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Pam Miller displayed some of the mixed metal, leather and natural gemstone jewelry she offers at Artistic Roots Gallery as the shop re-opened under limited hours and special health guidelines last Wednesday. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
June 27, 2020
PLYMOUTH – The juried members of Artistic Roots Gallery on Main Street in downtown Plymouth were once again able to open their doors on a temporary part-time basis last Wednesday after being closed for three months due to the COVID-19 virus, but said they used that shutdown time in a positive manner by rethinking the flow of customers and making some other improvements to the shop to keep their customers safe.

"We took a long hard look at the layout of the shop and it seems everybody really likes it so far," said Pam Miller, one of the gallery's more than 40 artists.

Artistic Roots Gallery began growing its own roots in downtown Plymouth several years ago as a nonprofit cooperative venture that has become a focal point of Main Street shopping. The group is comprised of dedicated, juried members, each seeking to "inspire, create and connect artists and the community through workshops, peer mentoring and events." The gallery also provides juried members and their visiting artists a venue in which their talents can become known to the public as they offer their craftsmanship and artistry up for sale.

Like many others throughout the state, Artistic Roots has been putting all their efforts into maintaining their business in unprecedented times. Since the state-mandated March closure they have not only cleaned the gallery from top to bottom, but applied for state and federal grants and even began online sales to bring in some additional income. So far, so good, members said last week.

"We can each list up to 10 items for sale through our e-commerce site right now, and in July, we'll be able to add five more items," said New Hampton photographer Patti Sebilian.

Sebilian is known for her photography of the night sky, which includes incredible shots of the Super Worm Moon last March, the Milky Way and other breathtaking astral sights along with some incredible photos she captures of life here on earth.

"There are so many talented artists here — I just feel blessed to be listed among them," Sebilian said.

Miller of New Boston is also pleased to be part of Artistic Roots Gallery, volunteering her time, along with other members, to clean and operate the shop now that it has been re-opened. Her specialty is in jewelry making and a full display of her talents is now on sale at the gallery, too.

Miller, a former principal and assistant superintendent in the Winnisquam School District, said she began her journey with Artistic Roots Gallery as a visiting artist, then joined as a full member after her retirement. Specializing in mixed metals, she said she has continued to hone her craft and now adds pearls, natural gemstones and leather to her work.

"I also make Spinner rings, which are selling really well right now," Miller said.

Fellow jewelry craftsman Alan Phenix of Chocorua also has beautiful nature-themed earrings and necklaces on sale and was part of the staff that volunteered to be on hand for the re-opening last week.

"We've seen a lot of customers today, which was really nice. A lot of the credit for all of this though should go to Suzan Gannett, our president," Phenix said. "We all worked hard to open up again, but she's a power house and the reason we're here today."

Besides those members, the gallery is also host to potters, woodworkers, painters, stained glass artists, fiber artists and many more talents from throughout the state.

Artistic Roots Gallery, located at 73 Main St. in downtown Plymouth, is currently open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m., and also has their e-commerce shop available for online shopping.

In order to keep the gallery safe for both customers and artists alike at this time, they do ask that masks and hand sanitizer be used by those either picking up their online purchase orders or shopping inside the gallery. Both are available just inside the front door should anyone need them.

New to the gallery for the time being are arrows on the floor that will direct people through the shop as they further respect the six-foot social distancing regulations recommended by public health officials. At this time no cash will be accepted in the store and shoppers are asked to use credit and debit cards only for their purchases.

To access links for remote online shopping at Artistic Roots Gallery, or for information and registration for special Zoom classes that will begin in July, please visit www.artisticroots.com.

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