Anton Art Center gift shop rebrands, moves online

By: Kristyne E. Demske | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published July 17, 2020

 Artwork is available for sale in the Anton Art Center’s online store, the Anton Art Market, while the center is closed due to COVID-19. This piece is by Darleen Urbanek.

Artwork is available for sale in the Anton Art Center’s online store, the Anton Art Market, while the center is closed due to COVID-19. This piece is by Darleen Urbanek.

Photo provided by Conrad Schmerheim, courtesy of the Anton Art Center

 The Anton Art Market now sells pieces, like this necklace by Patti Pfaendtner, online.

The Anton Art Market now sells pieces, like this necklace by Patti Pfaendtner, online.

Photo provided by Conrad Schmerheim, courtesy of the Anton Art Center

Advertisement

MOUNT CLEMENS — Now called the Anton Art Market, the former gift shop of the Anton Art Center has moved online to better support the artists selling items.

“Because we’re still closed to the public ... this is sort of the shift to our online presence,” said Anton Art Center Executive Director Phil Gilchrist.

Artists like Connie Sochacki, of East China, Michigan, will continue to stock the market at www.theartcenter.org with items from a variety of media, including fiber, jewelry, ceramics, paintings, drawings, prints, glass and more.

“Since (COVID-19) is keeping us away from public venues and artists are still creating, the online store is genius,” she said. “Many people will miss not being able to see the artwork in the beautiful setting of the Anton Art Center, but until we can all safely gather, we will have to change our behavior for the time being.”

Sochacki creates “narfs,” which are necklaces made from scarves, as well as upcycled jewelry boxes, sculpted pottery pieces and soft sculptured cloth art dolls. She, along with other artists who work with Anton Art Center, have also created face masks to sell in the online market.

“I believe the customers who know the center will be able to shop with confidence knowing that they can safely purchase online and will have the same quality and selection that has been available in the center previously,” she added.

Gilchrist said they are stocking the Anton Art Market with a variety of items in an effort to help artists who may not be able to earn income from traditional centers and galleries right now.

“As long as we’re still closed, we’re not able to sell their work and make any money for them,” Gilchrist said.

Online market shoppers can choose no-cost curbside pickup or pay for shipping.

Gilchrist said the center had asked some of its artists to contribute to a collection of face masks for sale. He said they now have a good variety of masks in many colors, styles and attachment types.

“I’m excited that our artists jumped on board right away and said, ‘Yeah, I can do that,’” he said. “We’re hopeful ... that by launching the online market ... we’ll be able to grow that audience.”

Previously, the gift shop was not very well known, and that, in and of itself, is part of the reason the center is rebranding it to the Anton Art Market, he said. The Anton Art Center Holiday Market is quite popular, he said, so they’re hoping to expand upon its appeal.

“We’re trying to shift the perception and gear up to really promote this as an opportunity for artists to sell their work and people to buy handmade arts and crafts items all year round, not just at our holiday market time,” he said.

More than 100 artists participate in the year-round market, many of whom also participate in the Holiday Market.

Artists are welcome to participate in the Anton Art Market by contacting artmarket@theartcenter.org.

“We’re hopeful that people will find something that they really enjoy here,” Gilchrist said.

Advertisement