A partnership of Crozet-area artisans that opened a shop in “the purple house” in the Olde Town Shops downtown last fall and then lost the lease after Christmas has reopened their business across the street in the Crozet depot. The county-owned building has been vacant since Crozet Library moved to its new building in September 2013.
The artisans have a five-year lease from the county, agreed to by the Supervisors in June, with an option to renew. Both parties may also terminate the lease following a 90-day notice period.
The artisans will get about 1,100 square feet in the 1923 train station, about two-thirds of the area the library occupied, and the remaining third will be filled by the Albemarle Tourism and Adventure Center, a project of the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau. A workroom on the east end of the depot remains in the possession of the county. The county cleaned the space but otherwise made no alterations. The former library check-out counter is back doing similar duty.
“We want to make a presence for artists who live in this area,” said Kathleen Mistry, the spokeswoman for the group. “This will be a home for us and it gives the artisan community identity. It fits with tourism, too.
“We’ve been incredibly supported by the artisans and the community and the county,” she said. “The county has been very nice to work with and so has the Visitor’s Bureau. Everyone wants to help and I think it’s something the community wants.”
The Adventure Center will open in mid-July and besides providing information for tourists who might be visiting local wineries and breweries, will stress the area’s outdoor offerings for hikers, trail runners, cyclists, and anglers. It will have video monitors and be designed around high-tech features.
The depot is a “trail site” on the Artisan Trail Network and because of the tourism center there will be signs on Interstate 64 and local major roads that point the way to the depot. The county will also install signs on the depot itself.
Two partners from the artisans’ earlier group remain in the new one. The store will feature the work of about 30 artisans and offerings will include jewelry, pottery, paintings, photography, dulcimers, wooden furniture (and things such as bowls and cutting boards), baskets, fiber items, blacksmith products, and books, as well as other locally made items such as goat milk soap and CDs by local musicians.
The store will be open every day to be available for tourists. Partners will staff the store, along with some help from the artisans whose work is for sale. The Adventure Center will also be staffed. The hours will be Sundays through Tuesdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. “We’ll also participate in Second Saturdays (a monthly art show opening) with The Art Box and Over The Moon Bookstore,” said Mistry, a painter and jewelry-maker. “We’re in brainstorming mode for events to co-host with the Center. Now we’re thinking a monthly jam session.”
In July the shop will host a workshop with the Waynesboro-based Artisan Center of Virginia that will walk people through the process of becoming a juried Virginia artisan.
For more information, visit their website, www.crozetartisandepot.com, or their Facebook page.