New showcase for Island Art

Bowls and mugs by Dan Parker. — File photo by Lynn Christoffers

The name says it all: Made Here on the Vineyard. As co-owner Philip Tucker explains, his new shop at Nevin Square in Edgartown is all about showcasing the talent that resides on the Island.

“We want people to have easier access to Vineyard artists and artisans,” he says. “Amazing art is created right here and we love to put it out there. Everything we feature is made right here.”

Mr. Tucker, who hand-crafts beaded jewelry, teamed up two Island friends and fellow artists, painter Chioke Morais and ceramicist John Robert Hill, to create what they consider a one-of-a-kind venue for art lovers and artists alike — a gallery that offers Vineyard residents and visitors a chance to take home a piece of the Island in the form of art.

Sculpture, pottery, mixed media works, paintings, jewelry, dolls, and much more to come, are housed in an intimate 500-square-foot space tucked in the back of the last building at 25 Winter Street, Nevin Square. It’s a dream realized for three Vineyard entrepreneurs who met while working at the Oyster Bar Grill on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs several years ago.

Mr. Morais, the former wine and beverage manager and server, Mr. Hill, the general manager last summer and now a server, and Mr. Tucker, a bartender, bonded over food, drink, and a shared appetite for art.

“We just clicked,” says Mr. Hill. “We’re all right-brained, all artists. We started with the shared experience of a workplace and found ourselves brainstorming about our own space. It jelled over two-and-a-half to three years.”

Made Here on the Vineyard represents the work of more than 20 artists and artisans, including Heather Gude’s natural stone sculptures, Katrina Yekel’s jewelry, Michael David Rottman’s abstract paintings, Nina Gomez Gordon’s plein air landscapes, and Darcie Lee Hanaway’s multi-media paintings and charcoal nudes.

Ms. Gordon, a painter on the Island for 16 years and former owner of the Cobalt Gallery in West Tisbury, appreciates the opportunity to show her work in a venue that is accessible every day. “There’s so much talent on the Island and we don’t always see it. The work is available only one or two days a week at a festival or flea market. With the shop, it’s accessible anytime. I’m not good at selling, so I’m happy to let Made Here on the Vineyard show my work for me.”

Although she owned her own gallery for several years, Ms. Gordon says that it’s a challenge getting her work out in the public eye. “There are so many artists, it’s very competitive to get gallery representation. I’ve been selling my work for 16 years but not on a consistent basis with regular representation.” She and Mr. Tucker have been friends for years and she welcomes the new venue for her paintings.

Marketing and selling work is a challenge every artist faces. According to Ms. Hanaway, the Island tries to support its arts community, but, she says, success really depends on the individual artist getting the work out there. “I’m showing my work at Featherstone and I’ve shown it in restaurants and coffee shops, but I decided to try a new venue. I like the way they’re mixing the work up in the space. It’s a nice blend of elements.”

With items priced from two dollars to thousands of dollars, Made Here on the Vineyard hopes to offer, as Mr. Tucker says, “something for everyone.” Relying on a Facebook page, word of mouth, and, he hopes, a website by the end of summer, he is optimistic that the shop will find its niche in the community — a supplement to existing outlets for art. Island artists and artisans are invited to drop in or contact the owners to show their work.

While Mr. Morais’ paintings are currently slated for exhibition at Featherstone, his large mixed-media representational works have been shown in the past in Chicago, New York, and St. Louis galleries. They will find a home on the walls at Made Here on the Vineyard as soon as the Featherstone show ends on June 23.

Mr. Tucker’s unique jewelry, crafted from unusual stones and rare materials, is already on display. And Mr. Hill’s collection of, as he characterizes it, “funky functional-ware,” including colorful wineglasses, champagne stems, martini glasses, large bowls, vases, platters, bird feeders, and birdhouses, is also decorating the shop’s shelves.

While initial response has been overwhelmingly positive according to all three partners, the greatest challenge they face may be, as Mr. Hill says, “to figure out how to make a year-round business out of a seasonal economy.” And though the shop is off the well-beaten path in Edgartown, the owners are counting on motivated patrons to find their way to the Island’s one and only Made Here on the Vineyard.

Made Here on the Vineyard is located at 25 Winter Street, Nevin Square, in Edgartown. Seasonal hours are 10 am to 10 pm daily. Phone: 508-627-4039. Online at Facebook under Made Here on the Vineyard.