A wide range of work by students and graduates, as well as a broad price range, make this semiannual event a fun opportunity.

If you, like me, love art but don’t have a collector’s budget, the CCAD Art Fair and Marketplace is a chance to exercise artistic judgment without breaking the bank. My husband and I look forward to this opportunity to see what young artists are producing and, often, to talk with them about their work. Plus, there’s the possibility that we’ll fall in love with something we just have to have.

The show occurs twice each year, in December and April. We gravitate to the winter show, which is Saturday, Dec. 1, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (tickets are $7 in advance, $10 at the door; all funds raised go to student scholarships), with a first-look opportunity (tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door) from 9 to 11 a.m.

The marketplace fills three floors of the Loann Crane Center for Design and includes a juried selection of work done by both current students and alums who are working artists. Therefore, the range of works is wide—and so is the price range. When our children were small, we would set them each loose with $10 or $20 to choose something for themselves—and, hopefully, develop their artistic taste. The artists keep all proceeds from sales. We’ve bought holiday gifts and stationery, stocking stuffers and jewelry, as well as artworks that we’ve enjoyed for years.

Have the works become valuable collector’s items? Not yet, although the possibility remains that one day they will. More importantly, though, many of these pieces continue to bring us pleasure.

A numbered print by Mandy Henderson, dated 1997 but purchased sometime after we moved to Columbus in 1998, has been displayed in several rooms of our house. Its current home is in my husband’s office. Titled “Bob Dylan as the American Flag,” it attracted us with its rebellious energy and a clear suggestion that protest can be a patriotic act.

A pit-fired ceramic vase by Kymberlee Stockmaster, who was about to graduate when we bought it in 2003, appealed to us for its organic shape and the smoky markings left on its surface when the pot was baked in a two-foot-deep hole, nestled in leaves and sawdust beneath a raging wood fire.

A wooden bowl formed from a root has adorned our living room table for years. Unfortunately, we did not save a record of the artist, and it’s unsigned. However, its combination of rough and fine surfaces continues to delight us. In the holiday season, we fill it with Chanukah gelt.

Helma Groot was an alumna of CCAD when we purchased her stuffed textile mobile. Although we both loved the piece at first sight for its dark whimsy and combination of art and folksiness, I had a slight qualm about purchasing it because  it portrays, the artist told us, a marriage going south (note the torpedo at the bottom). Would it bring bad fortune to our family?

Fortunately, it didn’t, and while our ceiling is too low for a mobile, it has hung against several different walls in our home. It currently lives at the top of a staircase, where we love the way it pops against the butternut squash-colored paint.

In fact, you might say the piece brought good fortune instead of bad. We kept in touch with Helma, who became a friend and later a mentor to our daughter. Years after we bought the piece, Helma joined the faculty at Bexley High School. She supervised our daughter’s senior-year AP art project and was the teacher she selected to hand her a diploma at graduation.

Our daughter’s college major—visual arts—may be just as much a result of nature as of nurture. But I think those early excursions to the CCAD Art Fair played a role. ccad.edu/experience-art/art-fair


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