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Centre County galleries offer unique and meaningful gift options

by on December 07, 2018 2:23 PM


What do you get the person who already has everything? Too often, we turn to or a big box department store to pick up something generic, something a million other people also have. If you’re looking for a memorable, one-of-a-kind gift that your loved one can treasure for a long time to come, consider a piece of art. There are many local places offering unique art of all kinds and in all price ranges.

Douglas Albert Gallery 

107 McAllister Alley, State College

Every corner of this quirky little art shop is overflowing with artwork ranging from fine art paintings to handblown Italian Murano glass pieces to funky sculptures and handcrafted jewelry, and even Yafa Italian pens.

The wide variety of artwork comes in a wide variety of prices.

“If someone can’t find a gift here in their price range, they aren’t looking hard enough,” owner Douglas Albert said.

One thing that sets this gallery apart from other local art shops is the fact that the over 200 artists and craftspeople whose works are on display here come from all over the world. The store has offered fair trade items from Africa and elsewhere for many years, and Albert feels strongly about supporting individual artists as much as possible.

Albert has been in business for 38 years and prides himself on going above and beyond what others do to find great pieces of art to sell in his store.

“The artwork in here stands the test of time,” Albert said.

In addition to year-round artwork, holiday shoppers will find some interesting seasonal art pieces, including classic Bethany Lowe statues and Cool brand snow globes.

Douglas Albert Gallery hours are noon to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.


Uncle Eli’s Artist Marketplace and Gift Emporium 

129 E. Beaver Ave.

Also owned by Douglas Albert, Uncle Eli’s has been in business since 1970, making it the oldest downtown business that is still under the ownership of the original proprietor.

The shop offers many rare posters and hard-to-find prints, and many eclectic gifts, cards and knick-knacks. Uncle Eli’s is also the place to find high-quality paint and art supplies, and includes a custom frame shop.

Uncle Eli’s is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.


Palmer Museum of Art 

Curtin Road, University Park

Friends of the Palmer Museum will be holding their annual Holiday Art and Ornament Sale on Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Dec. 9 from noon to 4 p.m. According to Elizabeth Laurenzana, president of the Friends of the Palmer Board, this is the first year that the sale will be taking place on two days.

The event serves as a fundraiser for the Friends of the Palmer Museum’s educational outreach programs, and features a glass ornament by nationally known artist James Hayes. Only 75 ornaments have been made especially for this event, and each ornament features the colors of the tiles from the columns in front of the Palmer Museum.
The sale will also feature 10 other local artists with work done in a variety of media, including recycled metal, hammered metal, fused glass, ceramic and more.

The gift shop in the museum will remain open as well, and features fine art items from around the world.

Parking is available in the Nittany Parking Deck near the Nittany Lion Inn.


State College Framing Company and Gallery 

160 Rolling Ridge Drive, State College

John McQueary, owner of State College Framing Company, believes that a custom frame job is truly a gift that can last forever.

“If you frame a varsity letter, sports memorabilia, photographs, a kid’s work of art — it’s not something that’s gone in a day or a week or a year; it’s something that has a lot of personal meaning and lasts a lifetime,” he said.

During the month of December, the shop is offering discounts of $50 off a $150 custom frame project or $20 off a $60 custom frame project. Gift certificates are also available.

In addition, the shop will be selling works by local artists, including jewelry by Elizabeth Hay and Carol Korte; hand-bound journals and books by Lisa Baumgartner; pottery by Christine Stangel; and photography by Gerald Lang and Jennifer Tucker.

Customers who make a purchase during the month of December can register to win a prize from a local business such as Wiscoy, College Gardens, Firestone, Ace Hardware, Honeybaked Ham, Tait Farm and others.


The Gallery Shop 

824 Pike St., Lemont

The Gallery Shop showcases over 50 Central Pennsylvania artists representing a wide variety of art forms — fiber, jewelry, pottery, wall art, wood and glass. 

During December, a special holiday show will be featured in the atrium, and every Saturday, the public is invited to stop in for an open house featuring free refreshments. Some of the special holiday items featured include beautiful handmade Christmas cards, wintry watercolor paintings, and holiday ornaments of glass, pewter, ceramic and fiber.

On Dec. 14 and 15, the shop will partner with the Art Alliance next door for a special Pop-Up Sale, featuring an expanded selection of works by Gallery artists.

The Gallery Shop offers gift certificates, and is open daily: Monday to Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.


Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania 

818 Pike St., Lemont

123 S. Fraser St., State College

The Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania will be hosting several special events for the holiday season.

The Potters Guild Annual Holiday Sale will take place at the Lemont location on Friday, Dec. 7, from 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 9, from noon to 4 p.m.

The sale will include ceramics by local artists Kristin Austen, Jan Dillon, Randy Doughty, Holly Foy, Tiffany Friday, Linda Goncalves, Linda Hale, Jeanne Houston, Mark Messenger, Linna Muschlitz, Christine Stangel, Don Swartz and John Ziegler. On Friday evening, many of the artists will be on site and holiday music will be provided by violinist Mark Minnich.
The Holiday Gift Gallery has been ongoing at the downtown art alliance since early November.  The gallery is open Thursdays through Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m., and is featuring local artists’ works in a wide variety of art forms.


Green Drake Gallery and Arts Center 

101B W. Main St., Millheim

This large art and handmade crafts gallery in Millheim is filled with mainly regional artwork, but also includes works from artists around the world. In addition to fine art by many of the region’s best-known painters, the gallery stocks pottery, photographs, sculptural pieces, jewelry and even hand-decorated ukuleles and other small instruments.

During the month of December, the gallery is featuring a special “100 under $100” display. According to managing partner and resident artist Karl Eric Leitzel, this includes small pieces by the gallery’s regular artists.

“We wanted to offer some more affordable pieces for people to give as gifts,” he said.

Also for the season, the gallery will be selling Fair Trade Amazon crafts, including ornaments and other pieces woven from native fibers. The sale of these items will support village artisans from the Amazon region. 

The Green Drake will host a harp concert on Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10 and will feature well-known harpist Anne Sullivan playing seasonal and classical music.
Green Drake Gallery hours are Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., but the gallery is also often open at random hours during the week.


Bellefonte Art Museum 

133 N. Allegheny St., Bellefonte

All 62 of the Bellefonte Art Museum’s registry artists will be represented during the Color Your World holiday sale, happening all month long. Here you’ll find handmade gifts ranging in price from $4 to $2,000, including fine art, prints, scarves, jewelry, sculptures, calendars, ornaments and more, spread throughout all of the galleries in the museum.

Located in the historic Linn House, the museum is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. While you are there, be sure to check out the permanent Underground Railroad exhibit in the “secret room” on the third floor.



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