What's in Store: Art gallery has gorgeous gifts


Local art of all kinds can be found at the Southeastern Minnesota Visual Artists Gallery,16 First St. S.W., on the Peace Plaza in downtown Rochester.

"You can see prints, you can see originals; you can see jewelry hanging off the tree, mosaics, handmade shawls, pottery," said Bernadine Jax,OSF, artist and SEMVA board member. "Nativity sets painted on stone, nativity sets carved in wood, holiday cards created using batik technique."

An assortment of gift ideas can be seen in the SEMVA Gallery window displays set up by Wendy Westlake."All three windows are full of gift ideas," said SEMVA artist Jane Belau.

The variety of offerings by more than 80 local artists with price points that fit within an array of budgets makes SEMVA a great place to do holiday and gift shopping.

"I have done close to 800 mandalas — all have a spiritual theme," said Jax. "It's a circle art. The word itself is from Sanskrit and means circle." Jax spends time in meditation and prayer before creating each piece.


"I think people appreciate the effort that goes into a handmade item, they appreciate the artistic abilities of local people," said Jean Lejcher, volunteer at SEMVA and a watercolor artist. "Art is healing, especially in the winter when it's cold and ugly outside. Art is uplifting."

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Saturday; and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Learn more at .

Last-minute gifts

The Quilting Cupboardhas a list of 100 last-minute gift ideas that quilters and sewers can make in time for the holidays. Most of the projects available on the list can be made in a day, and all can be completed in less than two days.

One of the most popular items on the list is the Folded Tree Napkin Pattern. "They're good for a gift, simple to make, and good for your own table decoration," said Ann Kirso, part of the mother-daughter team at the Quilting Cupboard. The pattern is made from cardstock and includes instructions for two folding methods. One yard each of two fabrics will make eight napkins.

Pillow cases are another Kirso recommendation. "Those are a quick and easy gift that can be customized to the recipient based on their likes," she said.

For the full list of 100 gift ideas, visit .

What should one buy for the quilter on their holiday shopping list?


"Gift cards," Kirso said. "It can be difficult for even a quilter to buy for another quilter. We have gift items and gadgets in-store."

The Quilting Cupboard (1611 N. Broadway) is at the River Center Strip Mall at the far end, in fact, the very end shop. Visit online

Festive shopping opportunity

At Exquisite Leather and Luggage's20 Historic Third St. S.W. location, a Holiday Extravaganza is happening from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Take advantage of event-only discounts, hourly drawings, and complimentary food and beverages. Bring friends and make new ones.

"Stop in and check out our new lines of Moda Pelle leather jackets and handbags; and all the way from Mexico, the sought-after two-sided silk monarch scarves," said store General Manager Lynne Riley.

"We also have recently become the authorized Tumi dealer for the Rochester area. We have fabulous offerings ranging from luggage to backpacks and Tumi accessories."

Tom Ashmore Nativity Set

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