The art center’s newly opened Holiday Art Show, running now through Dec. 21, has plenty of Christmas cheer to help ring in the season. From Jolly Old St. Nick frolicking with puppies to serene winter landscapes, the exhibit touches on all the best things that come from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
The most traditionally heartwarming pieces feature Santa Claus getting friendly with the animal kingdom. Robert McKay’s warm, cheerful Santa says hello to man’s best friend in “A Creature Was Stirring.” In Sherry Meidell’s adorable “Christmas Bears,” Santa sneaks a teddy bear to two cubs that are far less drowsy than their hibernating mother.
Steve D. Stones, on the other hand, prefers to help Santa get a little wild and crazy. His comic-style paintings show Santa enjoying leisure activities throughout the rest of the year, such as hitting the waves in “Santa Surfer” or taking a road trip in “Santa Biker.” Both paintings are loose, irreverent and fun.
There’s more to Christmas than just St. Nicholas, however. Bessan Swanson’s “Blue Christmas” changes the traditional color palette on a collection of poinsettias to make them seem cool and elegant. Cara Koolmees brings a loose, impressionistic twist to a snow-covered pine tree in “Snow Ladened.” It’s a fresh take on the traditional idea of a Christmas tree.
For those who prefer to focus on the more spiritual aspects of the season, Rebecca Mann has two light and lovely watercolors depicting the first Nativity. The first shows a thoughtful Mary enjoying a quiet moment, while the second focuses on baby Jesus surrounded by curious animals.
Meidell portrays a different portion of the Biblical tale with “As Shepherds Watched,” a small, wonderfully human oil painting. Meidell captures both the shepherd and his sheep in what must be that first moment of curiosity, not yet fully aware of what that sudden light would mean. Mark B. Goodson travels further ahead in the story with the beautifully detailed giclee print “Little King (Jesus in Egypt).”
Othet pieces prefer to focus on the more picturesque aspects of winter weather. The snow drifts are soft, thick and lovely in Lester B. Lee’s “John Deere.” Wendy Dimick’s “Old Yeller,” pictures a decrepit truck surrounded by enough evergreens and snow to make it seem almost festive. Here, even inanimate objects are getting into the spirit of the season.