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New downtown co-op caters to local artists

 

SARAH LOWERY

Staff Writer

 

A new co-op business aimed at helping local artists display and sell their work recently opened in downtown Lincolnton.

East Main Street Artisans celebrated its official grand opening with the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce last week, though it first opened its doors in time for last month’s Art Crawl on March 15.

Carl Katterson, who is currently the only person in the limited liability company (LLC), said Friday that he is in the process of recruiting more area artists and crafters to become members. The store, located at 109 E. Main St., currently has on display photography, crafts, paintings, pottery, candles and wood works.

Katterson, who said he slept only three times in the week before the Art Crawl to get the business ready, has high hopes for the future.

The Michigan native, who’s lived in North Carolina for 23 years and Lincolnton for more than 10, was retired prior to getting into his new venture, though he’s still a photographer who travels the world teaching workshops on the craft.

He recently went to Kenya (photographs from which are currently featured at the business) and has a trip to Alaska on the horizon.

Katterson also plans to begin offering classes locally through East Main Street Artisans.

Tutoring on photography is also available by appointment, and featured crafter Abby Neill will start teaching summer art classes for children in June.

However, Katterson’s ultimate sights are set on eventually acquiring and restoring the old cotton mill behind Fifth Third Bank in downtown Lincolnton and transforming it into a tourist attraction where artists would be part of special exhibits demonstrating how they do their craft, with live music and handmade foods completing the experience.

Of course, the possibility for this depends largely on the success of East Main Street Artisans, he noted.

“I want to put life back in the city,” Katterson said.

The co-op has the goal of benefiting everybody involved. Local artisans who decide to become members pay $60 a month and are expected to work at the business two days out of that month.

Additionally, any artwork of theirs sold requires a 15 percent commission to go to the store to help pay the bills.

East Main Street Artisans is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday. For more information, visit its website at http://eastmainartisans.com/.

 

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