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The Yellow Springs Arts Council’s annual Art Jumble runs now through Dec. 31 at the council’s building, 111 Corry St. (Photo by Dennis Bova)

Art Jumble brightens season

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By Dennis Bova

On one wall there are paintings. On a table is pottery. Another table features Christmas-themed items and pins of Elvis Presley. Nearby are fabrics, textiles, glassware and jewelry galore.

Welcome to the Yellow Springs Arts Council’s annual Art Jumble, running now through Dec. 31 at the council’s building, 111 Corry St.

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Or, as Rachel Z. Meyer, the council’s gallery coordinator, recalls the event’s unofficial name bestowed by a previous staffer: “It’s the great art reshuffling of Yellow Springs.”

That’s because villagers bring in artsy odds and ends that they’ve either made or acquired elsewhere and anywhere. These donations then are priced for others to buy as gifts or for their own use. The proceeds go toward financing arts council operations.

But because of the casual, friendly nature of donors and their good intentions, they often leave after buying items others have donated. Meyer said, “Very few people have left without buying something, including myself. They make great holiday presents.”

“This is our biggest fundraiser,” said Holly Underwood, a previous gallery coordinator who now describes herself as “a perpetual volunteer who can’t say no.”

Underwood added that this is a fun fundraiser. “You never know what you’re going to find, and sometimes people ask, ‘Why the heck does this exist?’

“This is not the kind of stuff you’ll find at Target or other big-box stores,” Underwood continued. “They’re art by people, or unique items people have collected on their travels. That’s what makes it fun.”

Included among the hundreds of items is a special donation: a selection of Longaberger baskets. How long they and the rest of the items will be there is uncertain — the selection changes frequently as new items are brought in and others are bought.

The Art Jumble — Underwood said “jumble” is British for a garage sale or church bazaar — runs when the council building is open: Thursdays and Fridays from 1 to 4 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Donations can be brought in during those hours.

Meyer said there’ll be special events on some weekends. Santa will be at the council from 1–4 on Saturday, Nov. 25. Other events will be announced on social media, in emails to council members, and on the council’s website at ysartscouncil.org.

While Art Jumble is fun and festive, Meyer and Underwood underscored its importance as a fundraiser. It makes possible the year-round operation of the Arts Council.

Underwood said, “It gives artists a place to exhibit their work and be seen.”

Meyer once was one of those artists. In fact, that’s how she wound up as the gallery coordinator. Meyer, a Yellow Springs native, attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in studio art, then returned home and had a show in the spring. It was then that she learned the coordinator’s job was to be open; she applied and was hired.

“This is a great space for emerging artists to show their work,” Meyer said. “For me, it got me to produce a lot more art and to be in other spaces. It was a jumping-off point for artists of all ages. This fundraiser supports those in the future.”

Underwood added, “Part of why there’s value in supporting the Arts Council is that it offers gallery space to host shows like Rachel’s and mine, once upon a time. It’s an asset to the community.”

Meyer points to how Art Jumble fits into the village’s seasonal festivities. “As a kid, I remember that there was so much to do around town during the holidays. It’s a place to go and find items for gifts, and it brings people together. It’s a concrete way to get people of all ages to look at art in a friendly space and talk about what they like and why they like it.”

* Dennis Bova is a freelance reporter for the News and was a longtime copy editor for The Toledo Blade. He currently writes for Wright State University, the Dayton Business Journal, Dayton Real Producers and Toledo-based Healthy Living News.

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