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You got to have art

Maison des Artistes offers a lovely place for artists in Lake Oswego


by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lots of everything is being offered at Maison des Artistes on Avenue A in Lake Oswego. From the left are owners KT Bronson, Cindy Ayala and Chris Shimpach.The location of 599 A Ave. in Lake Oswego has been a tough one for the last few businesses setting up shop there.

But hopefully no longer. Maison des Artistes looks to be beautiful, unique and permanent for owners-artists Chris Shimpach, Cindy Ayala and KT Bronson.

“We have a little bit of everything,” said Bronson, who serves as store manager. “We have everything from wall art to wearable art. This is not a little pop-up store.”

“We want to stay,” chimed in Ayala. “We stumbled onto this location.”

“Our biggest challenge is letting people know we are here,” Shimpach said.

Looking for just the right hat to wear for Easter? Prepare to be overwhelmed by the work of Shimpach, master milliner. With the Kentucky Derby coming up, she is now working on six hats. The fashion parade continues with the fashion designing of Ayala, items like beautiful skirts, shawls, sweaters and scarves.

However, the three women offer much more than their own arts and crafts. Although the store has only been open for a few weeks, the work of 34 artists is on display for sale — painters, photographers and more.

A leisurely tour of Maison des Artistes is highly recommended. Not only that, but artists often visit the studio to work, and the public is encouraged to interact with them.

“It’s a real comfortable place to walk in,” Shimpach said.

“A lot of artists pop in,” Ayala said. “People like to see artists at work.”

The three women got their brainstorm last Dec. 25 at a Christmas gathering. By Feb. 1 they were open for business.

“It was like a tornado swept us up during January,” Bronson said.

“This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Shimpach said. “Our work would be on exhibit in Portland and people would ask us, ‘Where is your store?’”

Now, Shimpach and her partners have an answer for that question. They plan to make Maison des Artistes a true haven for local artists.

“We recently had a really young painter just out of high school come in here,” Ayala said.

Soon his paintings were on prominent display on a wall.

The three partners also want to become intensely involved in the local community.

“We want to host a nonprofit event each month,” Shimpach said. “We have lots of ideas about integrating ourselves into the community.”

One way has been for them to attend meetings of the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce. Evidently, Maison des Artistes is already hitting a sweet spot in community interest.

“One customer came here because he saw us at a chamber of commerce meeting,” Bronson said. “We would love to see more of that.”

Ayala added, “Not one artist has turned us down.”

For more about Maison des Artistes, visit maisondesartistesnw.com or call 971-302-9856.




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  • 18 Dec 2014

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