FRANKFORT, Ky. — Opportunities abound this holiday season for community-minded consumers interested in shopping local and investing in Kentucky-made items, especially those produced by Kentucky artists.

The Kentucky Arts Council is launching its annual Give a Gift Made in Kentucky campaign. The arts council is sharing information about where to buy Kentucky-made and Kentucky Crafted items, in addition to special sales and promotions. The agency encourages shoppers to think local on Black Friday (Nov.23), Small Business Saturday (Nov. 24) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 26).

"There has been much emphasis placed on supporting our local economies in recent years, and there is no easier way to do so than by purchasing items from local artisans," said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. "Artists who participate in Kentucky Arts Council programs create art and craft for all tastes and budgets. There is no better time than the holidays to discover art in your community."

Kentucky Crafted Retailers are located across the state and carry items from many Kentucky artists, including those in the arts council's Kentucky Crafted program. Many retailers have special events and promotions throughout the holiday season. See the complete list of retailers and find holiday-themed events online at http://artscouncil.ky.gov/KentuckyArt/retailers.htm.

"We are exceptionally fortunate to live in a state with so many talented artists who produce high-quality, affordable, one-of-a-kind items," First Lady Jane Beshear said. "I hope Kentuckians will consider supporting artists in our communities by giving Kentucky-made items this holiday season."

For those who choose to do their shopping from home, the arts council's online artist directories are the perfect place to discover the best of Kentucky art and craft. Browse artists' work, find links to online stores and get contact information for your favorite artists in the arts council's online artist directories.

Paintings, prints, CDs, handmade purses, pottery, glasswork, furniture, sculpture, woodwork, photography, fashion and more can all be found in the directories. See work by Kentucky's most notable artists and performers who have adjudicated into the Kentucky Crafted, architectural artist or performing artist directories online.

In addition, artists in the Kentucky Crafted program and Architectural Artists Directory are participating in special events and presenting work in their studios, galleries and showrooms during holiday open houses, exhibits and tours. These events started in early November and run throughout the holiday season in various locations across the state. Find detailed information online about these artful holiday events.

Shoppers interested in taking a day to indulge in art and craft can visit the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, a sister agency of the arts council in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. The center is open seven days a week and features work by more than 200 Kentucky Crafted artists. For more information, visit www.kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov/index.aspx

The arts council has partnered again with Kentucky Monthly magazine to provide a special Holiday Gift Guide featuring artists and organizations that participate in the agency's programs. Shoppers can find fine art, jewelry, pottery, music and much more in the December edition.

Finally, the arts council will promote holiday gift ideas, artists and retailers online via Twitter starting Nov. 26. Search #giveagiftky for daily tweets through Dec. 21.

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, creates opportunities for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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