Annual sale showcases alternative holiday gift options

By Bethany Knipp

Looking for gifts for the holidays? You might want to check out Manhattan Arts Center, 1520 Poyntz Ave.

The MAC has put on its annual Wrap It Up exhibit starting Nov. 2 that features the work of about 90 local and regional artists.

Sandy Mead, office manager at the MAC, said that as of Wednesday, the center had sold about 300 items.

She said the art ranges in price from $5 to $500.

“The original intent was to try to provide high quality, affordable art,” Mead said.


The exhibit features everything from wall paintings and photos to jewelry and scarves. It also includes stained-glass pieces, some of which were made by Manhattan artist Maury Berggren.

Berggren said he uses colored glass from anything he can find, including wine bottles,  and cuts it to shape in a either a figure or a wooden frame.

Berggren’s work literally stands out; some of it is three dimensional.

In some of his pieces, he makes figures like birds and trees out of copper wire and lead soldering that he places in a wooden frame with a stained-glass boulder.

Unlike traditional stained glass pieces, Rice’s scenes often include openwork and silhouetted shapes with no glass behind them.

Given those qualities, when Berggren first started making those pieces he said wondered if they would sell.

“I wondered if people would resent having to dust this,” he said.

Berggren, a retired Manhattan High School art teacher, said he doesn’t make his own glass. He recycles all of it from what he can find.

“I think I’m basically an ecologist,” he said.



One of two out-of-state artists featured at the MAC is Bob Rice, 57, from Columbus, Neb.

Rice, a machinist, has wooden pieces at the Wrap It Up exhibit. One of his popular items is his cutting boards, which have checkered patterns that use up to seven different types of wood.

Though Rice made mostly cutting boards, jewelry boxes and wine racks for the exhibit, he also makes larger items.

“I sell the small things so I can make the bigger things,” he said. 

Those big things are Mission-style headboards, quilt racks and the result of his favorite project, revamping old sewing machines with oak or walnut tops.

But even though Rice has been using wood for art for 10 years, he has hardly had to cut any.

Most of the wood in his pieces comes from the shelter scraps from a tornado that happened in Hallam, Neb., a village south of Lincoln, Neb.

Rice spent six months digging through shelter logs and stockpiled them for his projects.

“I got so much wood out of Hallam that I haven’t had to do any cutting for eight or nine years,” Rice said.

He also found and interesting way to signify his work.

“Everything I make I put a penny on the bottom on it for the year it was made,” he said.



Rural Manhattan artist Susan Rose, 50, provided paintings and photographs for Wrap It Up. In many of the 12 pieces she brought, Rose painted Midwestern themes of cattle and countryside.

“I paint what I see in my neighborhood, pretty much,” she said.

Rose said her photographs and acrylic, oil and watercolor paintings provide her a balance with her day job and her creative side. She is a veterinary technician by training and works at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine managing research.

“It’s my balance for a very left-brained professional world,” she said.

Thirty percent of sale proceeds will go to the MAC for its programs. The rest goes to the artists. Shoppers will have until Dec. 24 to buy gifts.

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | The Manhattan Mercury, 318 North 5th Street, Manhattan, Kansas, 66502 | Copyright 2017