GARDNER – A new downtown boutique aims to shine a spotlight on local artists.
William Caouette and Paula Abare, a married couple from Ashburnham, quietly opened the Dot Line Curve Creations Gift Gallery at 33 Parker St. just before Christmas.
“We’ve been artists most of our lives,” said Caouette, who said the couple needed a new place to display their work after outgrowing their home’s small shed. “So we found this place and it’s just perfect.”
They began contacting other local artists and asking if they would be interested in renting a display case in the store to sell their own artwork, and Caouette said the couple immediately received a positive response. Crates rent for $25 a week and the artist receives 100% of his sales, he said.
“They love it,” Caouette said of the artists who rented space at the boutique. “A lot of people have their art just sitting in a corner of a room, so this store gives them a place to show off their art.”
The store’s name is an attempt to distill the essence of all art to its foundations, according to Caouette.
“Every work of art, everything that is made, is just made from a point, a line or a curve – nothing else,” he said.
Exhibits include handcrafted jewelry, paintings, sculptures, woodcarvings, dreamcatchers, and antiques. There is a wide variety of artwork in the store, including several pieces with Native American and Japanese themes. He said all local artists are encouraged to inquire about renting a showcase.
“We want all kinds of art here,” Caouette said, adding that there is a large community of artists in the Greater Gardner area. “But most artists don’t really have an outlet to sell their work. This store will give them an outlet.
Although the store has operated primarily by word of mouth for the past few weeks, Caouette said a storefront sign will be erected soon and a grand opening event is being planned. He added that public reaction so far has been positive and that he appreciates the support of his fellow business owners.
“That’s one of the reasons we wanted to come to Gardner, because it’s a good place to do business and the downtown area is growing,” he said. “They’re redoing the roads and improving the area, and we wanted to be part of that.”
In addition to exhibiting artwork, public classes held in the store’s basement and taught by local artists will soon be available, according to Caouette.
“Classes will be for all levels, from beginners to advanced, and students will learn all kinds of art forms,” he said.
Among those exhibiting work at the store is Elie Bastarache, an award-winning artist from Winchendon. He said the store presents a unique opportunity for the local arts community.
“I think it’s the best thing that ever happened for us artists,” said Bastarache, who specializes in painting, sculpture and sculpture. “Many of us dream and wish we could put our art in galleries, but they usually want a high commission. So you don’t stand a chance, especially a starving artist. But this store is a godsend for artists trying to make it.
Caouette said he hopes his store will provide customers with a unique local shopping or browsing experience.
“Everything is different here,” he said. “No two pieces are the same, even the jewelry.”
Caouette said he is working on setting up a phone line and a social media account, but for now anyone interested in exhibiting his work is welcome to stop by the shop.