Sunday December 16, 2012

Justyne Carlson, secretary of the North Adams Museum of History and Science, alerted us recently to the holiday gifts at the museum shop in Heritage Park.

Her note followed the Nov. 25 Good Deals column about shopping for yule gifts at Berkshire nonprofits.

"Since there is no longer a bookstore in North Adams," she wrote, "we have the largest selection of children’s and adult books, albeit history and science related."

Anyone can view the inventory online, she said, at www.northadamshistory.org, or stop in at Building 5A on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m.

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I checked out another unusual gift source last week in North Adams, one where you can buy original art for under $100.

MCLA Gallery 51 --
a program of the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts -- is offering what it calls an exhibition of "affordable beauty" in contrast to the compulsive buying encouraged at overcrowded stores elsewhere.

It is part of the city’s "Hometown Holidays" initiative to encourage people to shop and buy local.

I found numbers of original paintings, drawings, photographs and objects by artists whose names are known in the Berkshires and beyond.


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Daniel O’Connor, who goes by the name Danny 0 and created a mosaic of more than 11,000 balls as an installation for Mass MoCA’s "Game Show" in 2001, had several collage drawings for $59.99 to $89.99.

Laura Christensen, who coordinates visual art education at Mass MoCA and teaches at MCLA, and whose box constructions using vintage photos I have long admired, had a number of pieces priced between $39.99 and $79.99.

Painter Mark Mulherrin, whose exhibitions I have reviewed, had drawings priced at $99.99. And photographer Karen Stack was showing industrial style building exteriors for $49.99.

Sarah Haze’s clever "Meany Buttons" were only $5.99 and Wendy James’ prints of video stills were lower still at 99 cents each.

The show runs through Dec. 31.

The gallery at 51 Main St. in North Adams is open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call (413) 664-8718 or visit www.mcla.edu/gallery 51.