- story by Lisa Monti and Ellis Anderson
Studio Waveland + Gallery’s newest addition, The ART SHOP, made its debut March 13, shortly before social distancing overtook daily life.
But owners Erica Larkin Gaudet and Mitchell Gaudet quickly made the transition from operating their Coleman Avenue brick-and-mortar location to an online-only version of the new store.
The idea for The ART SHOP came about because the Gaudets saw that some gallery visitors were interested in smaller pieces of art that they could buy and take with them. (By contrast, buyers of artwork exhibited at the gallery have to wait until the exhibition ends to get their purchases.)
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“That was the start of it,” Erica said.
The ART SHOP, adjacent to the larger main gallery, was designed to be more gift shop than gallery, Erica says. “We thought about creating an additional space somewhat similar to a museum shop, full of handmade unique art that would be welcoming for collectors and art lovers.”
Until The ART SHOP reopens its storefront, shoppers and collectors can view and purchase original paintings, jewelry, art glass, sculptures, silk scarves and other unique works created by almost 20 artists who are known locally and nationally.
They include Erica, a sculptor who works primarily with metal, and Mitchell, a glass artist. All the artists have had their work exhibited at the Waveland gallery. Erica expects to add many more artists to the shop’s roster. She said about 200 artists have had work exhibited in the gallery since it opened.
Meanwhile, the online ART SHOP is helping to support local artists and put art into the lives of more people.
“A lot of artists enjoy creating smaller works, and it’s an opportunity for buyers to collect pieces of different price ranges and to walk away with an original work of art during their visit,” Erica said. “It’s also a great way for people to get to learn about new artists.
“We employ the same philosophy for the ART SHOP as we did creating our main gallery: We hope to promote the works and creativity of many different artists, helping show their artwork to the public and connecting them to buyers,” said Erica.
Mitchell Gaudet, is an internationally recognized glass artist who works with the hot-cast process. His wife, Erica Larkin Gaudet, is an award-winning metal sculptor and artist. The couple have a history of revitalizing New Orleans neighborhoods by creating arts centers.
The Bay-Waveland area embraced the concept whole-heartedly and Studio Waveland has hosted major art events over the past two years, drawing people from across the region.
The city of Waveland recently extended the Gaudet's lease on the building for twelve more years, demonstrating their backing for the new win-win match-up that benefits the community, local tourism and the coast arts scene. This allowed the Gaudets to make the significant investment involved to move and install glass artist Mitchell's studio to the site. The studio includes an enormous melting furnace that holds 600 lbs of molten glass and cooling ovens.
Bringing the furnace up to heat is a two-week process. The Gaudets are hoping that by this fall, the installation process will be complete and the COVID crisis will have passed, allowing for a community "Lighting of the Furnace" celebration.
When the furnace is operational, Studio Waveland will host workshops and demonstrations, attracting art glass lovers from across the country. With all four components of the arts center in full swing - the gallery, the glass and sculpture studios of the Gaudets and the ART SHOP, Studio Waveland's goal is to fuel the community's culture - and economy.
In the meantime, Erica says, “With the ART SHOP, we are looking forward to being a part of the online art world revolution and being accessible to a broader audience as well.”
- Abbey Caruso- drawings & prints
- Ryan Gianelloni- Wall sculptures
- Martin Needom- Sculptures
- Carlie Trosclair- Sculptures
- Erica Larkin Gaudet- Sculptures
- Luba Zygarewicz-Sculptures
- Pamela Tripp- Mixed media paintings & sculptures
- Jan Auleta- Mixed media paintings & sculptures
- Wendo- Mixed media paintings & sculptures
- Jolean-Mixed media paintings & sculptures
- Kristina Larson- Ceramic sculptures & jewelry
- Doris Ingle- Oil paintings
- Kyra Hodes- Jewelry
- Martha Homes Chambers- sculptural jewelry
- Mitchell Gaudet- Glass Sculptures
- Kerr Grabowski- Paintings and scarves