All That Glitters: Art of the Ornament at Waterloo Arts

Cleveland Artist Gordon Van Metre made this ornament, a donation to Waterloo Arts’ 2020 Art of the Ornament auction.


One might not intuit that the bidding action would be hot and heavy in a handmade ornament auction at a neighborhood community art center, but tradition and Facebook both indicate that is the case in North Collinwood, at Waterloo Arts. The non-profit art center’s annual Art of the Ornament auction takes place online Saturday, December 12.

Days ahead of time, Gordon Van Metre’s model of an imaginary modern house with attached garage, twinkling with glitter snow, was already generating online buzz. Last year, Van Metre made the ornament that sold for the highest price. The high-bidder in 2019 (and we’ve heard multiple recollections of this) was known Christmas afficionado John Farina. As it happens, Christmas is his husband, Adam Tully’s birthday. We understand that the 2019 ornament—“MCM Sugar House”—sold for “over $100.”

At the time of this writing, 44 artists had donated ornaments to the 2020 auction, including several of Cleveland’s most prominent. They include: Juli Edberg, Catherine Butler, Joe Dull, Noah Zirpoli, Shari Wolf, Debby Duchsherer, Tara Segars, Janet Mikolajczyk, Marjorie Preston, Paula Singleton, Jeremy Noonan, Anitra Frazier, Emma Keffer, Karen Beckwith, Juliann Fausel, Chi Wong, Douglas Max Utter, Amelia Joynes, Eric Rippert, Mary Maloney, Lizzie Essi, Richard Hamilton, Judy Horn, David Cintron, Laurel Herbold, Grace Summanen, Janet Dodrill, Kristin  Plambek, Jonah Jacobs, Diane Fleisch Hughes, Drew Ippoliti, Kate Snow, Laura Dalessandro, Sloane Facemyer, Meredith Hahn, Audrey Warrenfeltz, Hadley Conner, Blayne Hoerner Murray, Cynthia  Penter, Gordon Van Metre, K. Leigh Whitehouse, Michael Gill, Todd Hoak, and Scott Pickering.

The ABCs of Christmas, letterpress book in miniature, by Michael Gill

CAN editor Michael Gill (yours truly) made an abecedarian, The ABCs of Christmas—a miniature letterpress booklet, brimming with nostalgia in a rhyme riffing on familiar traditions. Highlights include “U is for Under the tree, where perhaps you’ll find Underwear and other Unlikely gifts wrapped.”

You can bid—and simultaneously support Waterloo Arts—by joining their online auction. The link to the Auction platform will be live at noon EST on Saturday, December 12, and can be found here. Bids start at $10.


All proceeds benefit Waterloo Arts’ programming, which in 2021 will include youth arts education, a green spaces project, the Waterloo Arts Fest, and more. As a press release says, “The auction is a moving reflection of the vibrant arts community in and around Cleveland, which continues to generate beautiful work, despite having weathered a challenging year.”


The opinions expressed on CAN Blog are those of the individual writers. Art is somewhat subjective. Well, somewhat. But yes, everybody's a critic.

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