GARDNER — A new downtown shop is aiming to shine a spotlight on local artists.
William Caouette and Paula Abare, a married couple from Ashburnham, quietly opened 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 artwork after they outgrew the small shed at their house. “So, we found this spot and it’s just perfect.”
They began reaching out to other local artists and asked them if they’d 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. The cases rent for $25 per week and the artist receives 100 percent of their sales, he said.
“They love it,” Caouette said of the artists renting space at the shop. “A lot of people have their art just sitting in a corner of a room, so this store gives them a place to show their art.”
The name of the store is an attempt to distill the essence of all art to its basics, according to Caouette.
“Every piece of artwork, anything that is made, is just made from a dot, a line or a curve — nothing else,” he said.
The pieces on display include handcrafted jewelry, paintings, sculptures, wood carvings, dreamcatchers and antiques. There is a wide variety of artwork in the store, including several pieces with Native American and Japanese themes. He said any local artists are invited to inquire about renting a display case.
“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 mainly by word-of-mouth over the past few weeks, Caouette said a storefront sign will soon be erected, and a grand-opening event is in the planning stages. He added that public reaction so far has been positive, and he appreciates the support of his fellow business owners.
“That’s one of the reasons we wanted to come to Gardner, because it’s business-friendly and the downtown area is growing,” he said. “They’re redoing the roads and improving the area, and we wanted to be part of it.”
In addition to displaying artwork, public classes hosted in the store’s basement space and taught by local artists will soon be available, according to Caouette.
“The classes will be for all levels, from beginners to advanced, and students will learn all kinds of art forms,” he said.
Among those displaying work at the store is Elie Bastarache, an award-winning artist from Winchendon. He said the store presents a unique opportunity for the local art community.
“I think it’s the best thing that’s ever happened for us artists,” said Bastarache, who specializes in painting, carving and sculpturing. “A lot of us dream and wish we could put our art in galleries, but they usually want a high commission. So, you don’t have a chance, especially a starving artist. But this store is a godsend for artists who are trying to make it.”
Caouette said he hopes his store will provide customers with a unique local shopping or browsing experience.
“Everything here is different,” he said. “There’s no two pieces that are the same, even the jewelry.”
Caouette said he is working on installing a phone line and social media account, but for the time being anyone interested in displaying their artwork is invited to stop by the shop.
This article originally appeared on Gardner News: Dot Line Curve Creations Gift Gallery art shop opens in Gardner