July Artwalk gearing up for harbor launch
By Echo Staff
Jul 11, 2014, 20:10
Visitors to Old Town Bay St. Louis during the monthly Second Saturday Artwalk today should expect to see lots of nautical and coastal themed artwork, merchandise and clothing as local merchants gear up for the opening of the city’s new municipal Harbor later this month.
Excitement is building daily as boats appear at berths in the new harbor. While the harbor is accepting applications for slip leases, the official opening celebration will take place on the weekend of July 25 – 27 - coinciding with Bay Harbor Fest.
“Everyone’s been waiting for this for years,” says Old Town Merchants Association president, Jane Alford. “It’s the happy culmination of so much planning and effort. Now with the construction work ended, we can relax and enjoy the waterfront here like never before. And we’re looking forward to sharing our new Old Town look with visitors.”
Alford also pointed to several new businesses that have relocated to Old Town recently, which keeps activity humming throughout the week.
“Our membership has grown by over 40 percent in the last 18 months. And our website hits are soaring too. People are discovering - or rediscovering - that magic that has always made Bay St. Louis so cool.”
The Second Saturday Artwalk tradition is now in its 20th year, and has become a treasured monthly celebration, drawing people to Old Town from across the region. The town stays lively all day during the event, with music, refreshments, shop specials and art openings taking place from 4 – 8 p.m.
As part of the Second Saturday tradition, each month two businesses are featured as “Hot Spots.” For July, the spotlight falls on Antique Maison (111 North Second Street) and Bizzee Bee (111B Main Street).
Bizzee Bee is an Old Town newcomer, moving from their original Hwy. 90 location two months ago. But the business has been a coast favorite since opening in 2005. Owner Janelle Graham has established a huge cadre of loyal customers who appreciate the high quality children’s clothing and accessories she carries.
Business has been booming since the move. While her regular customers followed her, tourists are now delighted to discover her as well. And since Bay St. Louis has a tendency to turn day-trippers into repeat-regulars, Graham is building a whole new customer base.
The main draws are the stylish lines of clothing for both boys (newborn to age 7) and girls (newborn to age 12). A mother of two, Jannelle has tough standards for what she carries in the shop. She insists on merchandise with great quality, fun style, and good price points.
She believes another reason for the increase in business recently is the fact that people who shop online are tired of being disappointed with they receive their orders.
“Often the quality’s just not there, but you can’t tell that in a picture online. Here, it’s easy to see how well our things are made,” says Janelle.
Her stock includes smocked outfits, coastal wear, nautical-themed clothing and toys. Bizzee Bee also caters to local dance troupes, with shoes and clothes for ballet, jazz and tap. Particularly hot items this summer are shimmery mermaid style swimsuits for little girls. Gift-wrapping is free too, making the shop easy for shower-shoppers.
The folks at Bizzee Bee also stay very “Bizzee” embroidering accessories and items of clothing. Graham and her aunt Janelle Hilliard can often be found at two high tech sewing machines in the back of the store, customizing everything from purses to newborn clothing. Graham points out that they also embroider items that have been purchased elsewhere.
Both Graham and her aunt are enjoying their new location, for more than one reason.
“You really can’t beat the whole Old Town shopping experience,” she says. There’s hassle-free parking, friendly people, lots of other great businesses and restaurants - and the beach. Our customers love it and so do we!”
Less than a block away, Antiques Maison is located just off Main Street, at 111N. Second Street. Owners Sylvia and Ed Young’s antiques and collectible mall contains over 35 vendors and over a dozen artists in 7,000 square feet of space.
Corridors lined with everything from vintage fishing lures and hand tools to crystal glassware and furniture wind back and around in a delightful maze. Sometimes customers wonder exactly where they entered. Sylvia Young jokes in a take-off on the Gilligan Island’s theme song that “shoppers come in for a three-hour tour and may get lost.”
In addition to antiques, the shop carries repurposed furniture and locally created art for both home and garden.
There’s also an attached vacation rental – a spacious and fully-furnished house. “Heart of Old Town,” has two bedrooms and two baths, sleeps seven people and is available for rent by the night or by the week (for more information, call 228.493.6316, or ask Sylvia about it when you’re in the shop).
But there’s more. Lots more.
Sylvia and Ed are opening another “mall of wonders” nearby at 317 Ulman Avenue. The new location, Antique Maison Ulman, is a few blocks from Main Street and adjacent to one of the Bay’s favorite historic attractions – the St. Augustine seminary, church and grotto.
The new shop contains more than 6,000 square feet, which mean plenty of room for new vendors and merchandise. The Ulman store will be focusing on home, garden and patio décor, collectibles and “shabby chic” furnishings.
In addition, the Youngs have opened Bay St. Louis’s first tearoom at the Ulman Ave. location. A large variety of teas will be served, along with elegant sandwiches, soups and sweets. The Tea Room will be open from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. (closed Sundays). The Youngs expect that tearoom will catch on as a popular place for locals to relax, since it offers an outside deck and WiFi.
It also has a private room that can be booked for private parties or luncheon business meetings.
Sylvia explains that tearoom parties are extremely popular now for little girls’ birthday parties, as well as wedding, bridal and baby showers.
“Before, you’d have to go to Ocean Springs or Covington to find a tearoom,” she says. “It’s wonderful to be able to offer something completely new to our area.”
For the July Second Saturday, the Youngs will be celebrating their Hot Spot status at the original location of Antique Maison (111 North Second Street). Look for refreshments and live music on the street.
The Ulman Ave. location will also be open all day during Second Saturday (watch for details on the August Second Saturday, when the new Ulman Ave. location will be having a ribbon-cutting event).
For more information about Second Saturday go to: www.baystlouisoldtown.com
At 220 Main Street in Old Town Bay St. Luis, you'll find the work of more than twenty artists showcased in a unique building that adds a splash of Art Deco architecture to Old Town. And anyone who's a fan of the popular Second Saturday Artwalk held each month knows that Gallery 220 is one of the event's anchors.
Of course, how can you go wrong with nearly two-dozen artists in the same location? Plus, all those artists bring creative food - so there's always an awesome appetizer buffet that free to the art-loving crowds. This month the theme is All-American Food, so shoppers will have the opportunity to relive this past 4th of July in Old Town. They’ll also have the opportunity to meet and see new work by this month’s featured artists, Amy Kramer and Nancy Lowentritt.
Amy Kramer is a Bay painter exhibiting her recent work at Gallery 220 for Second Saturday. Her colorful and energetic abstract scenes come from Kramer's love of the water, the outdoors, texture, color and light. Her favorite paintings are underwater scenes with fish and sunlight and wave action.
"I could paint them all day long," she says. "I began painting 20 years ago when I purchased my first house that was in much need of artwork and it bloomed from there. I learned about abstract painting and was inspired by a chlldhood friend's mother who was an artist and I loved her work."
While Kramer doesn't have any formal training, she attended many informal and leisure type classes over the years. To create her scenes, she first applies tubes of paint to the canvas and moves it around with a brush or fingers. She prefers the random ending of the piece rather than a controlled still life. Kramer's main medium is acrylic on canvas but she also uses tar paper for smaller work.
Nancy Lowentritt started out in grade school taking summer art classes at Delgado - now known as New Orleans Museum of Art. She won many art competitions throughout her school days, then majored in Art Education at LSU. Lowentritt continued her education at Louisiana College and LSU Alexandria while raising her boys.
Returning to her art after a 30-year career, she began winning a new string of awards, these from across the SouthEast U.S. Lowentritt's work can be found in public and private collections in five states.
Currently serving on the board of the Hammond Art Guild, Lowentritt also volunteers for art organizations across the North Shore of New Orleans, including ones in Ponchatoula, Covington, Lacombe, Slidell and Hancock County, Mississippi - where she spends weekends in her coastal cottage surrounded by family.
The time she's spent on the coast has inspired her latest series. "I've been seeing such beautiful billowing clouds over the bay this summer," says Lowentritt. "They're pure whites and beautiful variations of pinks oranges and lavenders! Capturing the essence of those clouds is challenging, yet so very rewarding, I can't wait to get reactions from viewers when the new paintings are unveiled on Second Saturday."