More space, more foot traffic, and the same neighborhood. These are the positive characteristics that make the Cape May Artists' Cooperative new gallery not only a great place to display artwork, but to hosts demonstrations and workshops.

In January, the Co-op transitioned from its old gallery, at 484 Westbury St. in the West End Garage to 122 Sunset Blvd. - two blocks away. The new gallery opened Feb. 14.

"We were feeling pretty squeezed in the (old) space, a lot of the members wanted to teach classes and we absolutely couldn't do it there," said Co-op President Mary Stewart, of Town Bank. The Co-op currently boasts about 19 members, Stewart said.

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The new gallery has an improved space and shape, better light - which Stewart said is important to artists - and a room upstairs in which to host classes and demonstrations. The new gallery is also in the same neighborhood, in an area that encourages more foot traffic, which is crucial, as all of the art in the gallery is for sale.

On March 8, the gallery is hosting its inaugural demonstration with Co-op artist Dennis Dowe. Dowe's primary medium is candlemaking, so naturally Dowe will host a candlemaking demonstration.

"I'm going to do as many techniques as I can in a short amount of time," Dowe said. Candlemaking tends to be a long process because the wax has to cool and set, so Dowe plans on working with candles that are in various stages of completion to show his techniques.

"I like to work outside, so maybe I'll work on one of our porches," Dowe said.

Yes, the new space also has porches.

"I love (the new gallery), I can't stop smiling," Dowe said. "It really came together great; it's a great viewing experience."

Stewart said the Co-op definitely has plans to continually host demonstrations, workshops and classes.

"We don't have a definite schedule yet, but we're going to do plein aire painting in the summertime, in late afternoon we're going to do pastels or stained glass, and we're going to do some kind of upcycle craft classes," Stewart said.

Stewart is a fiber artist - she knits, sews, and does fabric collages. Dowe said one of the main reasons he wanted to join the Co-op, about a year ago, was to be a part of a community of diverse artists, many of whom have already inspired his work.

"(Everyone) really has to see the new space - it's just great for viewing all of the art," Dowe said. "We're so psyched for the summer, it's going to be great."

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