Just in time for the holiday season, the New Art Shop is open at Trio Newton with an array of local, handmade products for gifting. The pop-up store, open Friday through Sunday from Nov. 19 to Dec. 12, is meant to pilot an arts cooperative in Newton before the shop opens permanently at Trio.
“We’re sort of doing a soft launch thing [at] the market with the nine shopping days leading up to the holidays…” Emily O’Neil, executive director of New Art said. “And our hope is that at the end of the nine days, we’ll find that the opportunity was successful and people really liked doing it.”
The shop, which sells items from handmade bracelets to pottery and knitwear, aims to promote local artists whose work could not easily be sold during the pandemic. All of the art sold at the shop is made by artists from Massachusetts, with about 60 percent from Newton, according to O’Neil.
“These are real people making real work,” O’Neil said. “And creating a showpiece or a place for people to exhibit creates visual value of the role of arts and culture in the community.”
One artist displaying work at the shop, Ellen Weinberg, started doing pottery 10 years ago as a hobby to fill her free time.
“I’m a retired physician, and when I was still practicing I was looking for something to do outside of my practice, and then as I retired I got more interested in it,” Weinberg said.
According to Weinberg, her pottery has been selling out quickly at New Art. She also loves the venue of a pop-up shop because she has the opportunity to meet the people buying her art.
“I love the idea of putting my pieces into people’s homes, so it gives me great joy to meet people who are potentially buying my pieces,” Weinberg said.
Another benefit of the shop, according to Weinberg, is that a percentage of the profits go toward the New Art Center, a non-profit organization for arts education.
“We’re very much a community arts organization, so we offer both paid programming and free programming on a scholarship basis, so we are looking to make art inclusive,” Aimee Anderson, a member of the Board of Governors for the New Art Center, the organization that owns the shop, said. “So that money that people are spending here goes towards that scholarship program that is really important to us.”
According to O’Neil, the prices of the products at the shop range from $10 to $3,000, with an average cost of about $30.
To find artists like Weinberg to feature in the shop, the New Art Center called for submissions for local artists. According to Anderson, the board chose artists based on their website and social media presence in addition to their artwork.
“We were just really looking for a good mix of different kinds of art and also at different price points—so, things that could be gifted—because this is a holiday pop-up, and we wanted an opportunity to hang some of the 2D art that is more traditional to the New Art Center,” Anderson said.
The New Art Center’s location at Trio was originally used as an overflow classroom for arts classes, according to O’Neil. During the pandemic, the center realized that the Trio space would be more beneficial as a shop that could promote local artists.
“We realized that it would be a better use of space to turn it into a co-op store where we can meet the need that we saw in the community of selling work locally,” O’Neil said.
O’Neil emphasized the importance of showing support at the pop-up shop for the artists as well as the future of the New Art store.
“We just need people to come shop local and you know the success of the next shopping days will really help us evaluate how to make this a formal program to really support the community,” O’Neil said.
Images by Josie McNeill / Heights Editor