When I was a kid, I thought it would be great to own and run a store someday – maybe a candy store or a toy store. My first “real” job – after babysitting, digging and selling clams, and making and selling stationery to my grandma – was selling snacks and drinks out of a trailer in Portland’s Washington Park.
I was proud to quickly be promoted to opening duties. I got to open up the trailer every day, arrange the many-days-old-cellophane-wrapped-and-sweating muffins so the display looked full, turn on the Crockpot in which we simmered hot dogs for hours, and – you know – generally make the place look inviting and appetizing. My husband (we were in high school and dating at the time) used to come by and chat me up through the side window.
The candy store vision faded a long time ago, but for several years, I have been dreaming of having my own place: A studio with a storefront.
I wanted movable, interior walls that would allow me to paint in private, but also easily open the space to clients and the public. I wanted my art in the window and my name on the door. White walls and enough room to hang all my big paintings. I wanted a welcoming space that would allow me to meet members of the community – and to feel like a contributing community member myself. Ideally, I wanted to be able to walk to work. Maybe there would be a coffee shop or some choice lunch spots within a block or two. I hoped this would become possible after we moved home to Portland and chose a neighborhood to settle in.
Concept illustration of the gallery space. The studio space will be behind the half-height walls.
Friends, dreams do come true. When I move into my new space at the end of this month, I will have all of that. And, I have you to thank for it. Your support from day one allowed me to leave my full-time job and your continued support has given me the confidence to take this big step. Of course, I must thank my husband and the rest of my family as well.
Right now, we are hard at work building the fixtures and we’re fortunate to have contractors painting and updating the lighting for us. We are opening sometime in November and are planning a grand opening for December 1. Starting off, I’ll be open on Wednesdays from 12-6 p.m. and for First Thursdays from 5 – 8 p.m. I may add some hours for the holiday season and, of course, may adjust the regular hours based on customer feedback.
The new studio-gallery is located at 3510 N. Vancouver Ave. in Portland, Oregon. There are three lunch spots in my block and Eem – James Beard-nominated and a recent Portland “Restaurant of the Year” – is two blocks away. I am in trouble.