November 27, 2000
Santa Claus is always in town
(L-R)Artists Dennis Brown and Scott Schultz with a couple of their Santa creations.
Gallery is one-of-a-kind studio for Santas from near and far
by Becky Nixon
A very special gallery in Kirkland is owned and operated by two Duvall-area residents/artists. Reasons to Believe, located at 92 Kirkland Avenue, features the original work of artists/sculptors Dennis Brown and Scott Schultz. The store showcases the most recognized worldwide figure in history, Santa Claus.
Brown and Schultz have worked together for five years, building a joyful, warm gallery to showcase Santa originals, reproductions, Santas made by other artists and hand-carved Russian Santas.
"I made Santas as a hobby for years," said Brown. "It wasn't until a mutual friend introduced Scott and me that the gallery idea was formed. I enjoy what I do. The level the store is at, the motivation and encouragement, comes from Scott."
Each Santa and scene is made of handmade clay, sculpted, painted, signed and numbered by the artists. Originals range in price from $500-$7,500. Ornaments start at $15, and reproductions have a variety of prices. There are special editions, and Brown and Schultz can design and personalize Santas for custom orders.
"The object is to depict Santa in ways other than the typical American envisions Santa," said Brown. "Charles Sunbloom created the image of the roly-poly, jolly, red-suited Santa for Coca-Cola in the early part of the century. Coca-Cola Santa is the inspiration for the way America sees the Santa Claus image."
The owners brainstorm ideas for new Santas. There are Santas involved in boating, fishing, computers, surfing, snowboarding, Halloween, autumn, Fourth of July, with animals, traditional nativity scenes, and every aspect of day-to-day life. An important purpose of this gallery is to not only house their artwork, but to also provide a home for other artists as well. It is a one-of-a kind studio for Santas.
"We get contacted by Santa artists each week to help them market their work/carving/designs," said Schultz and Brown. "We display a handful of talented artists' work from the United States and Canada. There are a million artists out there that do their craft as a hobby."
One Santa now on display was driven to Kirkland from Colorado by the artist. A set of Santas on exhibit arrived from Ohio just for a unique setting to display the artist's work.
Reasons to Believe also has the largest selection of Russian Santas/Father Frost woodcarvings from Russia and the Ukraine. These Santas range in shape and style, color and texture, and of course, price but they are all exquisitely made.
Reproduction orders should be placed by the middle of December. Customers can buy in the store up to Christmas Eve.
"Hopefully, people will leave a scene that they purchased here out year-round to serve as a reminder of what Santa stands for," said Brown and Schultz. For mail orders call (425) 893-8159, fax (425) 893-8159. Inquires about Santas and 150 colored pictures of Santa can be seen online at www.reasonstobelieve.com.
The Better Homes and Gardens on the newsstands now features an article on Reasons to Believe.