WILMINGTON — April will not only bring showers, it’ll bring the opening of The Art House’s expansion.
The first weekend of April will see its unveiling with a soft opening on Friday, April 1, and then the grand opening taking place from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, April 2.
Art House owner Andrew Conarroe revealed the News Journal their expansion plans back in December. They expanded to the white building located next to them on West Sugartree Street where they’ll offer an area for local artists to work and grow. This adds around 1,200 square feet to the existing location.
The expansion has turned out a lot better than Conarroe expected.
“I didn’t expect things to flow in the way that I saw them in my head. Because when you have one big room, you’re kind of limited,” he said. “But it’s working out and it’s offering an opportunity to share a lot of material we haven’t used yet.”
When patrons enter the new facility, the shop will be to their left and they’ll be able to buy items made by local artists. To the right of the entrance will be a seating area for families and a place for kids to play games and such.
“All the games and kids stuff is going to be here so that parents can stay close but can still get do what they do,” said Conarroe.
In front of the entrance will be the community maker space.
“So anytime you want to come in for a ‘crafter-noon’ or something like that, you come in and pay an hourly rate then you have access to the workshop as well as all the loose parts,” he said.
Patrons can also take part in projects the Art House has set aside or they’re welcome to work on their own projects.
Conarroe hopes locals feel encouraged to come to the expanded Art House if they feel that creating art or crafting would be messy or expensive.
“You can come here, pay for a few hours, use our supplies and not have to worry about cleaning up your kitchen or your craft room,” he said. “I know glitter is very scary for a lot of parents — it’s actually scary for me too because of the environment — but I know how much fun it is. So, parents can bring their kids here and make a mess. They get to walk out the door and worry about cleaning glitter out of their clothes for the next month.”
Starting on Earth Day weekend, the Art House will be hosting the first of four “loose parts” sales which Conarroe described as being like an estate sale.
“A different non-profit group is going to come every Saturday and run the sales. They’ll get half of the profits,” he said. “The community has donated so much to us … and it feels a little gluttonous to hold on to it all. Some of it is hard to let go but also I’m not going to use this in the next year or so. So, let’s get it out there.”
Conarroe said it’s an inspiring space that will continue to transform and is always taking ideas from the community.
“It continues to change and survive because of the people who support it. So, we want to make sure we’re supporting there,” he said.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574