You’ve seen the phrase in greeting cards, painted in loopy letters on reclaimed barnwood and carefully placed on letter boards: Bloom where you’re planted.
As an artist, this is often easier said than done. A recent survey conducted by the Americans for the Arts nonprofit found that more than 62% of artists became unemployed because of COVID-19 and nearly 80% don’t have a plan for recovery after the crisis (source).
Although websites like Etsy and Artfinder can help independent artists connect with paying customers, getting discovered is often half the battle. Chrissy Canner, founder of Garden of Artists in Twin Falls, Idaho, has set out to change that.
“Garden of Artists is a local art gallery featuring only local artists,” Chrissy said. “Sometimes the artists are creating things to heal or find their way through hard times, and they either don’t realize the talent they have, or they don’t know how to showcase it to the world. That’s when I get to say, ‘let me show you how good you are.’”
The Garden Variety
Unlike a traditional art gallery with large swaths of blank space and cavernous show rooms, Garden of Artists is filled to the brim with a unique variety of woodwork, metal art, paintings, crocheted figurines, engraved stone, jewelry, chalk art and more.
“We have 30 local artists on display right now, including the work of a 10-year-old metal worker named Dakota Bennett who’s been welding since she was 4,” Chrissy said.
Dakota and her father Levi met Chrissy at Art and Soul of the Magic Valley, hosted by the Magic Valley Arts Council.
“That year I built a buffalo out of chains, old tools and rocks, and Dakota welded a spring flower out of old farm parts like sprockets, gears and springs,” Levi said. “Dakota and I both won first place in our divisions and that’s where we met Chrissy.”
Since then, the father-daughter duo has showcased their work at Chrissy’s studio where they’ve continued to increase their exposure.
“We really recommend Garden of Artists to any artists who would like to sell their stuff, but aren’t exactly sure where to go,” said Levi.
Featured artists pay a monthly fee for use of the space. A portion of that fee goes towards rent and utilities and 2% is allocated to Inspiring Souls Incorporated, Chrissy’s nonprofit dedicated to increasing the presence of art in local schools through school supplies and scholarships. A full 80% of artist fees is returned back to the artists.
“Not only are we local, but our fee and payment return model is something that makes our gallery truly unique.”
The Community Garden
When Chrissy started Garden of Artists, she had no idea what it would blossom into. After enduring open heart surgery and the loss of her husband, she began selling her art as a means to keep food on thetable for her son.
“Selling art online was so hard, so I opened an art store. I thought I’d just be teaching old ladies how to crochet, but now art has filled the store and given everyone a place where they feel they belong.”
In addition to the gallery, Garden of Artists is home to a community library and also hosts classes for at-risk and underserved populations including teenagers at the juvenile detention center.
“We have so much potential for growth, and that’s really what small businesses are all about – helping the community grow,” Chrissy said. “Art and local businesses in Twin Falls are important, and when you put them together, they’re limitless.”
To learn more about Garden of Artists, visit https://garden-of-artists.business.site or stop by the gallery at 120 Ramage Street in Twin Falls.