Small works, big impact Exhibit, studio showcases local, original art |

Small works, big impact Exhibit, studio showcases local, original art

The Artists’ Studio in the Foothills (ASiF) will open its fifth Smallworks in the Foothill Holiday show tomorrow with an artist reception from 5 to 8 p.m. The Smallworks exhibit mirrors the Grass Valley visual arts center’s growth in the past five years and represents what the space is all about.

This year’s exhibit features more than 80 artists and 1,000 works of art done in more than 10 mediums with all works under 12 inches in scale. It is the largest and best show of the year for the Artists Studio, said owner/director Amanda Paoletti.

ASiF houses resident artists, offers three art classrooms, a gallery space to display and sell work and workshops for children and adults alike in various media, such as print making, wheel throwing and the Mud Hut ceramics space. The 4,000-square-foot space will also house the new executive director for Nevada County Arts.

“We use every inch of the place,” Paoletti said.

Artists have spent weeks hanging the Smallworks show, creating a mosaic pattern from the petite pieces that flow from wall to wall. Paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, mixed-media art, jewelry, wood, glass and sculptural and functional works of art meld together for a visually stimulating exhibit throughout the space.

The popularity of the show was the driving force behind an ASiF remodel this summer to open the main gallery space, Paoletti said, as she pointed a vague outline on the wood floor that once housed a wall.

A unique feature of the exhibit is its evolving subject matter. Works are sold off the wall during the show, which means that new pieces are being added throughout the 50-day exhibit.

Last year, Smallworks looked completely different between its opening reception in November and the Trunk Show Open House at the beginning of December, Paoletti said.

By the time the 2011 show wrapped up, ASiF had sold $16,600 in art — by far the biggest return on any of its shows.

Paoletti credits the vision for the show for its success. In a down economy, people stop spending money on large pieces of art. Artists began creating pieces on a smaller scale, making original art more accessible and affordable for buyers, while helping to sustain the artists during slower economic times.

“It’s keeping art alive through this time,” Paoletti said.

Smallworks walls are really catching on.

“ I think when people see artwork hung in this sort of taboo manner … all butted up together with no space around them, and they see the wonderful effect,” said Paoletti, “it gives them artistic license to try it in their own homes. Every year I hear another person tell me they’ve got their own Smallworks wall going at home. Of course, I personally have a few Smallworks walls in mine and look forward to collecting a few new favorite Smallworks each year!”

In addition to the main gallery show, ASiF GiFT, the center’s gallery gift shop offers an extra holiday gift shopping option, featuring cards, prints, jewelry, pottery, ceramic sculpture and carved wood and glass works.

The ASiF Holiday Open House and Trunk Show will be Dec. 8. This is an all-day art event, featuring a small number of special guest jewelry artists giving jewelry making demonstrations and offering custom jewelry orders! The Open House Dec. 8 will also feature holiday treats, ASiF resident-artist open studios, teacher demonstrations and several fun interactive holiday gift-making activities for the entire family.

ASiF invites the public to celebrate the Smallworks in the Foothills Holiday Show with fine art, food and wine from 5 to 8 p.m. this Friday.

Due to the demand for Smallworks during holiday gift shopping hours, this year ASiF Gallery and gift store will have special extended hours during the Smallworks Holiday Show: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Dec. 23. The Smallworks Holiday Show will hang through Jan. 8.

The Artists’ Studio in the Foothills is located at 940 Idaho Maryland Road, in Grass Valley. For information, visit or call (530) 274-7000.

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