The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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November 23, 2013

Shopping event supports small area businesses

JOHNSTOWN — Mixing business and pleasure, Art Works in Johnstown will celebrate Small Business Saturday on Saturday with a two-phase plan.

“The Art of Holiday Shopping” will be divided into two parts, one for children and one for adults.

“We’re thrilled to be part of Small Business Saturday,” said Theresa Gay Rohall, executive director of Art Works in the Cambria City neighborhood. “Art Works encourages buying locally.”

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., The Learning Lamp will take over one of the artist’s studios near the AW Gallery Shoppe for holiday crafts.

Brittni McKolosky will guide children in making personalized wrapping paper, Santa cookie plates, candleholders, snow globes, snowman wall hangings or decorated mini Christmas trees. The cost is $5 per craft, which will be suitable for gift-giving. One complimentary photo with Santa will be available for each child.

“This is the third weekend we’re doing the crafts, but the 30th will be our ramped-up day,” said Laura Argenbright, manager of the AW Gallery Shoppe. “Parents can visit the Gallery Shoppe while the children are doing this. Photos with Santa are only on Nov. 30.”

On the adult side, a reception for “The Art of Holiday Shopping” from 2 to 6 p.m. will have a cocktail party atmosphere. There will be appetizers from The Phoenix and adult beverages, plus entertainment by singer and pianist Jessica Saenz from 4 to 6.

Guests will be able to meet the Gallery Shoppe artists as they browse a wide variety of handcrafted gifts and receive complimentary gift wrapping.

Christopher Nix, known for his visual biographies, will be the featured artist. Nix takes a pen-and-ink drawing he has done and personalizes it by adding sports teams or other favorite items from the customer’s life, making a picture within a picture.

“He will be doing six names or other pictures,” Argenbright said. “He’s very popular, so there’s always a line.”

Other confirmed artists are Betty Antonik of Westmont, with unique pendant designs; Dennis Edwards of Johnstown, woodturning; Kasey Hagens, known for photos of the Stone Bridge with its lights; and Alan Rauch, with original paintings.

“Small Business Saturday is an opportunity to give back as you make your purchase,” Argenbright said. “You can supplement regional artists and Art Works. We encourage buying local and are glad to give artists the opportunity to sell.”

Ruth Rice covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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