I know "Buy Handmade" is all over the crafty blogs this holiday season, so I won't get preachy about it, but I do have a true story to tell about a great experience my friend had.
Several years ago my friend, Jeff, was in Barcelona. He was looking at the paintings a local artist was selling on the street, but had no intention of buying any. Until the artist started talking to him. The basic point of the artist was that Jeff was probably going to go to the Guggenhiem and buy the same posters and crappy souveniers that everyone who visits Barcelona buys, this was true. Instead Jeff should spend more money on one of this artist's paintings, get an original piece of art and a leave with the knowledge that he had helped this young artist pay for college. Jeff was convinced, so he spent about $100 (he was in college and this was alot of money) for one of the street artists paintings. To this day, the painting hangs in Jeff's living room and he tells everyone the story of the unknown street artist.