From gas station to gallery

Cass Area Artists, which reaches out to communities in Cass County, Michigan’s southwest corner, and the northwest corner of Indiana, recently landed a super deal with the new owner of a restored service station in the county seat, Cassopolis. The service station had previously been a private museum complete with every authentic piece of merchandise and equipment a Sinclair station would have been expected to possess back in the 1950’s. The owner decided to sell it, sans the collection of antiques, and the new owner bought it as an empty, but in good condition, shell. Here’s a photo of it while the building was still a museum.

The new owner’s intentions for the building serendipitously coincided with the aims of Cass Area Artists–precisely, to foster the arts and community culture in the area. We were therefore able to host the first art show ever in the huge area that previously served as the repair garage. With huge windowed doors, endless windows on three of the four walls, and a wonderful view of neighboring Stone Lake, it provided a lovely airy place for a temporary art gallery. Take a look at our opening day–

We were fortunate to have a steady stream of guests who not only stopped in to look, but also made some purchases. The huge front doors provided a great preview from outside and helped entice people to enter. Most were local residents, which is exactly the audience that Cass Area Artists wants to interact with to promote the arts. But we also had people from Illinois who had come to pick grapes nearby and just happened upon the site.

The owners surprised us with a portable gel fireplace when we arrived to set up. It was a chilly day and the fireplace threw some welcoming warmth into the space. The video I shot wasn’t the best at capturing everything, such as the detail at the end of our member Neil Benham’s incredible wood turned pieces, or the fireplace when lit. So cut me a little bit of slack here while we make do with photographs…

OK, there’s the fire, and the window to the left has the lake view although my phone isn’t the best at capturing complicated lighting. Just know that the light green band across the windows is the treeline at the other side of the lake!

Neil Benham’s unique take on wood turning. I love how he leaves the bark on some of the pieces. Others have natural holes in them which form an intriguing design departure from what is usually offered in this genre. The finish on all the pieces feels like satin! Also gotta love the tree limb business card holder.

OK, had to show off. The six pieces on the left are mine.

You wouldn’t expect windowed walls to work with paintings hanging over them, but we were really pleased with the way it all worked out. The show will be up through October 27, with a special event in the Sinclair station sponsored by the village of Cassopolis to be held on the 25th. More interaction with the community!

About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
This entry was posted in art, Cass Area Artists, exhibit opportunity, gallery show, oil paintings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to From gas station to gallery

  1. Emma Cownie says:

    What a great place to have a gallery and lots of parking too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alli Farkas says:

      It was interesting because experience has taught us to mainly expect the usual crowd of “friends and family” at these sort of informal gallery shows. But we had many people coming in off the street and I suspect it was partly because we cleverly filled the parking lot with our own cars and had a big banner out near the street, which made it look like something was really going on here. Human nature being what it is, I suspect people were simply tempted to see what was so interesting that it had filled the parking lot! In any case, it all made for a good day! Free coffee and doughnuts helped too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nancy Powers says:

    Such a unique venue! I love all that natural light…it’s absolutely a perfect place for an art display.

    Liked by 1 person

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