Unison Arts Center hosts Holiday Fair Dec. 2-3 on SUNY campus

Unison Arts Center’s 27th annual Holiday Craft, Art and Design Fair will be held on December 2 at SUNY New Paltz in the Student Union’s atrium building. Participating artists (top row left to right): Author Kim Ellis with “Tangled in Magic”, Helene Bigley with ceramics, Alexa Ginsburg with felted wool, Annie O’Neill with painted ceramics, Joe Reilly with handmade books, Elissa Cimino with handmade wreaths and Stuart Bigley with paintings. Bottom row (L-R): Stacie Flint with paintings, Malcolm Condon with ceramics and Mary Ann Williams with handmade baskets. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Unison Arts Center will host its 27th annual Holiday Craft, Art and Design Fair on Saturday and Sunday, December 2-3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day in the glass atrium student union building on the SUNY New Paltz campus. An admission ticket costing $4 for adults or $3 for Unison members and students (at the door) includes a raffle ticket. Children age 12 and under get in free. Ample free parking is available.

The annual fair is noted for being an upscale representation of local artisanship and artistry. Fine artists exhibit photographic, sculptural and painted works alongside artisans who create decorative and functional ceramics, fiber arts and wearables, holiday ornaments, handmade books and jewelry. Craftspeople who produce green products, such as holiday wreaths and décor and natural soaps and beauty products, are represented, as are a contemporary clock maker, a luthier, a leather-worker and a basket-maker.


The fair was located for years at the New Paltz Middle School, but when the capital project in the school began, Unison moved its annual holiday event to the airy space in the college’s atrium. Lit by natural light, the building complements the works on view.

A list of the participating artists can be found on the event Facebook page or at https://www.unisonarts.org/event. An effort is always made to include both returning favorites and new people in the mix, and all price points are represented, so that visitors can always find something affordable even while the presentation is of really high-end work.

The nonprofit Unison Arts Center has been fostering creativity in the New Paltz area for more than 40 years, offering a varied program of exhibitions, entertainment and workshops in an intimate and inviting atmosphere. They’ve been in flux these past years, but things seem to be settling down, with the organization newly reorganized with a new director and board of trustees, and still envisioning their mission as being a place where “there is always something happening and where the public knows they can trust the quality of whatever is presented.”

The new director is Alexandra Baer, a New Paltz resident who has been working in the nonprofit sector for more than 15 years, with much of that time in the arts and related fields. Most recently she was director of outreach programs at Mill Street Loft in Poughkeepsie and a sculpture teacher in the Art Institute there. Prior to that she ran a commercial sculpture studio and a bronze casting foundry.

The new board includes Unison founder Stuart Bigley as board president, Helene Bigley as interim treasurer, Karali Pitzele as interim secretary, and Carmine Castaldo, Jonathan Katz, Phil Leger, David Shepler, Sarah Warren and Carole Wolf.

More information about the organization and the Holiday Craft, Art and Design Fair is available by visiting Unison Arts Center on Facebook or visit unisonarts.org.