Business:

Cape May

Artists' Cooperative Gallery

Location:

122 Sunset Blvd., West Cape May

Owners: 19 artist members

President: Mary Stewart, of Lower Township

Employees: Owner operated

Phone: 609-435-5253

Cape May Artists' Cooperative Gallery is a group of all Cape May County residents who have been looking for an opportunity to show and sell their work, as well as to host classes and demonstrations.

We got together in December 2009. We had a popup store on West Broadway. In 2010 we moved into the West End Garage.

We really got to the point where we needed a little more space. As nice as the West End Garage was, it didn't give us the room to do classes and demos.

We have painting, photography, jewelry, stained and fused glasswork, woodwork and fiber arts.

One of the things we're looking for is pottery, and we're also looking for variety within existing media. If we find someone with a unique approach or technique, we pretty much welcome an application.

We have four gallery areas, with about 1,100 square feet of space downstairs. One of the great things about the building is that it has big windows and wonderful light.

We have a monthly schedule and everyone has to work a certain number of hours a month. And everybody needs to be in charge of the daily operation, putting out signs, making sure we have supplies, changing light bulbs.

Everybody has a day job. We have school teachers. I work at the

Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts. One is a freelance and grant writer, and one is a nurse. Everyone is spending as much time as they can on their art, but there are the realities of life.

We pay quarterly dues to the coop, and the coop takes a 10 percent commission on sales.

It's been interesting because we had to acquire a point-of-sale system and then 19 artists had to learn how to use it. It's been remarkably painless, I think because we have a common vision.

The future: We're developing our schedule of classes right now. We'll have plein air painting classes in summer, and a beaded jewelry workshop in May.

Business editor Kevin Post