A group of downtrodden Annapolis artists attempted to lure recession-minded holiday shoppers away from the malls and gift catalogs Saturday by offering a gallery of original artwork at half-price in the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.
The artists said they were pleased with the turnout, which consisted mostly of people already hangingaround Maryland Hall.
The idea for the show came from Duane Lutsko, who instructs children in airbrush painting at Maryland Hall and also teaches at Anne Arundel Community College.
"We decided to do this because of the economy and the recession," Lutsko said. "We thought it might be a nice idea to offer original artwork at recession-level prices."
The all-day sale not only helped people looking for an original gift, it benefited the artists as well.
"We decided to have a sale to bring insome money at a time it is difficult for artists," said Lee Boynton,a teacher at the school.
Boynton, who paints Annapolis cityscapes, said he made several sales Saturday afternoon.
One of the peoplepoking around for Christmas gifts in the third-floor studios was Annapolis resident Chuck Venner.
"I've seen a lot of things," he said, while looking at paintings of the Chesapeake Bay. "I don't know much about art, so it's kind of hard to decide. There is quite a lot to pick from."
Most of the paintings were selling for less than $50. And many of the artists participating have works in various galleriesin either Annapolis or Baltimore.
"My thinking is that walking home with an original piece of art for $20 or $30 is an nice idea for Christmas," said Lutsko, who is painting landscapes of construction sites. "I think it is a viable commentary on contemporary man and his environment."
But some of the artists interviewed complained that most people just don't look at art as a viable Christmas gift.
"People just don't understand the role that art plays in our daily lives," said Stephen Hustvedt.
"Most of the time, art will cost you halfof an automobile or as little as a haircut. You should spend your money on something that will last a lifetime rather then on something that will be gone in six months. I hope (the sale) will do something to help the plight of the downtrodden artists."