For Arts Sake celebrates three years in downtown Mt. Pleasant

At 117 S. Main Street in downtown Mt. Pleasant, the gift shop For Arts Sake has resided for three years. However, For Arts Sake is more than just a retail space—it's a vibrant hub of creativity and community.

With a unique blend of handmade gifts from nearly 100 local and regional makers, dynamic workshops, and inspiring events, For Arts Sake has become a downtown destination that develops artistic expression. 

As the store celebrates its third anniversary this summer, owner Megan Bair reflects on the journey that has transformed her vision into a beloved local institution.

Epicenter spoke with Bair to discuss the story behind For Arts Sake, the secret to its success, and what's on the horizon for this innovative space.

Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant
Epicenter Mt. Pleasant: As For Arts Sake (FAS) approaches its third anniversary, what do you attribute to the shop's success in downtown Mt. Pleasant?
Megan Bair: A major part of our success is the amazing support our community has shown! From regular foot traffic to donations of materials and consistent use of our space, the community has shown their need, want and support for all things FAS has to offer!

Epicenter: Could you share some insights into the journey of curating a selection of nearly 100 local and regional makers for your shop?
Bair: We opened three years ago with only three artists. In the time since we've opened, artists have "come out of the woodwork!" We've reached nearly 100 vendors in the shop and most of them have come to us. We think that we have such a space that artists feel inspired and encouraged to sell their work here. We accept art based on its "sell-ability," which we've learned alot about in the last couple of years. But also, we love weird, colorful, funky stuff that you might not find anywhere else. 

Epicenter: Your website describes For Arts Sake as "Etsy in real life." How do you balance the marketplace's convenience with the tangible experience of shopping in-store?
Bair:  So we actually don't have the opportunity to shop on our website YET; we're working on that. We compare ourselves to "Etsy in real life” because it's all handmade treasure! And the best part is that you can see it, touch it, and take it home with you on the same day AND you're supporting more than one small business! Every purchase at FAS is supporting the maker of that piece of art AND For Arts Sake and we LOVE that. 

Epicenter: In addition to being a retail space, For Arts Sake is known for organizing various events such as kids' camps, workshop parties, and art festivals. What inspired you to incorporate these activities into your business model?
Bair: For Arts Sake works really hard to have something for everyone. Not everyone is interested in being creative and not everyone is comfortable in a busy social setting. In the last six months we started a monthly jigsaw puzzle competition, bi-weekly silent book club, and we've adjusted our summer camp into an AM and/or PM session. I love to see everyone have an opportunity to not only try something new but to find something that brings them joy. Making new friends, learning new skills and trying new things are good for everyone. 

Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant
Epicenter: It’s incredibly apparent that For Arts Sake has a strong focus on fostering creativity. How do you ensure that your events and workshops cater to a diverse range of interests and skill levels?
Bair: For Arts Sake is lucky to have an amazing group of volunteers and artists willing and able to share their skills and talents. This allows our calendar to be filled with a great variety of classes and activities. The great thing about artists or just creative people is that most of us want to try all the things. I have painted for years and that is what I love the most BUT if a box of paper mache gets donated … I kind of want to play with it. 

Epicenter: As the world becomes increasingly digital, how does For Arts Sake maintain its relevance and appeal as a brick-and-mortar establishment?
Bair: We definitely considered growing our website at one point, especially as the challenges of child care, scheduling, and overhead cost of a brick-and-mortar really make themselves apparent. There's just something about walking into this space—the smell of it, the historical building features, the friendships and amazing new relationships we have built. It's like holding and smelling a real book versus a Kindle. It's like in-person meetings versus Zoom. It's like that feeling when the server or barista remembers your order. We want to give people opportunities to not only shop in person, but also to interact/socialize in the comfy, creative, and happy environment we have created.

Epicenter: Community engagement appears to be a central aspect of your business ethos. How do you collaborate with local organizations and initiatives to further this goal?
Bair: I think that many of us are like-minded in the sense that we want to encourage good in our community. We want more fun, affordable, and accessible things to do in our community and I truly believe that teamwork makes the dream work. I know, I know, cheesy BUT I have ideas and I need help to make them happen! I am always thrilled when organizations are as excited as I am to work together. I find that we can easily compliment each other; my creative brain and others resources (ie. space, volunteers, funds, etc) and visa versa.

Epicenter: Looking ahead, what exciting plans or developments can customers expect from For Arts Sake as you enter your fourth year of operation?
Bair: We're always finding new things to try and add to our calendar BUT the one thing we're really gearing up for is our 7th Annual Market for the Arts event August 23rd-25th. Seven years in, we have grown this event to involve nearly 100 art vendors, musicians, and performing artists from all over the state. We will have food trucks, interactive art stations, and a number of opportunities for the community to be involved in this year's event. 

We're looking forward to growing our regular class/workshop calendar, adding more to our traveling arts programs, field trip opportunities, and more in the works. 

I feel like this year, the beginning of three, I really feel like I know what I'm doing! I think that I have gotten to a place with systems built and the basics of the business nailed down. Now I'm really ready to go! Watch out!

To discover more about For Arts Sake, visit
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Read more articles by Courtney Jerome.

With 15 years of professional media experience, Courtney Jerome has found a passion for storytelling and showcasing our region in a positive light. She's written stories for television broadcasts, numerous magazines, and digital publications. In addition, she owns a boutique creative marketing agency that focuses on social media, photo, and video storytelling for small businesses across Michigan and the country — Contact Courtney, the managing editor of Epicenter, at