For months it seemed like the Charleston Town Center Mall was all doom and gloom. The owners defaulted on a loan and about a dozen stores announced they were closing. But with the new season has come a slew of new stores popping up in the mall, and they don’t all look like your typical box stores.
Linda Stonestreet is one of the 14 local artists part of the co-op Gallery 11. It’s one of the new faces coming to the Charleston Town Center Mall.
“We all contribute art to the gallery, the members are very diverse in terms of what art they do,” Stonestreet told 13 News.
Oil paintings, pottery, watercolor, all created by West Virginia artisans will soon be up for sale.
“You can get art in other places and maybe it’s a print of some famous piece of art or something, but you’re not going to find original fine art like we are offering, from all local artists,” Stonestreet explained.
You might not expect to see an art co-op at the mall, but Stonestreet said it could be the direction needed to save the mall.
“You can go to any city in the United States and see a Footlocker or see a Pennys or see a Sears, you know you can’t go anywhere else and see Gallery 11,” Stonestreet said.
Another unexpected tenant- the Contemporary Youth Arts Company. It’s a group started 25 years ago performing mostly original plays.
“I like creating pieces, look at this! I have a place to create! And I have a cast that’s willing to say wow let’s take some risks, let’s take some chances and do something no one’s ever seen before,” Founder and Director Dan Kehde told 13 News.
There’s no bad seat in the house, and plenty of space for changing rooms, equipment storage and of course a stage.
“It’s vibrant, we were locked away in the theater for so long, but you’re part of the community here, we weren’t part of the community before,” Kehde added.
You can check out the CYAC here to join the group or attend one of their shows.
Gallery 11 plans to be open by the end of May. They hope to offer private art classes once open.