Friday, August 20, 2010

Writing While Angry

It is probably not a good idea for me to read the comments section on newspaper articles. I find the comment sections are frequented by people who abhor change and enjoy maligning every idea presented. Yesterday there were two articles in the Kennebec Journal about the town of Gardiner- one about the possibility of turning Water Street into a two-way street and the other about contaminated soil found while redeveloping the waterfront park. Neither of these seem like emotionally charged issues to me.

The two-way street article was about including the idea in the city plan so it can be researched, discussed and appropriate public process can take place. There was one comment in particular that caught my attention because it seemed to be about me since I am the only person not from Maine who has opened a business downtown... unless they are lumping in anyone not from Gardiner. It reads-

"The truth is that the central Maine market is just limited. A lot of these people who move here don't seem to understand this...there's just not a lot of money in the area to spend on frills. Gardiner may develop over the years. But some of these people who move to Maine with their little artsy vision of what they'd like it to be need to shut up, listen and learn."

What should I learn from? The other commenter who said that Gardiner is a relic of the past? Or the ones who refuse to walk a block? I prefer to do some research and listen to people who have. I listen to the people who have talked to the Department of Transportation to see if it is feasible (and by the way it is). Of course that doesn't mean it will happen...just that it is something we can talk about like grown adults. As for my artsy vision, I am selling (and yes I did say selling) the work of people from Gardiner, West Gardiner, Pittston, Litchfield and many other towns in Maine. And I will bring to Gardiner art and craft that has never been sold locally. And ultimately I will offer the works online to a much larger market (since my business plan has already taken into account the "central Maine market").

Just yesterday a couple came in because they had heard what I was doing here. They found Gardiner to be charming. They loved the buildings and wanted to talk about my experiences moving here and buying a building. I told them what I truly believe- that Gardiner is a great town, an undiscovered gem that will become so much more than it is. That my friends is what will help Gardiner...people who see potential.

Support Gardiner Businesses-
Corniche, Sweet Love and Baxter Tea Co., A1 Diner, A1 To Go, Moda Bella, Raggamuffins, Blue Sky Bakery, The Mad Dog, Bagel Mainea, Reny's, The Girltrend Shop, The Depot, Mike's Water Street Grille, Gerard's Pizza, Dennis' Pizza, Johnson Hall, and more.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Slow Change

While we have a vision for what we are hoping to accomplish with our gallery/shop and building, we will be making slow and deliberate changes. I gave myself a deadline of this Friday evenings Artwalk to accomplish two things- a card rack and a display table. Sounds easy enough... if what we were doing was buying a card rack and a display table but instead we are building/creating them. We want to create a unique experience for people when they come into Monkitree- a mix of modern and traditional. Unique objects in a unique space. We painted a panel bright green and attached Lucite shelves to display cards. For the table we are using an antique bed frames that came from a hotel in Rumson, NJ where I grew up.

We are also bringing in new merchandise slowly but surely. The art work changes every two months but new craft, cards and jewelry will be added gradually as money and display space permits. There is sure to be something new and interesting to discover every time someone visit Monkitree.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Shop Monkitree Online

The plan for opening our gallery/shop in Gardiner, Maine has always had a web-based sales component. Without the funds to do exactly what I want which is having the website and my point of sale system linked, I am doing what I can. At this point it means designing my website and adding paypal buttons for each item. I spent the past two days loading images and adding buttons for 13 photographs by Dave Engledow. Sounds easy enough...except for each image there are two sizes and three different options (print only, matted print, or framed and matted). Phew! Am I glad that is done. Now I can get on to simple items that have one button associated with them. Jewelry and pottery will go soon as I take pictures of them all. Back to work!