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Arty toys return 

Holiday sales pitch pictures, pots and personal adornments.

TEA TOP: At the toy show.
  • TEA TOP: At the toy show.

The Arkansas Arts Center’s 34th annual “Toys Designed by Artists” exhibit, which this year features 68 toys selected by the famous jewelry artist Robert Ebendorf, opens Wednesday, Nov. 22, in the Jeannette Edris Rockfeller gallery. The show offers up the fruits of the artists in playful — or at times, sarcastic — moods and always includes fine pieces in silver, toys that make social commentary, things that can be cranked, cars, planes, tops and more.

There’s a top top in the show this year: Little Rock artist Mindi Jones Moore’s sterling silver top that unscrews to become a tea infuser. A corkscrew-like silver spinner/handle is topped with a conical piece of blue anodized aluminum.

The juror chose work by seven other Arkansans: Burke Johnston and Randi M. Romo, both of Little Rock; Ruth Weinstein of Marshall; James Volkert of Conway; Larry Thompson of Arkadelphia; Dusty Mitchell of Mountain View, and Jayne Pyle of North Little Rock.

The Arts Center will award $2,500 in purchase awards to add to its toy collection. Winners will be announced at the opening of the show, which runs through December.

The show no longer sells the work directly, but will put visitors in touch with artists if they wish to purchase a piece.

But purchasing will be easy at the Arts Center’s annual Museum School Sale, to be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18. Faculty artists and students will sell two-dimensional fine art — watercolors, drawings, pastels and photography — as well as pottery, jewelry, fused glass and woodwork. The work will fill the atrium; expect an elbow-to-elbow shopping experience.

Gallery 26 at 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd. opens its annual holiday art show Saturday; a reception will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The show and sale will feature work by 50 artists with a variety of prices, and will continue through January. Also celebrating the season is the Heights Gallery at 5801 Kavanaugh Blvd., where owner Mitch Jansonius says the gallery’s theme is stars. The Cox Creative Center at 120 Commerce St. is also featuring a holiday art market, with work by 32 Arkansas artists. Gallery 26 is closed Sundays and Mondays; the Cox Center is open daily.

Art shoppers can continue to fill their baskets post-Thanksgiving at Eureka Springs’ Fall Art Fair at the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center. Fair hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26; admission is $2. The juried show features work in all media by 85 area and regional artists, including painters Jody Stephenson, Zeek Taylor and Dixie Westerman, bead and textile artist Eleanor Lux, ceramists Karen Foster and Nancy Baptiste, graphic artist Diana Harvey, woodworker Doug Stowe, photographer Ron Lutz and jeweler LJ Smole.

Local artists are mourning the death of painter Jackie Fish, who was killed in a car accident Sunday in Bella Vista. Fish was a member of the Mid-Southern Watercolorists, a frequent donor of her work to the Rep benefit Artworks and a frequent exhibitor at the Cox Creative Center. Fish once sent a note to me saying she thought something she’d read in Art Notes was instructive and she’d try it out. She could have written, and probably should have, to ask who I thought I was to suggest a modification in her style. But she was too gracious for that.

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