2.22.2010

New Leaf gallery closing

The New Leaf Contemporary Art Gallery & Gift Boutique on Beekman Street hasn’t seen enough interest to stay open and will end its short run in business Wednesday, its owner says.

“I’m not really upset for myself; I’m upset for the people who showed their stuff here,” said Jeromy McFarren, the art student and local homeowner who established the artist’s consignment shop last September.

His innovative concept initially garnered the interest of local crafters who submitted everything from hand-decorated shoes, handmade ceramics, makeup, jewelry, gifts and contemporary artwork for a majority-share of the profits.

But 30 Beekman St. is a hard spot to steer customer traffic to, despite the burgeoning artists’ community that resides farther north on the street.

“People are not participating,” McFarren said with disappointment. “They’d much rather go to the mall or Wal-Mart than they would a local mom-and-pop store.”

While the undergrad is heading back to his studies at Empire State College, he says he retains his belief that sustainable communities must rely on a strong culture of interdependence between local consumers and local business owners.

McFarren cited Burlington and Brattleboro, Vt., as successful examples of arts-minded, walkable communities where giant corporate businesses are kept at bay — at least from the downtown area.

Is there potential for Saratoga Springs to improve in that area? (Readers, feel free to post comments below to share your thoughts.)

“I would like to say yes, but I think the economy needs to be better for that to happen … but I hope so,” he said.

McFarren said he’ll turn his lease over to a French fabric artist, Francelise Dawkins, who plans to open a boutique there in March.

Check back with In the Biz for more details in the coming weeks.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Scott Hotaling said...

As an artist (including one who has shown at New Leaf!) I am quite distraught by this news. New Leaf hasn't even been open for a year! The local arts scene within the Capital District exists solely because of the other artists involved, no thanks to the everyday passerby and patron. Even among my closest friends who are avid art collectors, it's sad to see them rarely consider buying locally instead of in some over-priced and over-rated resort town. The last thing our community needs is someone like Jeromy being left on the curb. Thank you Jeromy. No thank you to the majority of the community.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 7:58:00 PM 
Anonymous grace said...

Saratoga was late to come to this recession, but it is here now. The shops in town, even right on Broadway, are really feeling the economy. While many of the landlords are willing to work with shop owners that are struggling with rents, you can't keep the doors open when people aren't shopping. It is not uncommon to see only a hand full of people during an entire day - counting your postal worker! It is a tough road to travel right now and my heart goes out to New Leaf.

Thursday, February 25, 2010 2:50:00 PM 
Blogger Susan said...

I love shops like this and didn't even know it was there. Ever since I found Strolling Village Artisans in Ballston Spa I was hoping something like it would come to Saratoga. Why was this not publicized more?
When I moved to Saratoga about three years ago, I liked the idea of Beekman Street and the Arts District. I just don't think the city is doing enough to keep it alive. My favorite Saratoga yarn shop just closed and the new owner is renting a space for it on Beekman Street. I am quite worried for its future. I just moved downstate so I can't get involved, but I hope some Saratogians can figure out a way to make Beekman a true destination, so shops like New Leaf could have survived and thrived.

Friday, February 26, 2010 5:31:00 PM 
Anonymous Susan said...

I love shops like this and didn't even know it was there. Ever since I found Strolling Village Artisans in Ballston Spa I was hoping something like it would come to Saratoga. Why was this not publicized more?
When I moved to Saratoga about three years ago, I liked the idea of Beekman Street and the Arts District. I just don't think the city is doing enough to keep it alive. My favorite Saratoga yarn shop just closed and the new owner is renting a space for it on Beekman Street. I am quite worried for its future. I just moved downstate so I can't get involved, but I hope some Saratogians can figure out a way to make Beekman a true destination, so shops like New Leaf could have survived and thrived.

Friday, February 26, 2010 5:33:00 PM 
Anonymous Morning Observer said...

The city has become a bunch of played-out, tired and brain dead refugees from the metro Tri State area.

They have no interest -- nor capacity -- in supporting any sort of vibrant arts or music scene around them.

Saratoga is destined to a future of chain stores; cover bands performing in bars and street festivals; and 'dogs playing cards' and pretty race horses as the preferred artworks.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 11:48:00 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Susan, never knew this place existed. More needs to be done to promote the local art scene. The high rents keep artists away.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 12:30:00 PM 

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