A former Princeton Mall retail space is being transformed into a co-op and studios for local artists.
Princeton resident Jim Levine is the driving force behind the new space next to the Metropolis hair salon to be called Princeton Makes. He and the other artists who are part of the cooperative will celebrate the grand opening of the space from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on September 18. The event will feature live music, outdoor painting in the mall’s courtyard, and artist demonstrations. The event is free and open to the public.
Levine, the former acting director of the Princeton Arts Council, creates the art of stained glass. He was looking for a space to create his art outside of the house, and that’s how he came up with the idea for the artists’ cooperative.
Originally, Levine envisioned Princeton Makes as a space where individual artists would sell art in their own studios. Based on feedback from artists, his idea evolved to include both studio space and retail space where artists can sell their work on consignment.
A percentage of artists’ sales go to the business, and artists with a studio will pay rent for their space at below market rates. Currently, 10 artists have reserved studio space, and another 16 artists will sell their work on consignment. Artists are responsible for spending eight hours in the store every two weeks to help with the retail sales of Princeton Makes. Artists who have studios can spend those eight hours in the studio space. “Anytime the store is open it ensures that there will be someone in the studio to talk to people,” Levine said.
Princeton Makes will fill a need for artist studios in the Princeton area while providing interaction and inspiration between artists, who will be able to use the space seven days a week. The co-op will initially be open to the public from 10 am to 6 pm h Thursday to Sunday.
“The management of the mall have been great in helping this start,” said Levine. “They want to support artists, while increasing pedestrian traffic. “
Art made and sold at Princeton Makes will cover a range of artistic genres, including painting, drawing, stained glass, sculpture and jewelry. Customers will be able to support local artists by purchasing a wide variety of artwork including large paintings, prints, personalized greeting cards, stained glass and window hangings, jewelry in a variety of designs and patterns, and more.
Levine said one of the biggest draws for artists has been the opportunity to be part of a community of fellow artists. “Princeton Makes will provide a space where they can both do and talk about art with each other. It’s fun to see that aspect.