Longtime local purveyor of art supplies, art workshops, and custom framing Forstall Art Center will soon relocate from the Palisades Shopping Center off Greensprings Highway to downtown (current location, above). They will occupy multi-level retail space in an historic building on the east side of 20th Street North between Second and Third Avenues.
The new space (above) is adjacent to Alchemy clothing store, Bon Ton Hatters, and the Auburn University Urban Studio; it had been vacant for some time. The business will have expanded retail space, more classroom space, artist studios, gallery space, and a prominent downtown location. We have long argued in this blog that art and artists are a vital part of any successful urban neighborhood; this project is a very welcome step towards including more artistic energy as part of this revitalizing area.
The owners, Phillip Forstall and Annette Taylor, have been directing extensive renovations of the interior (ground floor retail space under construction, above). Beyond the business itself, they plan a possible future personal residence on the top floor of the building. With a rare 30-space dedicated parking lot off the alley this promises to be a very busy new addition to the Central Business District.
While downtown’s earlier mix of department stores, billiard halls, and hot dog stands has departed, Forstall is part of a new wave of businesses creating a distinctive new vibe downtown–a vibe based on foodie ventures like We Have Doughnuts just down 20th Street and fast-growing entrepreneurial businesses like Shipt a block in the other direction (the Forstall space is seen in the 1920’s photo above at the large striped awning in the right foreground). With Pizitz Food Hall and the Thomas Jefferson Tower due to open later this year a couple blocks west, it seems like a particularly good time to relocate to this changing neighborhood. We wish Forstall every success among its exciting new neighbors.
So whether you need an imported tube of paint, want to take an art class (like these nuns from Saint Rose Academy, above) or check out a new gallery exhibit, there’s a new option downtown.
Now, if only we could get that streetcar service back.
[thanks to Dori DeCamillis for the art class pic]