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Littleton’s bright red 1888 Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Depot, aka the Depot Art Gallery, at 2069 W. Powers Ave., is packed with one-of-a-kind gifts: paintings, of course, but miniatures at mini prices; glass, ceramics, jewelry, fiber art and holiday décor, including Christmas tree ornaments. The Holiday Express has arrived in Littleton, bearing gifts for another season. This is an ideal spot for the last-minute shopper, with a cozy atmosphere and friendly artists who are happy to talk about the items available therein.
An elegant teapot rests in a glass corner cabinet in the baggage room, where one enters. Next to it is a table with ceramics and other items. There, we found a beautifully decorated wooden box by Bobbie Shupe, which seems perfect for a young granddaughter, who is enjoying a professional career and her first condo home. More of Shupe’s special boxes are scattered through the gallery.
In the baggage room, there is also a long table filled with a collection of smaller gift items: ornaments, shiny snack dishes created from repurposed wine bottles, a rack of hand-painted silk scarves, wee knit hats for tiny new family members …
It’s surrounded by walls filled with miniature paintings in oil, acrylic and watercolor. They range in style from realistic to abstract: landscapes, florals, cityscapes, photographs, graphics and more, by Littleton Fine Arts Guild members and guests. These works of art continue past the ticket desk and around the corner into the back waiting room. Note the goofy ceramic critters, which would make delightful decorations for a child’s room — or perhaps a kitchen windowsill.
Jewelry is crafted in a rainbow of colors and many different styles: enameled, with gemstones, with polished bits of rock, beads, leather, metals. There are necklaces, earrings, bracelets and brooches, interspersed with small ceramic pieces, arranged throughout the Depot.
In the waiting room at the rear of the building, one finds more paintings, plus a collection of shawls in colors and neutral shades and an array of notecards — single and in packages, including a few holiday notes. These are copied from paintings, prints and photos, printed on really nice paper, sometimes individually embellished. They will be a pleasure to write on, for those among us who still value a handwritten message. LFAG members always have a nice stock of special cards, which could be framed like a small gift.
An unhurried visit to this bit of Littleton’s historic downtown will probably prompt a shopper to see appropriate gift items they haven’t imagined.
The historic Depot was housed in Bega Park for a period, after train service ceased, then moved to its present location with help from Varian Ashbaugh and restored by Guild members and others from the community, with a special grant and donations, as a Bicentennial project. It is maintained and owned by the City of Littleton and operated by Littleton Fine Arts Guild members, who volunteer their time.
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