State of the Arts
First it was closing, and then it wasn’t, but it still might in six months. What’s really going on at Studio STK?
Sage Tucker-Ketcham’s North Street gallery  has had its ups and downs — including a move down the street to less expensive quarters early this year. Potential financial partners have come and gone, and both gallery sitting and art-reception duties rely on the kindness of volunteers. The time and money commitment have been stressful for the 28-year-old painter-proprietor. After all, she’s also in a low-residency graduate program, working part-time, and constantly making new paintings. It’s enough to make anyone think about throwing in the towel.
On the positive side, everyone seems to love Studio STK. Over nearly three years, it has been a gallery for emerging Vermont artists, an art-education classroom, events venue and informal gathering spot in the community. Its presence has also helped bolster a new, creative-economy energy on North Street. Nobody wants to see it end.
“I’m just blown away by the number of people who won’t let me close,” Tucker-Ketcham exclaims. “I spoke to people and I think they understood, but they were really upset.”
One of those people was her landlord — “green” office building owner A.J. Rossman, whose solar-design business is right upstairs. In order to keep Studio STK on his ground floor, Rossman has offered Tucker-Ketcham the space for free. And that’s a generous offer she can’t refuse. At least for a while.
“We’re going to keep it open for six more months and have our scheduled shows,” she says. “But in that time I want to pull together a group of people to run it.” One of those people, she suggests, should be a full-time financial manager. “Rather than just go six months,” Tucker-Ketcham adds, “let’s figure out how to get those people who love the place involved, and keep it going.”
Currently her part-time staff is Amanda Wright, who runs an artist website-design service from the gallery, and Reid Crosby, who facilitates the life-drawing classes and volunteers at openings.
A regular user of the space is Will Skolochenko, who hosts the popular “Secret Movie Night” on Tuesdays. Tucker-Ketcham notes that upcoming events include dug Nap’s new band, Nerd Bird, and a one-man performance by Craig Mitchell. Her own new paintings will be part of next month’s art exhibit, and in early December, an indie-craft showcase ushers in the holiday-shopping season for hipsters. Clearly, Studio STK is not just for hanging artwork. Anyone serious about helping it hang on, call Tucker-Ketcham at 657-3333.