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SANTA CRUZ -- A holiday art fair drew many shoppers and art lovers to the Tannery Arts Center Saturday, in a Santa Cruz style holiday event that continues from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The fair is at the Tannery's Digital Media and Creative Arts Center, at the north end of the River Street complex.

It includes ornament and holiday card workshops, art demonstrations, live music and more. On sale is a plethora of hand-made goods, including paintings, glass work, pottery, photography, jewelry and fabric.

Inside a large barn-like hall Saturday, several artists had set up booths. Not all the fair artists live at the Tannery, though it has 100 affordable live/work units for artists and their families and is home to 260 people, said Rachel Goodman, the center's capital campaign director.

The center also includes 28 studios rented by artists, Goodman said.

"This is terrific," said Elaine Kihara, who picking out some succulents potted in vintage and other stoneware. "This will be part of our annual tradition."

David Sweet, who attended with Kihara, said he was happy to see the eagerly awaited arts center in action.

"I've been bragging about this to my friends, just about the fact that we rescued the cannery and turned it into something like this, and that the community was willing and able to do it, especially in the middle of a economic crisis," Sweet said. "It's very exciting."

Artist Joohee Miller was selling brightly colored jewelry she had made. Miller said she was born in South Korea and came to California from New York because her husband, a photographer, has family in Alameda. The beauty of Santa Cruz drew the family here, she said, and the couple lived in a mobile home park in Capitola before moving to the Tannery.

"Originally, I'm a painter, that's why I love the colors," she said, lightly touching a bright reddish-orange bead on an earring. "Here, I've developed my skill to make jewelry and I have the opportunity to sell it. If I have a chance, I'll work on my painting."

In a courtyard outside, ringed by open art studios and a cafe with an outdoor patio, people young and old, and more than one dog, enjoyed music by the Marty O'Reilly Trio and some December sunshine.

Goodman, the director, said the artists organized the fair and that there had been a steady stream of "happy people" milling through Saturday, and many on Friday, coinciding with the First Friday Santa Cruz Art Tour.

"It's nice to have people discover this place," she said.

Patty Wolf of Santa Cruz agreed.

"It's great," she said. "It's so fun to see all the different artists." The 8.3-acre Salz Tannery, a leather-making enterprise until it closed in 2001, was purchased by the Santa Cruz Redevelopment Agency in 2006, and overhauled into a subsidized campus for artists to live and create. The land is leased by the nonprofit Artspace of Minneapolis.

Many of the old barn-red tannery buildings have been preserved and remodeled as part of the $55 million project.

Next in line for the transformed center is a new performing arts center. Tannery officials recently announced that they have raised roughly $3.2 million toward their $5 million fundraising goal for construction of a new center.

For information, go to www.tanneryartscenter.org/.

Follow Sentinel reporter Cathy Kelly at Twitter.com/cathykelly9