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The Garage on 25: An upcycled lifestyle

Woman at canvas paints cows

FLETCHER, NC - The Garage on 25 is as much an experience as it is a hub for the arts. The owners of The Garage on 25 have taken an eclectic approach to their Fletcher, NC artisan mall, mixing 80 artists, craftspeople and vintage pickers together under one roof. Combined with a café, a music venue and an active art studio, The Garage spotlights the colorful local arts scene and people in Western North Carolina. Four women gathered in the summer of 2016, and decided to create something new in Northern Henderson County, stemming from their passion and love for the arts and for the wonderful talent located in this region.

Three of the partners are natives of Tryon, N.C. and grew up together - Ellen McCown Schwab, Lisa ​Preston Clark and Susan Brady. Kaye Youngblood, the fourth partner, is a native of Fletcher, and taught Ellen and Lisa’s children during her career at Hendersonville High. The enterprise is very much a business, but also like a family business in many ways:

Susan’s son Stephen Morris runs the sales desk; Kaye’s son Jake works on projects after school; Lisa’s husband Rick wears many hats; cousins, parents, kids, friends of the partners and also of the Garage’s 80 vendors – everyone lends a hand. Represented are acclaimed folk artists, handmade furniture craftspeople, and visual artists of all types, potters, and creative people who re-purpose upcycle and recycle items into delightful creations. Not to mention the very talented group of vintage pickers – furniture, home décor, clothing and the unexpected. The shop is about all things fanciful… the collectable and the desirable. Workshops and classes in the Garage’s art studio, officially “The Studio Underground”, are taught by the Studio’s Artists-in-Residence, whom are also Garage vendors. Filling the Studio Underground’s calendar are:

· Acrylic Painting – teaching the art of painting with acrylics, focusing on a variety of subjects, and one very popular pet portraiture class where you can “Paint Your Pet”

· “Found Object” Jewelry – transforming a beloved or unusual item into wearable art

· Silk Painting - which teaches the art of “Serti” silk painting on your own 8 x 10 silk canvas using patterns and paints

women painting a chair

· Chalk Painting – refurbishing/transforming furniture or home décor using a variety of paints, finishes and stains, and an additional class which teaches how to paint on any surface, metal, plastic, wood, glass…

· Custom Sign Making ­– creating a completely original sign from using wood, paint, and custom stencils

Classes in the works include Garbage Assembly Art, ​Jewelry and craft classes for kids, ​Making Fairy Houses, Repurposing Household Items into lamps, Building Terrariums, Simple Upholstery… The third piece of The Garage is the Café, “The Coffee Garage” which serves delicious coffees and specialty drinks, locally baked goods and lunches. An already established tradition is bluegrass & gospel music Sundays from 1 to 3 pm. The Coffee Garage recently launched Live Events, in order to be more of a cultural gathering place in evenings and on weekends. The inaugural act played to a delighted crowd, Kier, Musical Comedy. Next up was Culture Shock Visual Trivia, Celtic Fiddler and storyteller Jamie Laval, and local musician and WNCW radio host Marshall Ballew, with a folk and blues performance inspired by his Appalachian roots. And many more to come.

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