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Betsy Craumer at Creative Ventures Gallery. Kelly Sennott photo.




Creative Ventures

Visit creativeventuresfineart.com. Hours are noon to 4 p.m. every day except Monday; visitors are welcome.




Creative venture
Bedford artist sets up multi-artist shop/studio in Amherst

08/06/15
By Kelly Sennott ksennott@hippopress.com



When you’re a working artist, it’s important to never underestimate the power of being visible.

It was the primary drive in Betsy Craumer’s developing Creative Ventures Gallery, located on Route 101A in Amherst in a little yellow-paneled building. The small business, which got started in July, boasts an indoor art gallery, artists’ studios and art classes. Paintings layer the three stories, and easels of all sizes stand in various rooms and corners, some empty, others occupied by half-finished work.
Craumer’s art studio previously resided in her Bedford home, but she found people were either unknowing or unwilling to drive there to take lessons or see her artwork. 
Even during the statewide Open Doors events, few trickled to her doorstep.
“So I started to look around,” she said at the gallery/studio last week, between painting time (she was working on a pastel farm piece). “You need to be visible to the public to sell stuff, to get your name out there. I mean, I do the outdoor shows, but you’re only there for a weekend. If somebody’s interested in something, they can’t come back the following weekend and get it because you’re gone. I’ve had people ask me, ‘Do you have stuff on permanent display somewhere?’”
Usually, the answer was no.
“I realized I needed something where people could stop by and look at the work,” Craumer said. “There are people in downtown Nashua who do art classes, and maybe out in Wilton, but I don’t think there’s much of that in Amherst.”
Craumer’s mother, who lives down the street, found the space above Hair Bazaar, and Craumer moved in and put out a call for artists early in July. At the time of her interview, the sign wasn’t hung, but a few other artists had already made use of the building: Albine Vermot-Gaud, Emily Johnson, Karen Bruson, Rollande Rousselle and Helene Levasseur had rented studio rooms or nooks. Barbara Danser, Eileen Belanger, Alene Sirott-Cope and Johnson had offered themselves up as teachers for on-site fine art classes, which will occur in the lower-level opening.
At work that day was Levasseur, a Nashua-based woman who used to create in a Picker Building studio with a collection of other painters. When that group disbanded, she went to find another communal art space with her friend Bruson.
“I realized I still wanted to have a space out in the public,” Levasseur said. “Karen was excited about coming here because of the high traffic, and also her husband’s store’s across the street. I figured I’d had enough time by myself. I like being with other people.”
Rousselle was also painting in Amherst that day and agreed painting with other people makes a “big difference.” 
Craumer is still looking for more artists and more teachers to take up residence and lead classes. She anticipates an opening reception, possibly with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce, sometime early in September. 
Putting together this venture has been time-consuming, but good for her art, too.
“It’s taking me out of the house a lot more because we’re only technically closed one day a week. So it’s picked up the art-making,” she said.  
 
As seen in the August 6, 2015 issue of the Hippo.





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