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Creativity is the key to life – or at least Christa Zuber’s business idea

by Tim Goodwin [3] / Insider Staff [2]

Christa Zuber and her husband, Jeff Bowden, are either discussing a potential landing spot for Zuber’s new business, The Place Studio & Gallery, or what toppings to get on their afternoon pizza. [1] 

Nothing says looking for a new business location than peeking through a couple windows. [4] 

Christa Zuber has never been to Abu Dhabi.


She lived in Australia for two and a half years while getting her master’s and traveled to destinations like New Zealand, Fiji and Thailand, but there’s no United Arab Emirates capital stamp on her passport. It’s actually her sister, Jennifer, who has the desert paradise on lock down for the family and was almost the reason Zuber moved there this spring. That, and her plan to open an art studio amid the breathtaking skyline and ridiculously blue water that she had only witnessed on the internet. Although it is a lot easier to explore in your pajamas.


But for Zuber, the fact she had never hopped on an airplane for the nearly 11-hour flight (and that’s just the time in the air) wasn’t about to keep her from pursuing a dream – or moving there.


“Sometimes you take a leap and you figure it out,” Zuber said.


Unfortunately for Zuber that plan fell through at the last minute and left her at a crossroads, which could turn out to be very good news for all of you.


When Zuber couldn’t open her dream business halfway across the world, she wasn’t sure what to do next. The next phase of her life had been so close, and now it was back to square one.


“I started thinking ‘Where do I want to be?’ ” Zuber said.


Then a day trip to Portland, Maine, with her husband, Jeff Bowden, in late July gave her some clarity – and another brilliant idea. The next day she gave her notice at work and moved forward with her new plan – to open a do-it-yourself art studio in the same place she had lived for the last five years. (Just for the record, Zuber and Bowden live in Concord.)


And while it’s still in the planning stages, Zuber let us in on a few details and in turn we’ll pass them along to you. Thank you, but please hold your applause until the end.


It will be called The Place Studio & Gallery (after her first name idea was turned down by the state), and being somewhere on Main Street or close to it is a priority. She has been scoping out the available spaces in the downtown area for her hands-on shop of creativity and hopes to have something in place soon, especially since her plan calls for an October opening.


“There’s no place that’s doing it all,” Zuber said. “I want to be the creative place to drop in on Main Street.”


Now we all know that Concord is rich with art galleries that bring high quality work to the area for all to view and purchase. But Zuber’s idea is a little different.


Don’t get us wrong, there will absolutely be art on the walls for sale. No one likes an empty gallery. But most of it will consist of Zuber’s photographs or one of her many artistic friends’ work. But when you’re done wall shopping, don’t be in a hurry to get out the door. For only $10 you can find your inner artist.


“I want a space for the every day person to feel like they can be an artist, be creative,” Zuber said. “And Main Street is perfect for it.”


Spending a crisp Alexander Hamilton will get you a day pass, and then all you have to do is pick out the next great creation you want to hang on the bedroom wall or display on the living room mantle. Or one you wish to donate to the Insider pod. We like blues, greens and anything that resembles tie-dye.


“People could spend a half hour or they could spend three hours,” Zuber said.


Do you feel like taking a blank piece of pottery and making it a (fill-in-your-name) original? Because you’ll be able to do that. Is painting by numbers on a canvas what you feel like doing on a Saturday afternoon with the family? Zuber will have that covered – and painting on a blank canvas, too. Decoupage (which we recently found out is an actual thing where you glue things to an object) is also on The Place’s menu of fun.


“It’s really whatever the rage is at the moment,” Zuber said.


So the $10 will give you use of the materials, and all you need to do is buy the pottery, canvas or box (which we also found out is great for decoupage).


Zuber has a vision and just can’t wait to see it take shape. There are plans for Friday date nights, Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon classes/workshops and hopefully the chance to enjoy beer or wine, which you’d have to bring yourself.

“I definitely want it to be an eclectic spot where people want to hang out,” she said.


The one thing is that she needs some help to get started. Zuber estimates it will cost $10,000 to get off the ground, and so far she has raised about $2,600 through her Fundable account ( And she now has a little less than 50 days to raise the rest.

Come October, we’ll hopefully see Zuber’s plan in action, in a storefront near you.

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