see, in the wee minutes of the morning dressed in tactical gear on a hunt for the greatest deal of all time. Trust me. I’ve hidden on Kmart shelves, perched like a jungle cat, about to pounce on the next person that cuts me in line. I don’t care if it is my Kindergarten teacher.

Now that I’ve seen the light of shopping small, however, I’m reminded of the commercials where the buyers miss the drama in car-buying, so the salesmen create it for them. Let me lead you down the path of not just shopping small, but shopping simple. Sit back, take your time, sip some coffee from a Main Street store. Relax.

In my recent quest to become the ultimate shopping small guru, I’ve heard many an excuse as to why it just can’t be done. Excuse me, while I scream into a pillow.

Excuse #1:
“It takes too much time”
You spend hours around a table after eating your turkey, searching, documenting, planning and mapping your quest for the best discounts, right? So why can’t you visit one or two stores that may be a few miles away? What if we spent that much time and effort thanking the people and small business owners of our communities?

That brings me to the next excuse I often hear.

Excuse #2:
“There aren’t any stores near me”
Don’t give me that. But, for your sake, let’s say there really aren’t. There are way too many online options nowadays. To start, take a look at our Pinterest page and see what you like. There’s links to order from artists on our pins. If you find an artist you like, email them, visit their Etsy sites. It’s way simpler than getting in a punching match with a soccer mom on Black Friday for the last 5 percent off stuffed bear at a mega-chain.
Below is a handy directory to help you find some small businesses near you.
Season’s Greetings at Kentucky Crafted Stores and Galleries
Make your shopping fun by attending special events at retailers known for carrying gifts handmade in Kentucky.

Excuse #3:
“Black Friday is a family tradition”
As I said before, much fun and memorable experiences were had back in my Black Friday dealin’ days. However, there are exceptional happenings across Kentucky for Small Business Saturday (and on into January) that the entire family can enjoy. Several retailers are hosting special events and promotions throughout the holiday season throughout our state. Here’s some new traditions for ya’ll:
excuse 3
Artists’ Open Studios and Holiday Shows

Kentucky artists adjudicated into Kentucky Arts Council programs will be hosting art tours and open studios as well as participating in exhibits and shows during the holiday season.
special events at artisan center
Special Events at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
In addition to being a cornucopia for gifts handmade in Kentucky, the Artisan Center will have a busy schedule of artist demonstrations, book signings and musical performances throughout the season.
Celebrating the Season in Performance
Taking a break from the shopping holidaze might be the perfect therapy for getting in the spirit of the season. Check out this schedule of performances by Performing Arts Directory artists and at Kentucky Arts Partners performing arts venues.

Excuse #4:
“Items at small businesses cost too much”
Use your time wisely this week. Start calling retailers (listed above) and ask about their holiday and Small Business Saturday specials. Chances are they’ll cut ya a deal. You just have to search them out, much like you would in a sales paper. Below is another way we’ve laid out a gift giving shopping guide to get you started.
Great Gift Ideas
Paintings, prints, books and craft by distinguished Kentucky artists who have received the Kentucky Arts Council’s Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship Award make the perfect gift for the art lover on your list.

Remember, if when you find timeless treasures from a small shop, post it to Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, and use #giveagiftky to show us what you found. Chances are we’ll re-post on our social networking sites.

Megan Williamson Fields, communications assistant

Categories: Other | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Give a gift from Kentucky: six ways to black(out) Friday

Yesterday I got home, started some dinner and turned on the TV for some background noise. As I stirred and chopped, I heard the unnecessarily severe headline cue for the CBS evening news. Scott Pelley began listing the top stories in order from least scary and depressing to most scary and depressing. Somewhere in the middle was the correlation among the impasse of Congress, consumer confidence, Black Friday and our pending doom in 2012.

What’s wrong with this picture? Why is traditional media talking about how we will all fly into a tailspin if black Friday doesn’t go well when all of social media is abuzz with “shop local,” “buy local,” “buy handmade,” “don’t buy on credit,” etc., campaigns. Many things have changed in the new economic climate, and one of those things is this: even if we (as a nation) need to use Black Friday to make economic predictions for 2012, we (as a people) no longer need the culture of it to influence our values, day-to-day practices and happiness.

By all means, go buy things and boost the economy. Just treat your money like you worked hard for it and you want it to remain as close to you as possible. If it stays near home it’s probably that much easier for it to return, right? The arts council will even make it easy for you.

Kentucky Arts Council Facebook Game

I know some people will go through Black Friday withdrawal. I too am addicted to the thrill of the hunt and a good bargain. Luckily, there are other ways to get your fix of shopping fun and games. From Monday, Nov. 21 to Sunday, Nov. 27, post a picture of you shopping for, purchasing or wrapping a gift made by a Kentucky artist (painter, writer, potter, musician, etc.) to the Kentucky Arts Council Facebook page. “Share” the photo with your friends, and encourage them to “like” it. The two pictures that receive the most likes by Nov. 30 will win their own gift made by a Kentucky artist. Now that’s a Black Friday deal!

SkyPac Programming Director Jan Zarr started early by giving a Bob Brigl gift to himself. It still totally counts.

Open Studies and Group Shows

Open studios and Group Shows are more than just a shop. Many provide light refreshments and all of them offer the chance to talk to the artist about his or her work. Trips to studios and shows can even be a great opportunity to entertain out-of-town guests. Check out Ed’s open studio experiences.

Join Kentucky Crafted's Matthew Gaddie and other clay artists at Louisville's Original Clay Sale on Saturday at the Clifton Center, 2117 Payne St., Louisville, Ky.

Kentucky Arts Council Twitter Feed 

Follow the Kentucky Arts Council’s Twitter feed @KYArtsCouncil or the hash tag #giveagivefromky. Artists and small business owners are tweeting sales, open studios, new products and commission opportunities.

That little blue Twitter bird has nothing on Caroline Zama's fat sassy chickens.

Shop Small Business Saturday
This American Express campaign encourages consumers to spend Saturday shopping at businesses owned and operated in their own communities, supporting local enterprise. The arts council has compiled a list of small businesses recommended by the Kentucky Crafted artists who have products in their stores. It is organized by city, so look for a location near you.

Holiday Gift Guide

Kentucky Monthly’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide is an annual supplement to their publication. If you can get the print version, I highly recommend it. As a matter of fact, a subscription to Kentucky Monthly might be a great gift idea! In the meantime, we can share our portion online.

Don't forget the appropriate seasonal music! This is just one of several recordings from the Holiday Gift Guide.

Call Us!

To top off these tips, I would like to add a message from Charla Reed, our partnerships and initiatives director. She writes:

“Thanksgiving is a time of reflection. We think about how we’ve been blessed with our families, our lives, our relationships, our homes and all the other wonderful gifts we receive. We also reflect on who we are, our goals, who we aspire to be and how we can give back. I grew up in Berea, a very college oriented community. I remember having international students celebrating Thanksgiving at my house. We were sort of their surrogate family.The Kentucky Arts Council is committed to our family of artists in the Commonwealth. We want to be that surrogate family and offer assistance to our artist communities in Kentucky. We are thankful to have them.”

I guarantee that if you call us, we will try to find someone in our “family” who makes, plays or writes something perfect for someone in your family. That type of connection doesn’t deserve the moniker “Black Friday.”

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director

Categories: Performing Arts, Visual Arts | Tags: , , ,

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