Alice Eckles & Nathaniel Williams | ART, etc. | Shows | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice


Alice Eckles & Nathaniel Williams

When: Through Aug. 28

Location, location, location. It’s a real estate mantra that can also apply to gallery owners. And it certainly explains in part why Andrea Melville recently jumped on a new home for ART, etc. in Randolph. In its previous quarters in downtown Northfield, ART, etc. showed and sold a variety of artful wares, from pottery to stained glass to wooden bowls to paintings. And each month, Melville would host a couple of temporary exhibits on the walls. That recipe translates well to Randolph, but the new venue — essentially one large room — is airier and lighter. “It’s a beautiful space, nearly double the [size] of the old one,” Melville said of the room’s “1,250-ish” square feet. She was even able to add a kitchenette for serving at receptions. The walls are in pale hues of yellow and green, and the original wainscoting is painted white. Only the wide pine floorboards, dark brown and pocked with wear, betray a long history. A former church, circa 1880s, the building has also housed a thrift shop, a Masons lodge and, most recently, a warren of professional offices, Melville explained on a recent visit. A hair salon shares the first floor with the gallery, and the building’s new owners plan to open Brainstorm Art Supply on the capacious second floor sometime this summer. An exterior paint job appears to be in the works, too — a sampling of blue shades has been daubed on the clapboard. Melville said that the number of artists she represents is “pushing 35 — and close to 50 percent of them from central Vermont.” In Randolph she joins a burgeoning creative community — including Chandler Center for the Arts and another small gallery down the street — that participate in First Friday art walks and other events. Melville happily noted a growing food scene, as well, from the northern Thai restaurant Saap, whose chef and co-owner recently won a James Beard Award, to a soon-to-open bakery and coffee shop. The evolution, after all, must be caffeinated. “I’m hoping to do some things outside here, too,” Melville said, referring to the lot’s modest yard. “But probably not until next year.”