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Great gifts for art lovers

With the help of area art mavens, we’ve put together some great ideas for the arts-lovers on your list.

Most of the gifts we’re suggesting will give twice — they’ll benefit an area arts organization or individual artist as well as the family member, friend or colleague who receives it.

A membership to a museum, for example, has year-round benefits: in addition to free admission, there are typically special members-only events. It’s a great gift for someone who is moving to a new area.

Tickets to an upcoming concert or exhibit are always appreciated — especially if it’s an event the recipient might not otherwise attend.

What a deal

Now that three major arts organization have combined locally, the new Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is able to offer a “Six-Tickets-For-$99-Package” that incorporates 32 different production options. Those options range from the Dayton Ballet’s lavish new production of “The Nutcracker” to the DPO’s “Music of the Rolling Stones” and the Dayton Opera’s “Hansel and Gretel.”

“That’s just $17 a ticket and the recipient could use the tickets as pairs to three events in the current season,” explains Chuck Duritsch, communications and media manager for the organization. “This is great for a family, a couple or a single person. “

For families, Duritsch recommends the upcoming”Disney in Concert” Superpops event on Jan. 24 and 25. The concert will feature scenes from Disney films that will be projected above the stage of the Schuster Center while the DPO and four vocalists perform the music.

Purchase tickets from Ticket Center Stage at (888) 228-3630 or online at

For music lovers

How’s this for an extravagant gift? You can book the entire Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra for $30,000! You’ll pay extra for a venue. For $2,000 to $2,500, you can hire a DPO quartet or quintet.

DPO conductor Neal Gittleman has a much less expensive idea for the classical music lover: A boxed set of the complete symphonies of Austrian composer Joseph Haydn.

“That’s 106 symphonies!” said Gittleman, who says $28.99 for the 37-disc set by the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra is quite a bargain.

“These are some of the greatest, most wonderful pieces ever written, and you can own them all for, well, a song,” says Gittleman. The set is available on

Visit the DPO music store to download music from select concerts at the Schuster Center for $1 each: www.

For youngsters, Tom Bankston, artistic director of the Dayton Opera, recommends the children’s book “AIDA,” which is perfect for reading aloud to children who might be attending the upcoming opera in May.

“With real depth and understanding the acclaimed soprano Leontyne Price retells this famous opera about the beautiful princess of Ethiopia,” he said. “The book’s full-page illustrations resemble stage sets and magnificently capture the drama.”

Robyn Zimmann, executive director of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, says one of the more interesting ways to introduce a child to music — if the parents can stand it — is to give a child a set of rhythm band instruments.

“A set can be purchased as cheaply as $35, and, for very young children especially, it gives them that sense of connecting a physical activity with creating sound,” Zimmann said. ” Also, electronic keyboards are so inexpensive nowadays, you can’t go wrong with that.”

A love of dance

For those interested in dance, a gift certificate for dance classes would make a terrific present. For young children, the Dayton Ballet School’s Carol Jean Heller suggests “Me and My Shadow,” a six-week creative movement class for a child 2-4 years and caregivers.

The once-a-week class for six weeks is held at the Dayton Ballet School’s South Studio, 894 S. Main St., Centerville, and costs $85 for both child and caregiver and starts in January.

“We say ‘caregiver’ because we’ve had mothers, fathers, grandparents and babysitters accompany the child to class,” Carol Jean explained.

She also said men frequently purchase adult class cards for their wives. The school offers 10 classes for $100 or five classes for $60 for adult ballet or tap. Zumba cards are 6 for $30. All adult classes are at both the downtown (4th floor of the Victoria Theatre) and Centerville locations.

For more information or to order a dance class gift certificate, call Heller at (937) 223-1542.

Ballet gift items — ranging from nutcrackers to ballet logo wear and accessories — can be purchased from the company at the time of performances, even if you have already attended or are not a ticket holder.

Choreographer Karen Burke said her idea for the perfect gift for someone who loves dance would be “a beautiful picture of gorgeous movement because dance is a visual art form.”

Should you choose paintings for others?

There’s a wide range of opinion regarding choosing artwork for someone else.

“Art is obviously subjective, and you don’t necessarily want to impose your taste on someone else, but I still think that if you want to give something original and unique, that locally-made work is the way to go,” said Aimee Marcereau DeGalan, the Dayton Art Institute’s curator of collections and exhibitions. “We always try to support the arts and buy work from local artists for friends.”

Last year, DeGalan and her husband went to the Dayton Visual Arts Center and also found Dayton artist Craig Galentine on Etsy.

“He makes these Kokeshi dolls and he did a series of zombies that we loved,” DeGalan said. “We bought a few sets for friends and I bought a set for my husband.”

Julie Henahan, director of the Ohio Arts Council says if you know that person well enough to know his or her taste, a piece of art can be a unique way of remembering a loved one at the holiday, and, at the same time, support local artists, galleries, and craftsmen.

“Of course, an outright contribution to an arts organization that is near and dear to the gift recipient in their name would be a great idea, too,” she said.

Henahan suggests when giving paintings or small sculptures it might be best to stick with images that you know will easily fit into the recipient’s style — tasteful, but not obtrusive.

Ken Emerick, the Ohio Arts Council’s director of individual artists, suggests you include an upcoming exhibition schedule when you purchase a gift certificate at a local gallery.

“Artwork that is also functional — pottery, handmade clothing, kitchen items that are made by local artists — are a safe way to incorporate the idea of giving a piece of art,” he said.

Among the galleries and shops that carry those functional pieces is We Care Arts, the special shop where folks with emotional, mental and/or physical disabilities can come to create artwork, which fosters confidence and empowerment.

The attractive gift shop, located at 3035 Wilmington Pike in Kettering, is stocked with holiday gifts including original paintings — acryllic, watercolor, mixed media, landscapes, abstracts, floral, animals and still life.

Eva Buttacavoli, executive director of the Dayton Visual Arts Center, said Southwest Ohio is known for its plein air landscape artists and its accomplished group of local print-makers — woodcut, litho, intaglio, screen-print, letterpress.

“They are really creative, layered, beautiful scenes!” she said. You’ll find some of those artists represented at DVAC’s holiday ARTtoBUY gift gallery.

Ann Fortescue, executive director of the Springfield Museum of Art, said if you’re close enough to another person to know their art preferences, it’s a wonderful idea to purchase a work from an artist or art gallery. For example, if you know someone collects teapots or photographs of wildflowers, you won’t go wrong by purchasing those.

“If you know the person but are reluctant to purchase a work of art for them, make an outing of it and go shopping together,” Fortescue suggests. “You can take them to your favorite art gallery or artist’s studio and have them select something they’d like. Of course you’ll need to give them a price range.”

She says many of the works in the Western Ohio Watercolor Society Juried Members’ exhibit that opened at the Springfield Museum of Art this weekend are for sale.

Fortescue says if you want to give a very personal work of art like a painted or photographed portrait, you’ll need to find an artist who is adaptable and/or one who works in a style the recipient likes.

For Book Lovers

The Barnes and Noble book stores feature displays of local authors including novelists Suzanne Kelley, Kristina McBride, Erin Flanagana, Sharon Short, Katrina Kittle and Martha Moody.

At Books & Co. at The Greene, head for the “Regional Section” which features books about our area including books by local historian Allan Eckert.


Columbus and Cincinnati are already on board with Power2Give. The national organization got its start in 2010 when the Arts and Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg developed the new web site to address the changing trends in philanthropic giving. The idea is to make it easy for donors to give to non-profit arts and cultural projects.

One of the projects that’s currently listed on the on Power2Give Columbus website seeks donors to help raise funds to hire professional mentors that work with students and community musicians during rehearsals and performance of the New Albany Symphony’s “Holiday Spectacular” concert. In another, The Actors’ Theatre of Columbus is hoping to purchase a new sound system for its free classical productions in the park.

When you purchase a gift card from, you have the option of having an electronic gift card sent to the specified email address or a physical gift card mailed to a particular address. Once recipients obtain the physical or electronic gift card, they can then type the voucher number on the site to redeem the card and donate to a project.

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