Addicted To Art

Addicted To Art

Courtesy Photo
Marcella Thompson’s pottery is always a bestseller at the Community Creative Center’s Holiday Art Market.

Annual holiday sale benefits Community Creative Center


“The problem with clay,” says Marcella Thompson, “is it’s like opioids — one class, and you’re hopelessly addicted.”

It took just a year after her first class at the Community Creative Center in Fayetteville for Thompson to convert an old greenhouse into an art studio. But a decade later, she still doesn’t consider herself an artist.

“I’m a fair to middlin’ technician,” she says. “I don’t make expensive art pottery, just functional things someone might like in their kitchen or bird houses for their yard.”

Thompson, retired from teaching at the University of Arkansas, has been selling her clay creations for many years at the CCC’s annual Holiday Gift Market. What started “basically as a way for open studio members to sell stuff” on the first Saturday in December has grown into a monthlong showcase up the hill at the Walton Arts Center. Patrons like it, Thompson says, because they can shop before and after productions and during intermissions. “And it’s designed for people to buy Christmas gifts,” she adds. “We have some expensive art, but we’ve tailored it as a gift market — $20 or $30 for something of really good quality.”

Courtesy Photo
Alice Brewer was inspired to make something out of the branches of a crape myrtle devastated by a great ice storm in Northwest Arkansas.

Beyond the location, the biggest change in the show in the last few years has been opening it to any artist who wishes to apply. A juror chooses the exhibitors, and Alice Brewer, an artist herself, curates the way the McBride Studio looks as a gallery.

“I look for something unique from every artist,” Brewer says. “Things that showcase their talent and create an array of selections for people to choose from — glass and wood, textiles and two-dimensional art, jewelry. I think we have a real organic quality to the show.”

Brewer is herself a sculptor, using branches to make unique lamps. That idea was born the winter of the great ice storm in Northwest Arkansas, when her crape myrtle tree was leveled. “I didn’t want that crape myrtle to go to waste!”

The Holiday Art Market allows artists to make money, but it also raises money for arts education programming, says Barb Putman, executive director at the Community Creative Center. And, she points out, Thompson was the biggest seller last year.

“I make what I like, and if somebody else likes it, it’s fine,” says Thompson with a chuckle. “But I am a Gemini, so every year, I have to make something new.”



Holiday Art Market

WHEN — Surrounding Walton Arts Center productions and on select dates through Dec. 23

WHERE — McBride Studio at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville

COST — Admission is free; artwork is for sale


BONUS — In addition to hours surrounding productions at the WAC, the market will be open from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 7, Dec. 14 and Dec. 19-23.

Categories: Galleries