Holiday Art Jumble returns to Yellow Springs


Photo: Gifts are donated throughout the year to be sold at the annual Holiday Art Jumble

By Tim Walker

Since the days of the Three Wise Men, Christmas and the accompanying holiday season have been celebrated as a time of giving. O. Henry’s famous short story “Gift of the Magi”, about a young married couple and the irony of how they deal with buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money, reminds us that giving is more important than receiving. Charitable generosity is acceptable throughout the years, and always accepted, but giving back – to your loved ones, to your co-workers, and to the community – just feels like a proper part of the holiday season for many of us. As it should be.

You don’t have to sell your hair in order to buy a unique gift, however. Each year, the Yellow Springs Arts Council offers an opportunity for Miami Valley residents to buy gifts, give back, and to have fun and support their local artists while doing it. The Holiday Art Jumble is a fundraiser held by the YSAC, and this is the sixth year for what has become a popular annual event. Running through December 31st, the Art Jumble gives patrons a chance to come to the Yellow Springs Art Council Gallery at 111 Corry Street and buy items which have been donated throughout the year. All of the donated items have an artistic angle, and you never know what you’ll find – handmade crafts, art supplies, boxes filled with ornaments – but every item in the hodgepodge that is purchased helps to fund the YSAC’s activities for the coming year.

“It’s just a great place for a child,” says Nancy Mellon, Yellow Springs Arts Council Gallery Coordinator, when speaking recently with the Dayton City Paper. “Or anyone on a limited budget, to find something wonderful to buy for someone special. Many artists and art lovers in the Village donate each year wonderful, crazy, sometimes exotic things. Last year we got a beautiful collection of Asian erotic art that had us all scratching our heads wondering how could we show it and not offend anyone. And amazingly, someone had donated a large, zippered art portfolio, and everything fit very neatly inside it, so it worked out.

The village of Yellow Springs has a longstanding tradition of supporting the arts, and this concept really drives the success of the Art Jumble, which has been held annually since 2012.

“We love the advance peeking we get to do as each mystery box arrives,” continues Nancy Mellon. “And it’s all thanks to the wonderful villagers who donate to the Jumble. There are figurines of opera stars, beautiful handcrafted baskets, jewelry, vintage tablecloths, a tapestry, Peruvian wall hangings, pottery, sculpture from different parts of the world, art books, silver tea sets, crystal goblets, wonderful tiny boxes of so many different kinds, prints, paintings, Polish theater posters, photographs, cards by artists, vintage dresses, purses and hats, and a hand crafted hand mirror.”

The Art Jumble opened this year on November 18th and will remain open through December 31st. Visitors can examine and purchase items during the Gallery’s open hours, Wednesdays through Sundays, from 1pm until 4pm. There will also be special weekend extended hours, from 11am until 5pm, on December 16th, 17th, and 23rd. One of the more interesting items a potential gifter might find is Rollo, a full sized stuffed man which was constructed by a local artist for her dancing partner. There is also a handcrafted art quilt created by Marianne Britton, which was recently featured in a show at the Springfield Art Museum. The Art Jumble is holding a silent auction for it, but making sure the auction is over prior to Christmas so the item can be given as a holiday present if the winner desires.

“And there is so much more,” said Mellon in conclusion. “Many pieces are from local artists, true, but many are not. Yellow Springs is a town of artists and art lovers. They donate art to the Jumble from home and around the world. Even after the Jumble opens, more art and hand made crafts and totally cool ‘arty’ things arrive on our doorstep all month long. I just want to say ‘Thanks’ to all the artists and art lovers in Yellow Springs. We keep adding goodies and pricing it low. We want the Jumble to feel like a treasure hunt, for people to have fun and find a wonderful bargain. And while having fun they are helping to support the arts in Yellow Springs. We think it’s a great way to shop!”

By providing local residents and opportunity to find unique gifts for their loved ones while supporting the arts in our community, the 2017 Holiday Art Jumble is a definite win.

The Holiday Art Jumble runs through December 31st, and can be found at the Yellow Springs Arts Council Gallery at 111 Corry Street in Yellow Springs. For hours and more information, go to or call 937-679-9722.

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Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at

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