Photo by Lauren Heaton
Anna Lemons, a member of the Village Artisans
Cooperative, in the stores new space in Kings Yard.
The co-op moved earlier this month.
Artisans relocates shop
Door to door, the move that the Village Artisans Cooperative made in early
May wasn't more than 50 feet. But when the cooperatives 19 artists
emptied their cramped space on Xenia Avenue and reorganized it in the
building behind Sam & Eddies Open Books, they found they had
three to four times the space to display their wares, plus some room to
Downtown storefronts dont idle on empty for long, and as soon as
the artisans space was empty Springfield residents Keith and Kecia
Tolliver snapped it up to establish a retail store for West and Central
African folk art and world clothing. The couple is planning to open Kecias
Treasures this Saturday, May 31, after they finish most of the repainting
and remodeling inside, Keith Tolliver said.
The Tolliver family began selling international art and jewelry in Kings
Yard 11 years ago when their sons Jimi and Keith Jr. first displayed art
from Belize on the yards brick patio. For the past two summers
the Tollivers two younger boys, Akil and Red, have followed their
brothers example, selling African art similar to what the store
will offer, Tolliver said.
The size of the store is just what the business needs to serve as home
base for the vending the family does at outdoor shows and festivals.
But for the Village Artisans needs, the larger space that opened
up when Back Chat moved out of Kings Yard last summer was more suitable.
The artists in the cooperative had been talking about relocating for over
a year, stained-glass artist Holly Jordan said.
Its an opportunity to expand our display and make it more
gallery like, and also to have more artists, Jordan said.
According to Anna Arbor, one of the co-ops original members, Village
Artisans was started in 1983 at its former shop on Xenia Avenue by 26
local artists. Though the business has fewer members today, Arbor said
that the group stayed put because the store offered good visibility and
because of the lack of other appropriate space.
Now the group includes mostly artists from out of town creating everything
from watercolor painting to stained glass to astrophotos, or photos of
objects in deep space. None of the members has been with the co-op for
more than four years, and, Jordan said, they are coming up with new ideas
all the time.
After Village Artisans celebrates its official opening the weekend of
the Street Fair on June 14, the group may set up outside demonstrations
to show customers how the artists create their works, Jordan said. And
theyve also discussed the possibility of starting art classes in
their expanded space, and perhaps opening a coffee bar.
The artists say they are excited about their move.
The downside is its off the street, so you gotta get here,
Jordan said. But its so much better once you do; its
worth that extra 50 feet.