Cars lined both sides of the 300 block of State Street in Hamburg for the Grand Reopening events on Nov. 2, celebrating the new locations of the Art and Craft Gallery of the Our Town Foundation and the Lazy Dog Vintage Market.
More than 30 local artists, including three new to the gallery, are on display at OTF’s new location at 320 State Street. The revitalization group purchased the former Dietrich's Men's Shop building in June and officially moved Sept. 23. Over the next month, Hamburg Area Art Alliance members volunteered their time to give the former clothing shop a fresh look, with artist’s works displayed in the front room and administrative offices in the back.
OTF Executive Director Deena Kershner said the artists worked hundreds of hours, painting, installing shelves and adding lighting.
“We’ve been very busy and I’m so pleased with the turnout today,” said Kershner, adding that she loves the new building. “It’s laid out so much better, it’s more professional and the ambiance is so much better.”
Kershner greeted visitors. Among them, Sen. David Argall said he has visited the gallery in the past, and a piece from one of the artists hangs in his home. OTF’s emphasis on local artists, he said, makes a difference in small towns like Hamburg.
“It’s not parking, it’s not sidewalks,” Argall said. “The best downtown restoration projects include an art component. And Hamburg is a classic example of a successful downtown revitalization project.”
The new gallery will allow organized display spaces to entice shoppers. Different artists will rotate into the front window displays and some zones are set up for seasonal themes, such as a current holiday display.
Many of the artists attended the reopening.
“I think it looks great, everyone did a great job,” said artist Pirjo L’Esperance. “It’s so different from our previous space. It’s so open. We were going for a bit more of a gallery-feel this time.”
She noted the new set up includes an intentional mixing of artists and styles, placing two-dimensional framed pieces alongside three-dimensional pottery like items created by new member Brett Amey.
Amey, who grew up in Lenhartsville and has been throwing pottery for 20 years, says joining the Art Alliance has always been on his to-do list.
“This year, especially now that I live in town, the time was right,” he said.
Shoppers browsed art displays, enjoyed a snack buffet and entered prize drawings before heading across the street to the gallery’s former location, now home to the expanded Lazy Dog. The market originally opened in a smaller State Street location one year ago.
Owners Ashley and Justin Zimmerman grew up in the area before moving to Florida. There, they first saw a market with a similar vintage style and fell in love with the concept, participating as vendors before deciding to start their own business. This idea coincided with their plan to move back to Hamburg. Laughing, they explained that they actually opened the Lazy Dog in its original location (across State Street) before they settled on their house.
“I never could have imagined this,” Ashely said as she took a breather from waiting on customers.
“For five years now, we’ve wanted to bring this idea to life,” Justin added.
The newer, larger location allowed Lazy Dog to expand from less than 30 vendors to about 60. The Zimmermans created the basic structure of vendor booths and each vendor finished the space off to best display their wares, ranging from holiday decor and refurbished furniture to home decor and doggie treats. A large space in the back will be used for classes and the like.
Vendors Mike and Ursula Palumbo were happy to make the move across the street and attended the event that celebrated Lazy Dog’s reopening and one-year anniversary.
“It’s pretty exciting, the turn out,” Mike said. “A lot of the stuff here is unique. If you’re looking for something different, this is the place.”
For more information call the Our Town Foundation and Gallery at 610-562-3106 and the Lazy Dog Vintage Market at 484-660-3695, or find them on Facebook.