The Dundee Arts Collective gallery and makers market officially opened to the public in early October 2020.
When a dream opportunity presented itself to Jenny Miller and Kate Cox, co-founders of The Dundee Arts Collective, a global pandemic was not going to stand in their way.
The origins of this opportunity began while Miller and Cox were taking pottery classes two years ago with Rosemary Jenkins at Dundee Pottery in the historic Fiederlein building in New Dundee. They built a relationship with Jenkins, who suggested they open a gallery and shop in the space.
“Jenny and I both independently have always dreamed about opening a business like this, with the added piece that it’s a multi-purpose arts space where we run classes and lessons. When Rosemary presented us with this opportunity, we were really excited to see our dream coming to life in this amazing historic building,” Cox said.
Nestled in a growing artistic community in New Dundee, this historic building can trace its history back to 1906 when the building was bought by William Spaetzel.
Spaetzel operated a harness shop and was known for his “pneumatic horse collar” invention. An employee of Spaetzel’s, Albert Fiederlein, married into the family and took over the harness business until 1946. Fiederlein and his son Robert transitioned the building into cold storage and operated the Red and White Grocery Store there until 1991.
For Miller and Cox, both practicing artists with strong business management backgrounds, opening a business during a pandemic has not been easy. In a time when a lot of other businesses were scaling back and feeling unsure about the future, Miller and Cox saw a need for a business like The Dundee Arts Collective.
“Both Jenny and I were listening to people, and hearing that a lot of people were really digging into their creativity … people were becoming really passionate about finding ways to expand their skills, outside of being at home,” Cox said.
“People have picked up something that they thought was just a hobby, and then they have realized that it is actually a real passion. I think this space is giving them a place to show and share their work and also encouraging them to take it seriously.”
As a gallery, The Dundee Arts Collective supports the sale of work by local artists with an appreciation of the natural landscape.
“We live in such a beautiful, beautiful part of Canada, and that is really reflected in a lot of artists’ work around here, and that is something that is really important to Jenny and I. You can look around and see that all of the conversation is around nature, the natural world and how we fit in,” Cox said.
As a truly multi-purpose space, The Dundee Arts Collective operates as more than just a gallery, it is a place for exchanging knowledge. Offering an emerging artist corner in the gallery was something Cox was excited to share.
“With the experiences that Jenny and I have, we are able to coach them, in terms of presentation or how they should be thinking about pricing,” Cox said.
“We work a fair bit with artists helping them to understand their worth. We often think [as artists] this just comes so naturally, and we tend to underprice what we’re doing.”
At The Dundee Arts Collective, there will always be a section for emerging artists. Part of the larger vision of founders will be to engage the artists in the community.
“We have some exciting projects coming up that we would like to invite our artists to participate in. One of them is [a collection of] take-out projects …each one is designed by a local artist, so you can come by, grab a take-out project to go,” Cox said.
The Dundee Arts Collective currently has full safety precautions in place, including one-way doors, sanitization procedures and small class sizes.
They are currently opened Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for visitors. They are also offering evening workshops, children’s birthdays and bridal party options. Private evening experiences in the gallery happen on Thursdays and Fridays in November and December.
“We are finding ways to help people feel confident and comfortable coming in here … We’re just very excited to share this space with people.”