In a cozy storefront lit with the rays of the winter sunlight through its large panes of glass, sits a shop created by artists with a mission to sell and display handmade trinkets crafted by Michigan artists’ hands. Artistica Gallery originally started across the street, but has been in its current location, next to the village clock at the Corner of Main and Broad Street, for seven years come this February.
“No matter what kind of mood you’re in, if you’re in a lousy mood, you just come in here and oh my gosh, you are just surrounded with such beautiful art. It just brightens your day and the location is absolutely ideal,” said Pam O’Hara, co-owner and one of the original founders of Artistica on Jan. 13.
The store only sells items created by artists in the state of Michigan. Many local artists’ works are featured alongside artwork created by each of the store’s owners.
“We strive to have a pretty wide variety of things here,” O’Hara said. “We’re always looking for talent. We are all Michigan artists in here and I would say the majority of the artists are from this general area.”
Items within the store range from fiber arts, handcrafted cutting boards and cribbage boards, to miniature, painted fairy doors commonly seen throughout Ann Arbor. Wood-turned screwdrivers, wall photography art and handmade jewelry are also prevalent throughout the space.
Artistica’s business partners have come and gone over the years. There are currently four artists, including O’Hara, who own and run Artistica.
O’Hara said each owner had to buy into the business and has equity in the store. Owners work on different days of the week and also sell their own unique styles of artwork within the store.
Artistica co-owner Anne Kornow makes her own jewelry. One can easily admire the boxes that house her jewelry creations just as much as the jewelry itself. The jewelry boxes are also made by Kornow.
Susan Davis, another co-owner, is a fabric artist who creates items such as wall hangings and baskets.
The newest business partner to join Artistica, Karen Schulte, came on board earlier this month. Schulte specializes in stained glass and mosaic artwork.
O’Hara has been creating high fire stoneware pottery for over 30 years, which she sells in the store and at the Ann Arbor Art Fair. With a background in human resources and business start-ups, she decided to use her business skills and combine them with her love of clay to open a business. She uses both wheel thrown and slab pottery making methods.
O’Hara says most of her pottery, which is made in her basement studio and fired in her garage kilns, is completely functional.
“It’s just so relaxing and it’s fun to play with mud.” O’Hara said, joking that it isn’t quite as fun when it’s -12 degrees outside.
O’Hara said part of her marketing goal for Artistica was to help it make Dexter a place for people to come shop.
“Dexter has grown in the eight years since we’ve been here and it really has become a destination,” O’Hara said.
On the fourth Friday of every month, except in January or May, Artistica highlights an artist featured in the store with a 5–8 p.m. reception showcasing his or her works of art.
Artistica is closed on Sundays and Mondays during the winter season. Winter store hours are Tuesday–Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
During the holidays, Artistica is open every day of the week. In the summertime, the store is also open Sundays to attract people out and about enjoying the nearby lakes.
Artists interested in displaying their own Michigan-made wares in the store can contact Artistica by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (734) 426-1500.
Artistica Gallery is located at 3203 Broad St. in downtown Dexter.
“Just look for the red door by the village clock,” O’Hara said. “It’s a great little shop. Come and see us!”