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Downtown: A new Place to get creative opens on Main Street

Last modified: 10/19/2014 11:27:04 PM
Six weeks ago, Christa Zuber up and quit her job.

“I literally walked into my supervisor’s office and said, ‘I have no idea if it’s going to work,’ ” Zuber said.

She’s about to find out. This weekend, Zuber opened her downtown do-it-yourself studio and shop – The Place Studio and Gallery at 9 N. Main St.

Zuber, 35, has both taught art in a classroom and worked at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester. Nothing fit quite right, she said. She nearly bought a similar studio geared toward children in Abu Dhabi, where her sister lives, but that deal fell through.

She started her own business anyway, right here in Concord.

“Creativity – people are really lacking it in their lives,” Zuber said. “I think it can help relaxation, stress levels.”

Opening a business on a whim hasn’t been easy on Zuber’s stress levels. She had to raise the money to get going, write a business plan and secure a loan, renovate her store and purchase all of her supplies. And she gave herself just a month and a half to do it.

“I had an idea, but no idea how to make it happen,” she said.

She started a crowdfunding campaign on fundable.com, and while she didn’t meet her goal, she secured her loan with the weight of pledges from her donors.

“I think the ideas I originally set out with are still here,” Zuber said last week, looking proudly at the rows of ceramics and the freshly painted walls.

The studio is open to all ages, though Zuber said she wants to create an environment that will be geared toward adults. Her goal is to create a space where they can find that creativity again – and relax.

“You can spend hours on an art project and forget about” everything else, she said.

At the Place, a budding artist can spend hours on any of three projects: painting ceramics, painting on canvas with acrylic or decoupage. Just a few days before the shop’s opening, the shelves on the walls were lined with blank canvases and ceramic dishes. Rows of vases, boxes and Halloween decorations waited to be glued over with colorful paper.

“I think decoupage is really accessible and easy,” Zuber said. “People get into it.”

The studio will also feature work from local artists, including some prints of Zuber’s own photography. Small postcards and larger prints hang on the wall for sale. Thursdays and Fridays will be BYOB nights – perfect for a girls’ night out or a date night, she said. In the future, Zuber wants to add a kiln so customers can make their own pottery, too. She plans to host classes, parties, moms’ groups, home-school classes and others in her new space.

All of her ideas have come together to turn the place she only imagined into The Place Studio and Gallery.

“It doesn’t seem quite real yet,” Zuber said with a laugh. “Right now, it’s still been play.”

Sitting fees are $10 per person for adults and less for children, plus the price of items to decorate. Those can range from $2 to upwards of $25. The studio will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. For more information, visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/ThePlaceConcord.

Howl for Halloween

Round the cauldron – or round Main Street – trick-or-treaters will go Friday during the annual Halloween Howl, hosted by Intown Concord.

Downtown businesses will be passing out candy from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

“Main Street is closed from Center to Pleasant, and the street is filled with people of all ages in costume, enjoying the opportunity to tear around in the middle of the street and also to gather up candy at the local businesses,” said Liza Poinier, operations manager for Intown Concord.

Many fixtures of the traditional event – including a dance party with the 105.5 DJs on the city plaza outside the State House, live music in Bicentennial Square and a haunted house at the Concord Family YMCA – are returning this year. The annual hayrides will be free, thanks to a sponsorship from the Granite State Candy Shoppe.

New this year, Double Midnight Comics will be handing out free comics on the city plaza, and the Concord Food Co-op will be hosting a pumpkin carving contest.

Susan Sokul, communications and events coordinator, praised the downtown businesses that participate by handing out candy.

“Without them, there wouldn’t be any trick-or-treating,” Sokul said.

For more information about Halloween Howl, visit intownconcord.org or call 226-2150.

Running with Rover

Helen Nicholls of No Monkey Business Dog Training and Jake St. Pierre of Juggernaut Summit Performance have teamed up for “Running with Rover,” an exercise bootcamp to train both dogs and their owners.

“We get to combine working out with training your dog, and what I think is really neat is that people learn then how they can do the exercises with their dog even at home,” Nicholls said.

The four-week course is open to dogs of all levels of training – and their humans at all fitness levels.

“We have everything from a Great Dane to a Corgi,” St. Pierre said.

St. Pierre will lead a full-body workout, while the dogs can learn new skills from Nicholls.

“The human gets trained, and the dogs get trained,” St. Pierre said.

The classes meet Sunday at 11 a.m. in White Park, and a series of four classes cost $110. On bad-weather days, the class will meet at 141 Old Turnpike Road in Concord – the space St. Pierre and Nicholls already share between their businesses.

Dogs that are aggressive to other dogs or humans should not participate. For more information or to sign up for the class, visit nomonkeybusinessdogtraining.com or call 856-7509.



(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321, mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)


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