The Amherst Artistans Train Station Gallery will operate in a new home this year because of water damage from a January freeze at the historic train station.
AMHERST – The Amherst Train Station Artisans Gallery is moving to an alternate location for 2014.
Water damage from a January freeze is preventing the artisans from using the historic train station location this year. As a result, the gallery will be set up in the Amherst Curling Club sometime later this month and will run out of that location until early October.
“We looked at a number of locations for the gallery but we kept coming back to the curling club,” Ted Evans said. “It has lots of space to accommodate our artisans as well as those that are on the waiting list and there’s plenty of room for us to move forward with the farmer’s market concept we want to introduce this year.”
By using the curling club, Evans said the artisans group will be helping another local organization while also creating activity in a building that’s normally empty during the summer.
It will also give the artisans a blank canvass to create a village scene in which there’ll be farmer’s produce, baked goods, crafts and art in a comfortable indoor location. There are also plans to incorporate a stage for local entertainment.
“The curling club has so much potential for us this season,” Evans said.
The group also has another location to use in November and December and hopes to be back in the train station in 2015.
After opening as a pilot project in the former train station last July, the gallery exceeded expectations before closing for the season in December. There was plenty of traffic at the gallery with visitors from across North America signing the guest book.
It also provided an excellent opportunity for artists and artisans from around Amherst and Cumberland and Westmorland counties to showcase their work. It has also become a model in that officials from other towns with old train stations, including McAdam, N.B., are exploring the concept for their communities.
The January freeze destroyed the heating system and domestic water supply at the train station and cannot be repaired until the town and Via come to an agreement on the acquisition of the building.
John Warner said the town and Via have been working diligently on the matter and he credits both for helping make the gallery a reality last summer and for working together to make the train station a permanent home for the gallery. He said the co-operative could not be happier with last year and are optimistic toward this year.
“The Amherst Train Station Artisan Gallery Co-operative Ltd. is a community-based and not-for-profit organization whose mission is to further the growth of local arts, crafts and farmers products by providing a quality venue,” Warner said. “We want to allow local merchants to market and sell their products directly to customers, and in doing so, be a collaborative partner in facilitating the growth and development of the Town of Amherst and the surrounding region.
“Last fall, we exceeded our goals, even our imagination, and we want to continue to expand our participation with artisans, crafts and now a farmer’s market.”
From three artisans, the group grew last year to 57 with 24 more on the waiting list to show their products at the train station.