During a midweek phone conversation with the owners of the Artisan Cafe, Richmond natives Adrienne Cole and Melody Short demonstrate the cultural archetype of working mothers as fierce multitaskers. Short has stepped out of her daughter's dance class for the call, while Cole's little one screams in the background with excitement.
The mothers are excited too: Their quarterly, curated arts event is moving to a permanent store at Stony Point Fashion Park.
Since the women launched the mobile event in December 2011, more than 100 artisans have exhibited and sold their visual art, home décor, apparel and clothing lines at such buzz-worthy spots as the Emerald Barn. The event prompted a write-up in Essence magazine. And the attention helped them land a deal to bring Artisan Cafe to the outdoor mall, alongside such luxury retailers as Saks Fifth Avenue and Louis Vuitton.
The Artisan Cafe at Stony Point occupies about 4,600 square feet and houses products of nearly 20 tenants. The co-op arrangement allows for higher participation in the store's financial future. Cafe mainstays such as visual artist S. Ross Browne and jewelry designer Ashley White of Styledentity will be among the initial tenants.
"It's an excellent opportunity to have merchandise in a mall with heavy traffic," White says. The cafe also will house the works of visiting artists, such as New York-based clothing designer Latisha Daring and potter Ivan Samuels. "We're really hoping to diversify the clientele of the artists that are in the space," Cole says.
The grand opening of the Artisan Cafe at Stony Point is Aug. 15 at 9200 Stony Point Parkway, No. 192-A, featuring DJ Mikemetic Kemetic spinning records from 6-9 p.m. artisancafeva.com.