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story.lead_photo.caption Artist Polly Cook poses with her art at a TRAHC Open House & Arts Market.

Even though a pandemic brought so many activities to a standstill this year, art continues to find a way, which Texarkana's Regional Arts Center will honor on Friday, Dec. 4, and Saturday, Dec. 5.

For more than 10 years, the RAC's holiday fixture has showcased local artists and artisans sharing what they do, which is to craft something unique for the eye to see and for the hands to use. Just in time for the gift-giving season, visit the Arts Center for everything from paintings to ceramics, scarves to ornaments, leather goods to woodworking and jewelry to baked treats at this year's Open House & Arts Market.

"This is an event that has been going on for over a decade now and has really become a pivotal point for the holidays to kick off December. The uniqueness that this event has compared to other events is these are all handmade goods. There's no mass production of anything," said Tiffani Whitehead, marketing coordinator for the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council. "So you get that one-of-a-kind, unique, intimate feel and those special gifts for people."

On that Friday, the market is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., then again from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Tiffani said organizer Jeanne Harrel's will make sure people feel comfortable and safe when they attend.

"She really wanted the artists and vendors to feel loved and supported by the community, and the community to feel safe coming and doing that," Whitehead said.

Usually, the vendors total more than 40 but this year it's 37, so understandably smaller with more spacing in between to allow vendors to talk with visitors who have questions. Also, some artists and artisans will be doing work on site.

"She wanted to make sure they have ample space to do that," Tiffani said.

This year brings five new vendors. It will be a first for laser engraving, for example.

"And some of those that people have grown to know and love," said the marketing coordinator, adding, "There's someone that makes walking sticks and hiking sticks." Canvas art and pottery art will make an appearance. Expect artists from the 4 States Regional Art Club here in Texarkana.

Tiffani said some newer, younger artists will have interactive elements, depending on the crowd size.

"Some of the jewelry can even be made on site," Tiffani said.

The Open House & Arts Market has traditionally been graced by refreshments and treats provided by Women for the Arts. With this year's pandemic, though, that's not safe but they will make packaged goods available.

However, fresh food will be on hand, just outside in the fresh air, courtesy of a newer food truck in town.

"Lot 1621 food truck is going to be set up in the farmer's market back parking lot of Regional Arts Center," Tiffani said.

(For more information, call 903-792-8681. The Regional Arts Center is located at 321 W. 4th St. in Texarkana, Texas.)

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