Locally owned art supply store to open in downtown Ypsilanti

In 2013, Ypsilanti art supply store Art Attack closed permanently, leaving local artists with limited options to buy materials for their craft. But this April, Ypsi residents will have a new spot to buy art supplies, as well as gifts for the art lovers in their lives, right in the heart of downtown. 

Ypsilanti Art Supply and Atelier will be housed inside Riverside Arts Center (RAC) at 76 N. Huron in downtown Ypsi. Longtime Ypsi resident and artist Megan Foldenauer will own and operate the shop. The space in RAC is an expansion of Foldenauer’s online art supply store with the same name, which she started in September of 2022. Through community outreach surveys conducted on social media, as well as participating in RAC’s recent community forums, she was able to determine what supplies were most in demand by local artists. 

"While I can’t carry everything, I’ll do my best to meet people’s needs from the first day," Foldenauer says. She says she isn’t trying to make the shop a "boutique"-style store, and plans to sell high-quality "economical" items in addition to professional-grade supplies.

Foldenauer will also sell goods made by Michigan-based makers and artisans, including Ypsi-based Worthwhile Paper, which specializes in paper goods such as notebooks, greeting cards, and stationery supplies. Gifts such as attire, stickers, and pins will also be available.

Foldenaeur says her collaboration with RAC staff has been "very supportive and open." She has also connected with other small business owners and local artists for advice in making the shop as successful as possible.

Liz Warren, executive director at RAC, says she and her team feel "very lucky" to have Foldenauer's "passionate energy," and they "look forward to future collaborations."

"Currently the closest dedicated art supply store is over 20 miles away," says Warren. "Not only does having Ypsi Art Supplies housed at RAC make it much easier for our local artists to get the materials they need, [but] Megan is also providing a new venue for local art to be available for sale as well."

Foldenauer is currently in the process of building up the fixtures in the space herself, which she says she's found "really fulfilling." 

"It’s all made from repurposed and recyclable materials," she says. "Well, aside from the glue."

The shop’s grand opening coincides with the first First Fridays event of 2023 on April 7, and Foldenauer hopes that the "springtime momentum" that comes with First Friday will contribute to a very exciting and busy night. Ypsi Art Supply and Atelier will be open from 5-10 p.m. to match First Friday’s hours, but hours are subject to change.

"It was a constant struggle to get art supplies as a student," says Foldenauer. "The community is ripe for this kind of stuff, and I hope that as we bring in more and more businesses, it makes Ypsi better and better."

Rylee Barnsdale is a Michigan native and longtime Washtenaw County resident. She wants to use her journalistic experience from her time at Eastern Michigan University writing for the Eastern Echo to tell the stories of Washtenaw County residents that need to be heard.

Megan Foldenauer photo by Jen Eastridge. Pencil photo by Holly Schoenfeld.
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