Holiday open house kicks off ornament competition and pop-up shop

A portion of handmade ornaments purchased through the Muscatine Arts Center’s holiday pop-up shop benefit educational programs. Submitted photo

Local and regional artists and crafters are sharing their talents for a good cause this holiday season, and everyone is invited to be part of the fun at the Muscatine Art Center. The Holiday Open House on Nov. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. marked the debut of this year’s Heartfelt & Handmade Ornament Competition and the Artists’ Pop-Up Shop. Each ornament purchase and a portion of proceeds for the artists’ shop benefit educational programs at the Muscatine Art Center.

At the Holiday Open House, visitors can browse through handmade treasures, enjoy music by Harper’s Delight and Ladies of Note, indulge in tasty treats by the Rendezvous, and socialize over a glass of wine. Tickets to the Holiday Open House are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and $10 for those 18 years of age and under. Two drink tickets are included.

“This is an exciting time of year,” explains Melanie Alexander, Director of the Muscatine Art Center. “The staff and volunteers love unpacking the handmade ornaments. The ornaments made by kids are colorful and sweet, and those made by adults are beautifully crafted and highly creative. We are amazed by the variety of entries and expect that our panel of judges will struggle to decide on first, second, and third place winners.”

All of the ornaments will be displayed from Nov. 15 through Dec. 15. Each hand-made ornament is available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis, and the purchaser is to return to the Muscatine Art Center the week of Dec. 16 to pick up the ornament, although the staff is happy to make other arrangements as needed.

The items in the Artists’ Pop-Up Shop are available to take home at the time of the sale. In its second year, the Pop-Up Shop will be set up on the second floor of the historic Musser-McColm house. Returning artists include Nancy Purington, Two Sweet Sisters, Shelley Lawson, and AnnsArts. New artists include Kay Flanders, Lime Kiln Farm, John Deason, and Lori Mitchell. Photography, greeting cards, holiday décor, illustrated children’s books, jewelry, quilts, floral arrangements, fine art prints, and more will be available. The shop will be open during regular Muscatine Art Center hours from Nov. 15 through Jan. 5.

Sponsors for the 2019 “Heartfelt & Handmade” Ornament Competition are HNI, First National Bank, Community Bank and Trust, CBI Bank and Trust, and SSAB. Artists and crafters can also apply to sell through the shop. Information is available on the website.

The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Ave. in Muscatine, Iowa. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday evenings until 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated. Visit for more information about programs and events and to download a class brochure.