Five is a magic number for Artique
May 31, 2016
The Kamas-based art gallery, Artique, is about to hit a major milestone, its five-year anniversary, and owner Katie Stellpflug couldn’t be happier.
"It’s big for us because you hear people talk about small businesses who say that most of them don’t make it past 18 months," Stellpflug told The Park Record. "I’ve also heard it said if a business makes it five or seven years, then it’s a big starting point. So, I guess I’m at a starting point."
To celebrate, Artique, 283 N. Main St., will host a special First Friday opening on June 3, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.
"I’m inviting past and present artists to come celebrate with us," Stellpflug said. "We are also going to have some goodies and some live music [with recent South Summit High School graduates Caitlin and Tessa Scheuer]. It will be a community gathering and, of course, it’s free and open to the public."
A lot has changed since Stellpflug opened Artique as the Starving Artist Exchange on June 3, 2011, with her then business partners Alisha Niswander and Cassidy DuHadaway.
"We went out on a limb," Stellpflug said. "We were all artists and wanted to pursue that aspect of our lives, hoping we would be able make a living off of that."
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The three originally wanted to find a place in Park City.
"That wasn’t really possible financially and there wasn’t a place for it," she said. "But I had just moved to Kamas a few months prior and saw this shop sitting vacant on Main Street."
"The space was tiny, not even 600 square feet, but I knew there were a lot of people coming through town to get up to the Uinta Mountains and said we should try it," Stellpflug said. "We decided to create a co-op style of gallery and feature all local artists. We wanted to give these artists who make handmade works an opportunity to show what they do, and at least it will be on a main street."
At the year mark, June of 2012, the three owners began discussing the shop’s future.
"We were all so busy and had our bread-and-butter jobs," Stellpflug said. "I could kind of tell the others may not want to continue, and just before the holidays of that year, I thought what should I do if they decided not to continue?"
Stellpflug began her own brainstorming sessions.
"I began thinking about a new name and talking with new artists to help keep the store going," she said. "When they decided to pull out at the end of the year, I decided to continue and see what could happen."
Stellpflug changed the gallery’s name to Artique.
"I did that because I wanted to get rid of that stigma of being a starving artist," she said. "I wanted a fresh start and to find a name that would get people in the door."
She also began changing the amount of days the shops would open.
"When we first started out, we were only open two days a week, and during the winter we were only open on Saturday," she said. "I thought since I lived out here, I knew I needed to be open more."
Artique is now open Thursday through Sunday.
"Having the doors open more, we’ve been able to get more people into the store, and in the summer of 2013, I started to see people who recognized what I was doing, because the word was getting out," Stellpflug said. "Today, people will walk in and tell me that they’ve heard so much about the place and they are finally getting here."
In addition, Stellpflug made some renovations to the gallery and transformed a backroom into a ceramics studio.
"I wanted a studio where I could work while manning the store," she said. "I know many people like to see an artist working when they own their own shop."
Stellpflug’s artist roster has also changed, and grown, over the past five years.
"In 2011, we had eight to 10 artists who would show here," she said. "Gradually we featured more artists, and now, there are about 25 artists that show and sell their pieces here."
Artists who are showing at Artique are as follows:
Booker Preston, Carole Duh, Chloe Fryer, Ed Wittrock, Holly Wahlen, Jessika Jacob, Jian Giglia, Judy Summer, Katie Stellpflug, Kathleen Barlow, Kerri Benson, Kym Wheeler, Laura Arias, Lisa Schlaikjer, Lori and John Burns, Marcie Gorsch,
Mark Huber, Mary Ellen Hunter, Michael Smith, Mike Hays, Stephanie Schirman, Terrylee Severson, Thomas Neuhold and Tom Kelly.
Many artists Stellpflug had exhibited in the past never did a show before.
"Now, I do have a few that have shown in other places," she said. "Artique has become like a stepping stone for them.
"We’ve also had some artists come and go, but we’ve had some great ones stick around and help make the shop what is today," she said. "It’s funny to look back and see how empty the shop was five years ago. It had room to grow."
Artique not only shows and sells paintings, sculpture, textiles and photography, but also other artisan goods such as handmade tea, according to Stellpflug.
"We also have a variety and different price points and the store is quite stocked," she said.
Stellpflug thanks artist Carole Duh for helping with Artique displays.
"Carole not only shows her works here, but also manages the store, and does what we call ‘fluffing’ the store," Stellpflug said. "That’s when we’ll just fit as much as you can and then she’ll rearrange it and we find we have a lot of extra space."
Finding art to fill the extra space has become easier in recent years.
"The artists now seem to be coming to us," Stellpflug said. "People will ask me what they have to do to show things."
Still, there isn’t an end to the every-day challenges.
"At this point the hardest part is the fact that we’re still artist run and I don’t have the financial ability to hire employees," Stellpflug said. "So, I like to find artists who are also able to work at the store. I require [artists to work a minimum of] a month in a tradeoff to sell here.
"Most of the artist who show here have other jobs and art isn’t their full-time gig, but they want to be able to quit their day job at some point," she said. "Kind of like me. I would love to quit my day job and go all in with my ceramics and Artique. Five years later I’m still trying to make it happen."
Stellpflug said she’s already looking down the road another five years.
"A lot has changed in Kamas over the past five years. We have a new event center (DeJoria Event Center at High Star Ranch) and we have a new outdoor shop that just opened," she said. "This valley is growing and I’m glad I stuck with it."
Artique, 283 N. Main in Kamas, will celebrate its five-year anniversary to the date on Friday, June 3. The event will be held from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Many artists that have shown or are currently showing at Artique will be in a attendance. There will also be food, drinks and live entertainment. For more information, visit facebook.com/artiqueartandgifts.
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