Artique art and craft boutique will celebrate its 10th anniversary
First Friday Artist Opening returns June 4
Artique has been working on this week’s First Friday Artist Opening since 2011.
The local-artist co-op will celebrate its 10-year anniversary on Friday, June 4, with the free celebration where the public can meet local artists that will run from 6-9 p.m. at the co-op’s shop at 283 Main St. in Kamas.
The event will feature works by local artisans and crafters, free drinks and small bites and live music performed by Walt Evans and Traci Madson, said Artique owner Katie Stellpflug.
“It will be a typical First Friday, and we will have as many of our artists represented as usual,” Stellpflug said.
Some of the artists joining the party will be textilist Carole Duh, oil painter Frances ReMillard and metalsmith and jeweler Ed Wittrock.
“We are crossing our fingers that it will be good weather, so we can utilize the outdoor space,” Stellpflug said with a laugh.
The night will also be a time to reflect on how Artique has given many local artists an outlet to show works that may not otherwise have been shown, she said.
“I’ve been reminiscing, thinking about and recapping the past 10 years, and there are more than 40 or 50 artists that I have represented here over the years,” Stellpflug said. “We have consistently represented 20 artists at the same time, although there have been some who have come and gone, or highlighted for one month.”
Those artisans and crafters include Booker Preston, Chloe Fryer, Holly Wahlen and Jessika Jacob, to name a few.
“Some of these artists were successful on their own, and I’ve also been able to show first-time artists, including some from the Kimball Art Center’s Young Artist’s Academy, as well,” Stellpflug said.
A lot has changed since Stellpflug opened Artique as the Starving Artist Exchange in the 600-square-foot structure that was the former home of Pat’s Rite Way Shoe Repair on June 3, 2011, with her then-business partners Alisha Niswander and Cassidy DuHadaway.
“We decided to create a co-op style of gallery and feature all local artists,” Stellplfug said. “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.”
Nearly 1½ years later, Stellpflug took on Artique as sole owner.
“I loved having Alisha and Cassady as partners, and it was sad to see them go,” she said. “But I knew I needed to continue this, because it felt like we had just gotten started.”
Stellpflug changed the shop’s name to Artique to get away from the “starving artist” stereoptype, and expanded the hours of operation.
“When we first opened, we were only open two days — Friday and Saturday — and I wanted to open a few more days in the week,” she said. “So I expanded it to Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Sometimes I think about expanding to be open four to five days, but for now, this is what I can do.”
Stellpflug, a ceramicist, also decided to utilize the backroom as her own studio, which had been mostly used for storage.
“I had always dreamed of having a studio attached to a storefront,” she said. “So I was able to expand there.”
The studio space’s versatile nature has benefited Artique over the past decade, according to Stellpflug.
“We have used it as an extra gallery space, a place to sell used books, offer acupuncture and massages and additional office space,” she said. “We’ve also hosted some knitting groups, and kids’ art activities.”
Like the studio space, Artique itself has adjusted to meet the needs of the community, without changing its mission to support local artists, Stellpflug said.
“We have also worked with other organizations and have used some of our activities to support nonprofits,” she said. “We have also hosted Tour of Utah parties, book readings, photos with Santa and yoga too.”
Over the years Stellpflug has met the challenges of running a small business with the help of the local artisans and crafters who show at Artique.
“Every single person has been helpful in one way or another,” she said. “They have contributed food, drinks, or helped with the setup and cleanup for the First Fridays, or managed the shop,” she said. “Since we run as a co-op, working at the store once a month is part of what they do, and I wouldn’t be here without their help.”
One of the biggest challenges for Artique was making it through the coronavirus pandemic last year, according to Stellpflug.
Not only did Stellpflug have to close Artique’s doors because it wasn’t considered an essential business, she was laid off from her job at a local resort.
“I thought, ‘Now, what?’ because looking back I thought this would be the end of everything I worked for,” she said.
Community members, remembering the contributions of Artique, reached out to help Stellpflug a short time later.
“A lot of people bought gift certificates, many of which have never been redeemed, or asked what they could do to help,” she said.
People would join a Facetime tour of the store, order items they saw and arrange for curbside pickups, Stellpflug said.
“People who supported me from afar would Venmo me money, and I would send care packages to places like Montana and Wisconsin,” she said. “I think people were trying to reach out to their friends and families any way they could during the pandemic, so they would support local shops by buying cards and gifts. It was a relief to have the support of the local community and beyond.”
Artique’s pandemic lockdown ended in June 2020.
“Once summer hit, people would make a point to stop by, because they wanted to support a local business,” Stellpflug said. “Sometimes it got tricky to social distance in a place that can comfortably fit four people in at a time. So we had to limit the number of people inside at all times.”
Artique also hosted a couple of First Friday Artist Openings last summer.
“While people would be able to come into the store, our artists would be outside, because I have so many older artists,” she said. “I wanted to play it safe.”
Stellpflug is looking forward to restarting the First Friday events, and felt the 10th anniversary would be the perfect time to do so.
“It will be a small gathering to celebrate the past 10 years, but it will also be a way to bring back some normalcy by seeing each other again.” she said. “As much as it makes sense to be more of an online presence in the art business these days, having a place where people can walk into is very important.”
Still, Stellpflug finds herself thinking about the future.
“I really have joked about quitting my day job, and doing this full time, but since I was laid off, I had a whole year to rethink where this is going,” she said. “I think I want to continue my ceramics and eventually do this as my full-time gig.”
When: 6-9 p.m. on Friday, June 4
Where: Artique, 283 Main St., Kamas
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