Friday, July 30, 2010

Discover Gardiner, Maine

When I have appointments here with artists about showing their work in Monkitree, they often make comments about how they had no idea we had such a cute downtown. People come by our downtown all the time but miss it by turning on Bridge Street or Maine Avenue. But right here in downtown Gardiner we have all sorts of treasures- Moda Bella (a high end dress shop), Sweet Love/Baxter Tea Co (cupcakes, tea and consignment wedding dresses), The Art Dogs/Circle in the Square Fine Art Press, The Mad Dog Pub, A1 Diner, The Depot, Mystic Maine Quilts and of course Reny's. We also have beautiful historic buildings and an amazing waterfront that is undergoing a renovation.

We also have great events throughout the year. The next one is Go Go Gardiner Car Show and Sock Hop the evening of August 7th. Water Street will be lined with antique cars, the dancers from R&B Dance studio will perform and there will be a DJ playing classic music. Next up is the Artwalk on August 13th- local artist will have their work in empty spaces and shop storefronts. So the next time you are in the vicinity of Gardiner, take the time to walk up and down Water Street...and don't forget to stop in and say hi!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Join Us!

Every couple of months we will be holding an opening reception for a new show. Tomorrow July 23rd will be the opening for Plastic Fantastic: The Art of the Toy Camera. I am as excited about this show as I was about our grand opening show with Michael Sprouse. I hope I am this excited about every show (to tell you the truth I get excited when any package shows up containing jewelry, cards, etc. so I don't expect that to change). Carol Dronsfield and I had a nice visit when she came to drop off her photographs. We talked about all sorts of things in our brief visit- cost of living, freelance work, making big changes. Right now I am waiting on Kevin Brusie to drop off his work. Sounds like he needs to get on his way to Bangor but it looks like he will be able to attend the opening reception which is awesome. Then this afternoon, Dave Engledow will arrive with his work. At that point I need to work on labels, printed materials and eventually hanging the show. I am expecting a couple of fun and full days.

In the spirit of the show I purchased a single use red flash Lomolitos to take pictures with during the reception. I am also going to be giving away a Diana camera to one of our customers. It is the type of camera Dave Engledow used for all of his photographs for this show. There are a few people who stop in regularly to say how much they want to win the camera. I guess the camera give away is doing its job in building excitement for this show. I hope you all can join us or at least come by while the show is hanging. back to work!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Back to Reality

Before Peter and I opened Monkitree, we planned a family vacation. We rented a house in Cape May, NJ with my mother, brother, three sisters, all of the kids and most of the spouses. My sister found a house that would fit all 17 of us just two blocks from the beach. I was able to find someone to cover the shop, Peter picked up his kids and we were off! The house was perfect- a big porch for afternoon and evening cocktails, an outdoor shower to wash off the sand from a day at the beach, a grill, 5 bathrooms...I mean really, what more could you ask for?

We even had a birthday party. One of my nieces has a birthday two days after mine so we had a joint birthday party. Jenny picked the theme- Luau. She dressed for the party in a hula skirt. We played pin the tail on the donkey which is much harder than I remember. Jenny picked out a pinata shaped like a hula girl (she named her Mia and it was a bit odd hitting a girl shaped pinata...especially one with a name). Of course we had cream cake, my favorite!

We went to the arcade a few times. I stuck with skeeball and pinball. The last night we took pictures of the kids on the lifeguard stand,went to cash in their arcade tickets, then got one last ice cream. I could have spent another week at the beach with my family...but I'm back to work preparing for our next opening Friday, July 23rd. I'm looking forward to the opening. It is easy to come back from a vacation when you have work you look forward to.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Anywhere, USA?

What are the chances of moving from a big city directly to a small community that feels like home? I'm guessing pretty slim. We picked the right place for sure. The businesses in downtown Gardiner support each other. We recommend each others shops to our customers. We keep an eye out for each other. Today I had several people come in who had been told to come by Monkitree (in one case specific things to look at). Lisa at Sweet Love/Baxter Tea Co. heard a customer in her shop talking about the years she lived in D.C. and directed her to me knowing I had lived in D.C. Not only did she come in but she became a customer and a consignor. Not bad for word on the street. (I now have some really cute cards with stitched and felt designs, by the way).

And it isn't just the businesses that support each other. Sweet Love has started an Open Mic night which I just love (although I haven't sung... yet). The evenings are easy going, respectful and most of all great fun. It is attracting a wide range of talent and is frequented by many high school students. Sweet Love/ Baxter Tea's decision to host and Open Mic Night has really created a wonderful thing here in Downtown Gardiner. A creative evening event for people of all ages to gather and enjoy an evening of music, laughter and encouragement. I brought some relatives last night, including my oldest sister. At one point she said to me, "Do most of these people work right here on Water Street?" I replied, "Why do you ask?" and she explained that since I knew so many of them that she assumed they were all people who worked or lived on Water Street, like I do. I'm happy that they weren't all Water Street workers or residents but a nice cross section of Gardiner and the surrounding communities...and I am happy I know all of them.