FARGO — Tucked away in a cozy corner of the Best Buy entrance inside West Acres is a little gem of a place called Aptitude Creative Arts Studios.

At any given time, artists and makers are on-site creating works ranging from ceramics to photography to jewelry. Open to the public every Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., Aptitude is a great place to see artists in their element and learn more about the creative process.

This holiday season will be particularly festive for the studio, as artists open up their spaces for celebration beginning with Small Business Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. During the event this Saturday, Nov. 27, they’ll sell their goods, demonstrate their crafts and offer make-and-take art for those who stop by.

It’s a win-win, because makers are able to work on their crafts and shoppers get a glimpse into the lives of a diverse community of artists.

Aptitude Creative Arts Studios in Fargo will hold several special events and holiday art markets over the coming weeks. Special to The Forum
Aptitude Creative Arts Studios in Fargo will hold several special events and holiday art markets over the coming weeks. Special to The Forum

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Reasons to shop at Aptitude

Aside from finding unique gifts, holiday shopping at Aptitude has many benefits:

  • No inventory or shipping concerns.
  • Avoid long lines at large stores.
  • Support local artists and their work.

Artists apply to become residents at Aptitude. Once accepted, they can move into their studios and pay a monthly rent fee to Aptitude collaborators, West Acres and The Arts Partnership.

“Aptitude is a space that brings people and artmaking together,” said Jen Nelson, owner of Jenny Sue Ceramics and an artist-in-residence at the collaborative. “I think often there is a disconnect to where the art in your life comes from. Being able to check out the open studio at Aptitude lets you see exactly how the art we make is produced.”

Shoppers inside Aptitude Creative Arts Studios in West Acres. Special to The Forum
Shoppers inside Aptitude Creative Arts Studios in West Acres. Special to The Forum

Currently, there are 12 artists-in-residence at Aptitude working in diverse disciplines ranging from hip-hop to hoop earrings. Here is a list of those who will be participating in this year’s holiday markets.

Jenny Sue Ceramics

An ornament kit from Jenny Sue Ceramics. Special to The Forum
An ornament kit from Jenny Sue Ceramics. Special to The Forum


Jen Nelson, ceramics and DIY kits

“My ceramics are bright, colorful and happy,” Jen Nelson said. She also makes regional magnets and ornaments that represent pride in where we live. Nelson will be selling regional magnets and ornaments, as well as holiday-themed ornaments and kits at the holiday markets.

Online: @jennysueart on Instagram or https://www.etsy.com/shop/JennySueInc

Brown Bird Handmade

Necklaces from Brown Bird Handmade. Special to The Forum
Necklaces from Brown Bird Handmade. Special to The Forum


Lacey Hagensen: papercrafts, jewelry, bath

With one-of-a-kind items and an ever-changing inventory, Lacey Hagensen of Brown Bird Handmade has a large variety of styles and mediums. Hagenson will be selling jewelry, cards and knitted scarves at the holiday markets.

Contact: topchick@brownbirdhandmade.market or 701-793-4168

Online: https://brownbirdhandmade.market/ or @brownbirdhandmade on Instagram

Linda Boyd Artworks

A painting by Linda Boyd. Special to The Forum
A painting by Linda Boyd. Special to The Forum


Linda Boyd, fine artwork

Linda Boyd specializes in acrylic still lifes and pet portraits. She is out of the studio until the spring but is currently taking commissions.

Contact: lindaboyd1956@gmail.com or 701-367-0838

Online: https://www.lindaboydartworks.com/

Fermie Studios

Earrings from Fermie Studios. Special to The Forum
Earrings from Fermie Studios. Special to The Forum


Tara Fermoyle, ceramics

Online: @fermiestudios on Instagram or https://www.etsy.com/shop/fermiestudios

Tim Lamey Studios

A shopper looks at photos at Tim Lamey Studios' space in Aptitude. Special to The Forum
A shopper looks at photos at Tim Lamey Studios' space in Aptitude. Special to The Forum


Tim Lamey, photography and preservation framing

Online: https://www.timlamey.com/ or @timlameystudios on Instagram

SOLSAA

Bridget Solsaa, textiles

Online: https://www.bridgetsolsaa.com/ or @bridget.solsaa on Instagram

Yellow Chair Press

Jenny Junker, printmaking

Online: @yellowchairpress on Instagram

Dandelion Crafted

Nicole Nistler, handmade jewelry

Online: DandelionCrafts on Facebook or @dandelion_crafted on Instagram

Wander Made

Steph Norton, handmade chrome products

Online: @wandermadewitch on Instagram

Amazballz Decor

Products from Amazballz Decor in Aptitude. Special to The Forum
Products from Amazballz Decor in Aptitude. Special to The Forum


Angie Mueller, home decor and accessories

Online: @amazballzdecor on Instagram

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Free holiday events at Aptitude in West Acres

The entryway to Aptitude Creative Arts Studios in Fargo's West Acres. Special to The Forum
The entryway to Aptitude Creative Arts Studios in Fargo's West Acres. Special to The Forum


What: Small Business Saturday

When: noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27

Info: Meet artists and learn about their work; items will be available for purchase.



What: Aptitude Holiday Launch Party

When: noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 4

Info: Unique holiday shopping, artist demos, giveaways and make-and-take workshops.



What: Holiday Art Markets

When: noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays in December



This article is part of a content partnership with The Arts Partnership, a nonprofit organization cultivating the arts in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. For more information, visit http://theartspartnership.net.