By Luke Baynes
Artists’ Mediums is celebrating two anniversaries this year.
The fine arts supply store is commemorating its 25th year in Williston.
And a less obvious landmark, but no less of an accomplishment, is General Manager Chelsea Lindner’s 17th anniversary with the store.
A Colorado native, Lindner operated a lead letterpress in high school, making signs for shopping malls. She hand-painted frames for cel animation cartoons for a period. She kicked around Seattle for a while, selling limited edition fine art papers while learning block printing for CD cover art.
“I’ve always managed to stay in the arts,” she said.
When Lindner began working at Artists’ Mediums in 1995, she was a self-professed “register monkey.” In 2002, she became general manager and entered into a purchase agreement with owner Doug Duncan. Based on her current payment plan, she will own the business outright in the summer of 2017.
“When I first started here, we used to call it, ‘The Hardware Store for Artists.’ It was little cardboard boxes full of knickknacks and stuff,” Lindner said. “We decided to cater more to the artists. They can special order almost anything from me, because we have over 200 vendors now.”
Artists’ Medium has also upscaled its interior since moving from Taft Corners to Cornerstone Drive in 1998. Besides carrying “the widest selection of fine art materials in the state of Vermont,” the store has a lounge area and features local art for sale on all four walls.
“I don’t jury these (art) shows,” said Lindner, who charges a 30 percent commission for artwork sales. “I will let you show, because I want to show all the different stages of art. Because all of us started somewhere. Even Michelangelo probably started with stick figures.”
Custom Picture Framing Department Manager Kristin Richland—the only full-time staffer besides Lindner among the store’s four employees—said Artists’ Mediums is trying to organize a local arts collaborative with other Williston arts and crafts stores.
“We’re trying to network with Northeast Fiber Arts, with The Whistling Duck, with Stitched, with Ginger Morton over at Bead Crazy, with Sew Many Treasures. We’ve all had times where we’ve helped promote each other,” Richland said. “We’ve got a good amount of creative stuff going on here in Williston. We just need to let people know that it’s here.”
Lindner added to Richland’s remarks by commenting that she and the owners of the other arts and crafts stores are looking for ways to collaborate on advertising.
“We’re meeting to figure out how we can pool our resources to try to do advertising together,” said Lindner. “We’re all starving artist companies, and yet we all need to get what little business we can and to share the customers, because a lot of it is the same customer base.”
As if on cue, a woman entered the store looking for precious metal clay supplies.
Ginger Morton sent her.