ROGERS-LOWELL AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Pop-up Galleries Lead to Brick and Mortar Endeavors as Creative Business Seek Out Downtown Rogers

Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce issued the following announcement on July 30.

Art and music are an increasingly important element in the Northwest Arkansas business community and entrepreneurs with a passion for creativity are finding their way to downtown Rogers to do business.

New brick and mortar locations are offering an array of options to purchase locally made artisan products or take classes and workshops to do-it-yourself. These include locally sourced furniture manufacturers, custom jewelry makers, craft beer breweries, handcrafted coffee production and any number of visual arts.

Art on the Bricks Art Walk has served as a launch pad for some of these artists to grow their businesses from a hobby to a full-time business. The monthly Art Walk does more than just provide artists with an opportunity to sell their work. It also offers an incentive for Northwest Arkansas residents and visitors to explore an area of the community that might not otherwise be part of their regular routine. Downtown Rogers is a popular date night destination and an opportunity for groups of friends or entire families to enjoy dinner, shopping and live music while meeting dozens of artists and purchasing artwork on the 2nd Thursday of each month. The public is invited August 8 from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. where 20+ downtown merchants open their businesses to artists with music, dancing, interactive art experiences and pop-up galleries.

Marie Haley owns Art & Soul Studios NWA with her daughter, Miranda Haley Twaddle. They have operated a popular artist studio and gallery in the Rogers Experimental House for just over a year, and their hobby business has become a full-time endeavor as they make plans to move to their own brick and mortar space at 317 N 2nd St. in early August.

“One of my favorite things is that our interactive art classes lets strangers become neighbors,” explained Haley. “The foot traffic generated by the art walk and influx of art-related businesses has allowed our business to explode well beyond our expectations,” she continued. "Likewise our efforts to promote classes has attracted more than 800 people from across NWA. Some from as far away as Springfield, Missouri; Eastern Oklahoma and Fort Smith, many of whom are seeing downtown Rogers for the first time.”

Additionally, Haley has hosted several corporate groups for team-building experiences, allowing co-workers to escape the confines of an office and reconnect through art.

Kathy McClure, branch manager for Gateway Mortgage Group, LLC, helped establish the art walk to support the arts community and support the downtown.

“Gateway Mortgage brings in a new artist every month to showcase our Downtown community of restaurants, theater and retail shopping,” explained McClure. “We like the concept of giving a new artist an outlet to present their works in hopes of helping them grow their business,” she continued.

McClure goes beyond the monthly artist reception. She exhibits the work of one or two artists throughout the month because it is good for business.

“Yes, we are proud to host these up and coming artists all month long. When passersby see a sign in the window that invites them in for a cup of coffee and to view the art, it welcomes them to get acquainted with the art and with our company, and that first meeting can result in a friendship, a referral or a business relationship down the road.”

The owners of Woof & Wander are also cheerleaders for downtown economic development and opening their door to support artists with a pop-up gallery.

“A community full of art is a community full of culture,” commented Lindz Dolan, co-owner of Woof & Wander, a canine pantry and outfitter committed to inspiring a more adventurous life for animals and humans. “From debut artists getting their work seen by the public for the first time to established artists making more connections, the DTR art walks bring new patrons to our sidewalks and our shops and that is good for the locally owned stores and restaurants,” she continued.

“Artists work hard to present their art and music as a gift to the community, and in turn, the community shows their love, respect and support,” said Naomi Hashimoto, the other devoted pet lover, dog mom and co-owner of the shop. “We love that there are so many dog-friendly and artist-friendly businesses in downtown Rogers. We want our customers and neighbors to know they can be a part of this creative community collaboration every second Thursday of each month in Downtown Rogers,” she continued.

The 2nd Thursday of each month locally owned businesses host pop-up galleries and provide a free, family friendly experience. Presented by Go Downtown Rogers in partnership with business owners and area non-profit organizations, guest artists from across NWA are given the opportunity to exhibit, demonstrate and sell their work. Talented artists, craftsmen and musicians bring their products to the shops and restaurants and provide an exciting opportunity for the public to explore the businesses and meet the artists.

The list of participating businesses and artists in the August 8 Art on the Bricks Art Walk will be posted online at on August 5.

Original source can be found here.

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