City Arts
December 1, 2010
By Rachel Gallaher

We artsy types are the toughest to shop for. Ultimately we drive our loved ones to mega shopping centers thronged by swarms of panicked last-minute gift seekers, knowing that they are likely to make numerous gifting mistakes in an attempt to show us how much they care. Or perhaps you are the befuddled gift giver. Either way, we are here to help you put a stop to the insanity! This year, eliminate holiday stress by cribbing from our list of great gifts. We’ve compiled a bunch of unique gifts for artists, art lovers, musicians and those who appreciate all things creative. Happy gifting!

You’d be forgiven if, upon walking intoNuBe Green, you mistook the store for an art gallery. From every angle there are eye-catching products that one could spend hours examining, and owner Ruth True encourages her customers to do just that.

Located in the historic Oddfellows building in Capitol Hill, NuBe Green opened just over a year ago as the result of a family trip to China which left True questioning the state of consumerism in the U.S. “We went to seven provinces and fourteen cities, and I only saw blue sky for half a day. It was alarming.”

Back in the States, True began planning a store that would only sell items made in the United States with materials either sourced or produced in the U.S. This includes organically grown cott on, wholesale recycled metals and repurposed “found items.” “Everything in the store is 100 percent U.S.,” True says. “I wanted people to feel good about what they were giving as gifts.”

The merchandise in NuBe Green is a thoughtful mix of furniture, housewares, jewelry, clothing, toys, stationery and more. Many items blur the boundaries between functionality and art, leaving the consumer to question where these boundaries lie.

But shopping doesn’t have to be so serious. Honestly, anything from this store would make a great gift, but True recommends glassware by Green Glass Company or bags by Alchemy Goods (both are best sellers), or a series of blankets made from ground-up scraps collected from New York’s garment industry. The limited-edition blankets feature the familiar series of hands painted by local artist Ellen Forney.

No matter what you choose, True believes in giving thought to every gift you buy. “I think the art of giving is fi nding a gift with layers, a gift that has a story or has other meaning or symbolism for that person, or for the giver. It doesn’t rely just on the gift , the meaning behind it is important too.”

Mike Pham
Mike Pham