By Raymond Neupert/South Metro Observer

WAUSAU, Wis. – If you’re looking for a great last minute Christmas gift, why not help out local artists while you find that perfect present?

Wausau’s Center For The Visual Arts gift store has moved from its former Fourth Street location to the Third Street Lifestyle Center, formerly known as the Washington Square. Assistant director Kaitlin McNamara says that move had been a temporary one for remodeling at the CVA, but they found the Washington Square a perfect match.

“We get so much traffic from the hotel and from the other businesses, it’s just been a really good fit for us,” McNamara said.

A unique facet of the CVA store is that all of the products inside are created and made by local and regional artists. CVA executive director Rose DeHut says all of their items go through a jurying process.

“We look for quality of work, uniqueness of work, and definitely creativity,” DeHut said.

The function of the space, says McNamara, is to “promote local artists and help them be successful in their art businesses.”

Patrons of the shop will be surprised to see the variety of the products inside, according to McNamara. She says it’s very easy to just think of ‘art’ as a painting or a photograph. “Everything in here, the ornaments, the jewelry, the knitting, everything is handmade. That always surprises people, the fact that there’s nothing mass produced in here.”

If you’re heading to the CVA Gift Shop this weekend, you’ll find them on the first floor of the Third Street Lifestyle Center. They have special store hours this weekend: Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.