Stumped for a gift? Think museum stores, galleries
If you’ve had it with the malls, consider redirecting your holiday shopping toward the Detroit area’s art galleries and great museums.
Their gifts shops — all of which you can enter free — have intriguingly curated collections, whether at the Detroit Artists Market gallery, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Historical Museum, The Henry Ford or the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.
Even better, they’re often not as mobbed as regular commercial establishments. And you can pat yourself on the back not just for your good taste, but also for contributing to worthy nonprofit institutions.
The Detroit Artists Market is the city’s oldest nonprofit gallery, founded by wealthy Detroiters in the Depression so the creative class could sell its work once regular galleries mostly went belly up.
DAM’s “Art for the Holidays” exhibition, up through Dec. 30, is always an entertaining walk-through, with hundreds of items in a wide variety of price points to tempt you and your wallet. Members enjoy a 10-percent holiday discount.
“This is an all-member juried show,” said DAM director Matt Fry, “with some 200 of our member artists represented.”
Not surprisingly, there’s a staggeringly wide range of media represented, from photography — with a heavy emphasis on Detroit shots — to painting, sculpture, and fiber art.
Among the latter, new parents might want to check out the heartbreakingly adorable knit baby booties from Christina Towell, priced at $22. Speaking of little children, your toddler’s room would perk right up with Thomas Gratch’s painting, “Bunny Adrift, Study 2,” a steal at $20.
Rather more adult is Jon Parlangell’s 3-D, ceramic wall hanging, painted in a rainbow of wild colors. This original piece of art can be yours for $165.
At the Detroit Historical Museum, naturally, the bent is toward the old and historic.
Check out the charming collection of items devoted to Rosie the Riveter, including "Rosie: A Detroit Herstory" for $16.99, a Rosie "Made in Detroit" T-shirt for $30, or a "We Can Do It" cocktail coaster for $2.50.
Historical society members typically get a 10-percent discount on all store purchases. However, during the holiday season, every shopper gets 15-percent off.
Got a train-made youngster? The Christmas Express battery-powered train set complete with locomotive, coal car, passenger car and more, is a sure route to Christmas-morning delight — and a distinct bargain at $20.
Elegance is the watchword at the Detroit Institute of Arts store, and this year’s offerings are no exception. Members enjoy a 10-percent discount.
Got a hip, young feminist on your gift list? What could be more perfect than a DIA Frida Kahlo T-shirt, featuring the famous artist, complete with scowl and celebrated uni-brow? The dark-gray shirts retail for $24.95.
Or bundle up with a long, colorful alpaca scarf — available in a rainbow of choices — for $49.95.
In the Christmas-ornament department, few objects lend more class to a tree than a glistening, black Egyptian cat wearing a jeweled collar — at $16.95.
Finally, if you’re looking for way-cool art books, run, don’t walk, to the MOCAD store, with its great selection of titles both amusing and esoteric.
In the former category, check out “Philip Guston: Nixon Drawings 1971 & 1975,” a handsome coffee-table book priced at $60, and sure to bring back vivid political memories.
For $12.72, you can acquire the good-looking exhibition catalog “Post-Industrial Complex,” which bills itself as “a small sample of the diverse range of brainpower that exists in Metro Detroit,” produced for the 2012 MOCAD exhibition of the same name.
Or, if you need a good laugh, pick up Dave Krieger’s “Things People Say About Detroit: A Collection of Quotes as Told to the Nain Rouge,” new this year and selling for $17.95.
MOCAD members get a whopping 20-percent discount on everything in the store.
Holiday shopping at museums & galleries
Detroit Artists Market
4719 Woodward, Detroit
11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Sat.; noon-5 p.m. Sun. (Sunday hours only in December.)
Detroit Historical Museum
5401 Woodward, Detroit
9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Fri.; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.- Sun.
Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward, Detroit
9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Thu.; 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.; 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sat.- Sun.
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
4454 Woodward, Detroit
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed., Sat. and Sun.; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thu. and Fri.
The Henry Ford
20900 Oakwood, Dearborn
9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Daily