Even though this might be an unusual Christmas, there are still ways to make it special.

Manhattan Arts Center’s annual Wrap It Up sale is open until Dec. 24, featuring around 90 local and regional artists. While the center had to make some adjustments to make safe holiday shopping possible, Michele Ward, MAC’s director of education and marketing, said they wanted to provide a sense of normalcy for both customers and the artists.

“It’s beautiful to see people are still being creative,” Ward said.

The center requires masks and is limiting the number of people inside at one time. The center is also asking people to sign in, and employees have placed hand sanitizer around the building.

Ward said customers and artists have been flexible in adapting to changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said several artists who show at other venues have said those venues had closed, so they were grateful to have somewhere to show their work. Some have lowered their prices to make them more affordable for people in this time.

“Some went out of their way to lower their prices because they felt like people need something beautiful,” Ward said.

Sara Rempel, an art teacher at Manhattan High School, is selling items for the first time this year. Rempel created mugs and clay boxes with lids and handles of cast glass.

Rempel said she likes working with clay because of its flexibility.

“There are so many things you can do with it and if you make a mistake, you can fix it,” Rempel said.

Rempel’s husband, Terry, also works in ceramics and is known for making mugs for Radina’s. He had participated in Wrap It Up before and Rempel decided to do so this year as well. She had a bit more time to work on some pieces while staying at home because of the coronavirus, so she decided this was the time.

“It’s nice to show our work to the Manhattan community and get involved with the community,” Rempel said. “I like the way they use local artists and they support local and regional artists.”

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