By Susan Constanse

There are only three short weeks to complete your holiday shopping list. If you’re anything like me, you are absolutely frazzled with the looming deadline of finding the right gifts for the very special people in your life. You’re looking for a memorable, unique gift, right? Something extraordinary and beautifully made, but you’ve been so busy and now there are all of these parties you have to go to, and your sister will be in town, or your favorite aunt, and you are going to see a show and, well, you know what is filling up your calendar. It probably looks a lot like mine, so of course I am supremely sympathetic.

I’ll let you in on my secret; the gift of art. It fits all the criteria: unique, beautiful and thoughtful. I have found some wonderful gifts at the places in this list; I’ve even managed to actually give them to the intended recipients. Happy hunting.

Blown Glass by Drew Hine (Photo Credit: Society for Contemporary Crafts website/

Society for Contemporary Crafts: Inspiration – Pittsburgh

Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm

For this holiday season, the store at Society for Contemporary Crafts is featuring crafts that celebrate Pittsburgh. Daniel Kuhn’s Pittsburgh cityscapes, along with the whimsical assemblages created by Robert Villamagna, are unique takes on the Pittsburgh-themed gifts you would typically find.

Nationally acclaimed artists are included along side the Pittsburgh -themed crafts. Using common coins as her material of choice, Stacey Lee Webber of The Coin Smith creates subtly textured pieces of jewelry and sculpture. Hand knit scarves by Ping Wu from Project Runway Season 9 are also in stock for the holiday season. Three styles are available, which can be worn in many ways and directions come with each purchase. Perfect for a cold Pittsburgh winter!

(Photo Credit: BoxHeart Gallery)

BoxHeart Gallery – Celebrate the Season

Regular gallery hours: Tue 11am-6pm; Wed-Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 1pm-5pm

BoxHeart Gallery is having an off-the-wall sale, and all art work is 10% off during the month of December. Works on display are from the gallery’s curated artists, ranging from representational to abstract, and small to large scale. If there is something that you’ve had your eye on at the gallery over the last few months, now might be a good time to stop by. BoxHeart represents artists from all over the world, as well as their fine selection of Pittsburgh artists.

Some of the gallery artists have special holiday-themed work and ornaments, available only for Celebrate the Season exhibit. For you last minute shoppers, BoxHeart has a last-minute event on Saturday, December 17. The gallery will serve a selection of holiday treats and offers free gift wrapping during the Last Minute Reception.

(Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Center for the Arts website/

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts Holiday Store

Holiday Hours: Through December 31, 2011; Mon-Wed (in December only), 10am – 5pm; Thurs, 10am – 9pm; Fri – Sat, 10am – 7pm; Sun, noon – 5pm

The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts Holiday Store is a longstanding tradition. The store expands into additional rooms of the main gallery during the holiday season, exhibiting regional arts and crafts. With a selection including jewelry, ornaments, accessories and decorative artworks, you’ll be able to complete your shopping list in no time.

The PCA Holiday Shop has something for every taste, from holiday-themed to sublime. David Watts’ Mr T’s Perogie pins and ornaments are great stocking stuffers, along with the bright and cozy X-Mittens from Amber Coppings. Delicate and expertly glazed ceramics of Yoko Sekino-Bove’ and the beautifully crafted woodwork of David Pearson make for a very memorable gift.

(Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre)

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre – The Nutcracker Market

Nutcracker season schedule

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has been presenting the Nutcracker to Pittsburgh audiences for forty-two years; a very longstanding tradition. Each year, during the twenty-one performances, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre transforms the Benedum Theatre lobby into a holiday extravaganza, with nutcracker and ballet themed crafts and gifts.

Susan Constanse is a painter, living and working in Pittsburgh. Examples of her work can be viewed on her site, at