Aspen Chapel Gallery opens its annual “Small Wonders” holiday show on Wednesday. This marks the 15th year for the gallery to put on the exhibition, and it will run through the beginning of January.
“Small Wonders” has become a cherished community tradition in the Roaring Fork Valley — and every year, when the show goes up, the Aspen Chapel Gallery becomes the hot spot for holiday shopping.
“It’s the best place to go Christmas shopping in town,” said Michael Bonds, gallery co-director.
Honing in on its tradition, “Small Wonders” features a robust collection of affordable artworks — all of which are priced under $200 and made locally by Roaring Fork Valley-based artists.
Headed into the weekend before the show’s opening on Wednesday, Bonds said he anticipated to have works coming in from 36 local artists this year, which is a higher number of participants than last year, he said.
Most of the artists are submitting at least eight pieces and the ceramicists will probably have even more works varying in sizes, noted Bonds — who is a potter himself. He said he plans to complete around 15-20 pieces for “Small Wonders” and expects almost 300 works in total to be showcased in the exhibition.
Bonds and his co-director, Tom Ward, worked to put up the show over the weekend. From leather and wood works to paintings, photography and prints, “Small Wonders” once again brings together original pieces of all artistic disciplines.
“It’s a big eclectic version of works, anything and everything — from fine art to fine craft,” Bonds said. “And it’s all affordably priced to stimulate our local economy and support local artists.”
Bonds went on to state that above all, the annual show is in support of the Holiday Baskets Program, a local nonprofit providing gifts and food cards to around 350 families in the valley during the holiday season. Holiday Baskets has been serving families for over 40 years and the program is run entirely by volunteers.
Aspen Chapel Gallery puts on “Small Wonders” each year in partnership with Holiday Baskets, donating 10% of the proceeds from all artwork sales to the community nonprofit.
“Supporting ‘Small Wonders’ supports Holiday Baskets, and in turn, gives Christmas to families in the valley,” Bonds said.
All around, “Small Wonders” is a show about giving back to the community. Bonds and Ward invite the community to attend the show’s opening on Wednesday evening, taking place from 4 to 7 p.m. at the gallery. There will be snacks, drinks and mingling, Bonds said, as patrons take the first look at this year’s artworks, and hopefully take a holiday gift home with them.
“We always try to build it as a real local, community event; usually the ‘Small Wonders’ opening is well-attended,” Bonds said. “Most of the artists will be there, and people can ask questions about the works and buy directly off the wall from the artists — they can sell their own work better than we can.”
It’s “cash and carry” for local buyers, Bonds said, or rather first-come, first-serve due to most of the pieces being one-of-a-kind. Some artists will make two of the same work, but it’s not very typical, Bonds explained.
Following Wednesday’s event, “Small Wonders” will run through Jan. 3 at the Aspen Chapel Gallery, which is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on the gallery or this year’s holiday show, visit aspenchapelgallery.org.