Buy local artists from Twin Cities for the holidays

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There is a list of holiday art auctions currently going on in the Twin Cities that include all kinds of mediums.

MINNEAPOLIS – It’s time to start checking your gift list! But instead of buying from a store, why not gift something unique to talented Minnesota artists?

Artist and designer Jade Huynh knows a bit about the Twin Cities art scene. She worked for the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association, or NEMAA.

Huynh was born in Faribault and said she learned origami in 4th grade and soon after started finding all the origami books in public libraries so that she could bend all kinds of shapes.

Huynh calls his work “high origami”. “What I really wanted [was to] bringing something to life that no one really thought possible with the folding and crumpling of paper, ”she said.

But Huynh takes his work to another level. She integrates origami on objects like canvas to make it functional and decorative.

“To really mount it as a majestic wall piece that’s why I put it on canvas because it makes your limits a little more limitless,” she said.

Huynh’s creations caught the attention of producers with HBO’s Craftopia. She recently took part in an episode.

“It was really surreal to think of myself as being showcased to present a craft that I really love to do, a work, a work of art,” Huynh said.

Huynh recently moved to Connecticut after a stint on the West Coast, but his work is only one of the mediums and caliber of art coming from the Twin Cities.

Cassie Garner knows it. She is director and co-founder of Gamut Gallery. The gallery walls explode with the work of more than 50 Minnesota artists, as part of their vacation sale titled Raging art on.

Garner explains what kind of art you will find.

“From original works of art to digital prints, jewelry, fibers, fine art clothing, apothecary, health and wellness items,” she said.

Garner said there’s an unfortunate stereotype with the art market: it’s unattainable and you have to have a lot of extra money to own original art. But she said that’s what Gamut and many other local galleries are hoping to crush for emerging collectors with affordable prices.

“I think a lot of people still have the idea that if you want to buy art you have to go to the West Coast or the East Coast and that’s the perfect place to do it, or Chicago.” Garner said. “We have so much of that same talent here in the city that I think it’s really important to start connecting instead of disconnecting.”

Talents like Interact artist Virginia Townsend, whose paintings are also part of a big vacation sale at the nonprofit’s gallery right now.

“Since I combine nature with abstraction, I want the viewer to feel like a child and have a sense of awe,” Townsend said.

When she found Interact, a progressive visual arts studio in Saint-Paul that integrates the arts while supporting people with disabilities, she said it was life changing.

“When you can’t do a traditional job your purpose is lost and living without a goal is a painful experience,” Townsend said. “Coming to Interact just brought me back to life,” she said.

When Virginia puts it that way, gifting any original art is more than just art.

“They see our vision, they see what we saw when we were doing this art,” Townsend said.

It is also something that you cannot find in a chain store. Huynh said that what you give to someone is handmade and cannot be reproduced.

Garner adds, you are supporting someone’s dreams.

“But you also support their lives,” Garner said. “You put food on their table, you put clothes on their backs, it’s so much more precious to know you’re cheering on someone, like ‘Go buy more paint,’” Garner said.

The Gamut Gallery art raging for sale is open to the public. The last day of in-person shopping is December 22. Garner said they will be closed for January, but you can still buy parts online until January 10 and you can pick them up in stores. You can find more information about Raging art at and Gamut Gallery here.

Selling art Interact season is also underway. It’s too late for that orders are delivered before December 25, but you can shop in person by appointment until December 22. If you wish to come again in after hours, you can send an email to [email protected] For more information, visit the Interact website.

To learn more about Huynh’s work, visit his website.


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