UPDATED — During her pursuit of a master’s degree in fine arts — she graduated from Wichita State University in May — Emily Brookover discovered a business opportunity.
“We have a real need for it here,” Brookover says.
When she was in school, she says, “There was no place to go for materials or support or a place to ask questions.”
There are three components to Brookover’s business.
First, the store is an art materials retailer.
“That will be our number one priority,” Brookover says.
She says local craft stores offer only student-grade supplies.
Among lines she plans to carry are Golden for acrylic paint and Gamblin for oil paint.
Brookover will offer supplies for a range of disciplines, including drawing, sculpture, ceramics and print-making.
She’ll also rent studio space for artists, and she’ll offer classes and demonstrations.
“I’m not just an art supplier,” Brookover says. “I want to be a place for artists to come and mingle and talk and be inspired.”
She plans to offer classes that aren’t currently available here.
“I’m not interested in competing with our amazing art centers here in town.”
Delano is Brookover’s top choice of places to locate.
“Delano is just a fun, creative area, and I feel like it’s up-and-coming,” she says.
“It’s a huge space. We’ve got about (14,000) square feet to work with. . . . There’s tons of room to grow.”
Brookover has spent a long time studying what Wichitans might need in an art store.
“It’s just taken a lot of research.”
Consultant Jill Miller of Creative Solutions helped her through the process.
“It was the best decision I ever made,” Brookover says. “She was just phenomenal. Tremendous help.”
Brookover was approved for an SBA loan late last week.
She anticipates it will take about four to six weeks — maybe a tad longer — to open.
So what about that Birdhouse name?
“A lot of my work in the past couple of years (has) involved birds of different sorts,” Brookover says.
“I kind of turned into the bird lady.”