West Reading’s The Art Room a space for painting, crafting and fun | Money
It seemed like West Reading had it all – shopping, dining, nightlife, recreation – but resident Brian Adams still felt that something was missing: art. In particular, a place where people can appreciate art, buy art and make art.
Adams’ vision was The Art Room, a new art gallery and activity center on Penn Avenue.
“I live, eat and breathe West Reading. I don’t leave this part of town unless I have to,” said Adams. “I just wanted to do something different that would shape my future and give something back to the community.
“Promoting the arts in the community is a great way to give back and I wouldn’t have chosen to open that up anywhere else.”
The Art Room is a venue for young and old for almost anything art-related. Much of the focus is currently on painting – from one-off ceramics sold locally to canvases. However, craft projects and classes like portrait drawing, wreath making, and planting succulent arrangements are in the works.
There are also plans to turn The Art Room into a kind of permanent exhibition. Works by local artisans can be displayed on the walls and in every corner.
“I wanted to give people a haven to express themselves,” said Adams, observing that people are not always sure how to spend their free time as the coronavirus has changed everyday life.
“Everyone seems bored. They are sitting at home depressed. They no longer know what to do, what to like. They are on a funk. But everyone who comes through these doors walks with a smile on their face.”
How the art space works
For those interested in actively participating in the process of creating their own art, walk-ins are welcome, but weekend appointments are highly recommended.
Those in search of instant gratification – kids, for example – may like to stencil or paint wooden animals that can be taken home a few minutes after they’re completed.
However, if you decide to buy and paint one of the unique ceramic pieces, each cast individually in Denver, Lancaster County, you will have to wait around two days for the paint to finish.
“We had a couple who stumbled upon us on the internet and traveled from Chambersburg for their 22nd wedding anniversary,” said Adams. “You ate and ate on the avenue and then drew a big heart.”
The art space is of course also available for parties. Whether it’s a kid’s birthday, work event, or even a bachelorette party, the “wow” room at the front of the store has space for your gathering.
And for those friends who might not be that artistic, The Art Room is a BYOB venue, so everyone should have a good time while supporting some of the many other local businesses on Penn Avenue and West Reading.
“For groups of five or more, I recommend calling first or booking in advance,” said Adams. “We want to make sure we have a special place for you, with CDC regulations and COVID.
“Of course we want to be careful.”
A mini GoggleWorks
Adams describes The Art Room as the natural progression in his love story for West Reading.
After moving into the community last year, Adams quickly became a key figure in the community after being promoted to vice chairman of West Reading’s environmental advisory board and manager of West Reading Community Garden.
“Then the pandemic happened,” said Adams. “I was alone and could think about what I was passionate about and what I wanted to do for the future.”
Art and fashion were always paramount in Adams’ life. During his visit to the Gov. He took art and ceramics classes at Mifflin High School and later worked as a personal shopper for Bloomingdale’s, a luxury department store chain.
With longtime friend Catherine Jeffords, who lives above Berks County, North Carolina, as a business partner, The Art Room became a reality on February 13, opening on the 600 block of Penn Avenue.
The site was last used as a Unique Finds and before that as a florist.
Adams envisions The Art Room as a miniature version of the GoggleWorks that hopefully one day can grow into something much bigger.
“I would like to expand The Art Room one day,” said Adams. “We want pottery, maybe glass-blowing courses and more.
“We want the entire art world in The Art Room. More space, more options, more opportunities to explore.”