Downtown: A new Place to get creative opens on Main Street
By MEGAN DOYLE
Sunday, October 19, 2014
(Published in print: Monday, October 20, 2014)
Six weeks ago, Christa Zuber up and quit her job.
“I literally walked into my supervisor’s office and said, ‘I have no idea if it’s going to work,’ ” Zuber said.
She’s about to find out. This weekend, Zuber opened her downtown do-it-yourself studio and shop – The Place Studio and Gallery at 9 N. Main St.
Zuber, 35, has both taught art in a classroom and worked at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester. Nothing fit quite right, she said. She nearly bought a similar studio geared toward children in Abu Dhabi, where her sister lives, but that deal fell through.
She started her own business anyway, right here in Concord.
“Creativity – people are really lacking it in their lives,” Zuber said. “I think it can help relaxation, stress levels.”
Opening a business on a whim hasn’t been easy on Zuber’s stress levels. She had to raise the money to get going, write a business plan and secure a loan, renovate her store and purchase all of her supplies. And she gave herself just a month and a half to do it.
“I had an idea, but no idea how to make it happen,” she said.
She started a crowdfunding campaign on fundable.com, and while she didn’t meet her goal, she secured her loan with the weight of pledges from her donors.
“I think the ideas I originally set out with are still here,” Zuber said last week, looking proudly at the rows of ceramics and the freshly painted walls.
The studio is open to all ages, though Zuber said she wants to create an environment that will be geared toward adults. Her goal is to create a space where they can find that creativity again – and relax.
“You can spend hours on an art project and forget about” everything else, she said.
At the Place, a budding artist can spend hours on any of three projects: painting ceramics, painting on canvas with acrylic or decoupage. Just a few days before the shop’s opening, the shelves on the walls were lined with blank canvases and ceramic dishes. Rows of vases, boxes and Halloween decorations waited to be glued over with colorful paper.
“I think decoupage is really accessible and easy,” Zuber said. “People get into it.”
The studio will also feature work from local artists, including some prints of Zuber’s own photography. Small postcards and larger prints hang on the wall for sale. Thursdays and Fridays will be BYOB nights – perfect for a girls’ night out or a date night, she said. In the future, Zuber wants to add a kiln so customers can make their own pottery, too. She plans to host classes, parties, moms’ groups, home-school classes and others in her new space.
All of her ideas have come together to turn the place she only imagined into The Place Studio and Gallery.
“It doesn’t seem quite real yet,” Zuber said with a laugh. “Right now, it’s still been play.”
Sitting fees are $10 per person for adults and less for children, plus the price of items to decorate. Those can range from $2 to upwards of $25. The studio will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. For more information, visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/ThePlaceConcord.