New downtown art co-op For Arts Sake is a window of opportunity for local artists

For Arts Sake was created three years ago as an annual art sale, but recently it evolved into a permanent feature in downtown Mt. Pleasant.


Since October, For Arts Sake co-founders Megan Bair, of Mama Bair Art, and Stephanie Jackson, of Rabbit Print Studio, have partnered with the owners of The New Yorker at 117 S. Main St. to make use of an underutilized space to display work from local artists that is available for purchase online.

“So many of the arts and crafts sales were canceled this year and artists didn't have a chance to put their stuff out there, to sell or to share, and a lot of them had all of this bonus time to create,” says Bair. “The owners of the building were so willing to share their space and help encourage artists and support local.”

While the building's interior is undergoing renovations, the art co-op uses the window display to showcase artwork from a new local artist each month that is available for purchase online.


While the building's interior is undergoing renovations, the art co-op uses the window display to showcase artwork from a new local artist each month along with the artist’s contact information for those that are interested in purchasing the work. At the end of the month, For Arts Sake hosts a virtual or in-person pop-up art sale for the artist and 10% of the proceeds from the event go toward an Isabella County nonprofit of the artist’s choice.


“Artists will work here, create here, and also help to run it,” says Bair. “We don't accept anything from the sales of the artwork.”


Artists will pay a small fee to display their work in the window which will help to cover expenses such as building maintenance, utilities, or equipment. She says their goal is for the fee not to exceed $50 a month and that artists have the option to spend time working in the store in lieu of payment.


“Most venues charge 20% to 40% for sales. The fee encourages artists to advertise for their own sales to make more money which in turn advertises for the organization,” says Bair. “We want to do everything we can to keep it at that in order to make the space as profitable as possible for each artist.”


Bair says that their hopes for the art co-op extend beyond the glass enclosure.


“We are starting with just the window space, getting through the winter and COVID,” says Bair. “We're hopeful that in the spring we will be inside, which would be like a maker’s space. Artists will be able to teach their own classes, sell their work here, and people would be able to walk in, buy materials, and create here.”

January's featured artist Rebecca Hamilton, of Oh My Soul Art, sets up her window display at For Arts Sake.


Bair says that while the final result is a work in progress and small details may yet change, the objective and spirit will remain — for artists by artists.


“We are thrilled about the support and excitement for community and artists and are looking forward to more solid plans pending all pandemic restrictions and work to make this a publicly used space,” says Bair.


Rebecca Hamilton, of Oh My Soul Art, is January’s featured artist. To see her work or previously featured artists, be sure to check out the window display downtown or visit For Arts Sake on Facebook.
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Read more articles by Liz Fredendall.

Liz Fredendall is a photojournalist and communications professional with experience working with nonprofits. In addition to her work with Epicenter, Liz manages communications for the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, runs her own photography business, and writes for several publications. During her free time, Liz enjoys reading and exploring with her husband Erick and their Corgi, Nori. Contact or follow her on social media @lizfredendallphoto.