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Pop-up shop closes

  • One of Greenfield artist Dan Brown's handpainted jackets seems to be watching pianist David Bartley perform during Sunday's opening of the holiday Pop Up Shop on Avenue A in Turners Falls.

    One of Greenfield artist Dan Brown's handpainted jackets seems to be watching pianist David Bartley perform during Sunday's opening of the holiday Pop Up Shop on Avenue A in Turners Falls.

  • Hallmark Museum of Contemporary Photography in Turners Falls<br/>030116 MacDonald

    Hallmark Museum of Contemporary Photography in Turners Falls
    030116 MacDonald

  • One of Greenfield artist Dan Brown's handpainted jackets seems to be watching pianist David Bartley perform during Sunday's opening of the holiday Pop Up Shop on Avenue A in Turners Falls.
  • Hallmark Museum of Contemporary Photography in Turners Falls<br/>030116 MacDonald

TURNERS FALLS — Initially a temporary filler for a vacant, town-owned Avenue A storefront and later envisioned as an incubator for small art businesses, the Powertown Pop Up Shop has closed.

Organizers said the premature closure was to make way for the expansion of the neighboring Northeast Foundation for Children into the gallery space at the Third Street intersection.

Northeast Foundation for Children Managing Director Phil Pohlmeyer said his organization does not have concrete plans to expand, however. “We don’t have any hard and fast plans to move in,” Pohlmeyer said. “It’s a possibility.”

The shop was run by Lynn Nichols and Don Kruger of Gill, owners of online local products store Shop Western Mass, with the support of the town-affiliated Turners Falls RiverCulture program.

RiverCulture Director Lisa Davol said she had heard from the town they would not be able to keep the space past June, and might have to leave sooner.

Davol said she, Nichols and Kruger did not want to continue investing time and money in something that was going to close, especially during the post-holiday slow season organizers had intended to spend evolving the shop.

Pohlmeyer said the foundation rents the rest of the building from the town, to the tune of $90,000 a year, as office space for roughly 30 employees. Pohlmeyer said the foundation had made it clear to the town in November or December that they needed more space, before they learned of the pop-up shop plans.

“The last conversation I had with the town was we had to have a couple more meetings internally here before we made a decision one way or another,” Pohlmeyer said.

The shop was originally intended to close Christmas Eve, with organizers later securing permission from the Board of Selectmen to occupy the former gallery space vacated by the Hallmark Institute of Photography through June.

According to a release from the organizers announcing the closure, the shop carried work of over 50 artists.

“The success of the Pop Up Shop has shown us that this kind of venture is needed and possible, and we will look to continue the venture at a future point, as appropriate space and resources become available to start over,” reads a release from the merchants.

Davol said it is possible the program will look into another shop in the future, but having put all the RiverCulture seed money into opening the original, the program has no resources to do so at present.

Ideas discussed for long-term use of the space included developing an artists’ co-op, adding a co-op component to the existing consignment model and sharing the attached basement space with the Shea Theatre for rehearsals and smaller performances and as a venue for RiverCulture productions and rental use.

Davol said she has hopes of keeping the basement space, but will proceed with plans only if she gets a 100 percent guarantee it won’t be taken.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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