Food and Art Together? Naturally.

Pink Tulips, photo by Liza Cowan

I'm thrilled to announce that Pine Street Art Works will soon be opening an annex at Healthy Living Natural Foods, on Dorset Street in South Burlington. For those of you who don't live in these parts, Healthy Living is a locally and independently owned, ethically operated, and now rather large, retail provider of food and related products. HL started 20 years ago with a staff of two and now employs over 100 people.

I'm a fussy shopper and HL meets all my criteria. It's locally,independently and ethically owned and operated- by a dynamo of a woman named Katy Lesser. It is beautiful, it sells local organic produce and foods (thereby supporting local agriculture and artisinal food crafters), provides prepared food and baked goods  (I'm a pretty big fan of take out.)  The staff is great, and it functions as a Third Place, with it's restaurant and coffee bar, where people can sit and read the paper or run into old, or new, friends.

Here's the deal with Healthy Living. I will curate shows, small shows, in the store at the information/welcome center lasting up to two months. I estimate that between five to ten pieces can go up for each show. I will choose some of the artists who show at PSAW  but others will be coming in first to Healthy Living, and then maybe ending up later at PSAW.  So far, Cara Barer and Richard Gombar have agreed enthusiastically to showing at HL, which is two for two.

Best of all, this is a win -win -win situation. I get to show and sell my artists work to many more people than show up at my gallery, which is situated in a section of town I fondly call New Siberia.  Shoppers at HL  can view gallery quality art in an enhanced shopping experience. And HL gets to offer this visual treat to their customers. It's kind of the visual equivilent to being served a cup of free  coffee while you shop. This actually happened to me one morning at B*rns and N*ble bookstore a few weeks ago, and it was such an unexpected treat. The fact that they have a St*rbucks cafe in the store was not lost on me, but it didn't diminish my pleasure at being served a coffee. Such is the nature of marketing.

I'm starting the Healthy Living exhibition series with my own Fake! series because it's ready to hang and quite frankly, I can't resist the thrill of seeing my fake Matisses and Legers hanging in a grocery store. I can't even explain why I find this so exciting and amusing.

And here's a funny coincidence. It turns out that I used to live right next door to Katy's sister Elizabeth Lesser, in Woodstock, New York. My dog Alice, a beautiful German Shepard mix, used to trot through the small woods that separated our houses, sneak into Elizabeth's kitchen and steal food off her table. Apparantly Elizabeth isn't a major dog lover, but she was always gracious about it.