By Bill Parry
Artists in Sunnyside and Long Island City are celebrating the recent opening of a mammoth supply store, at 34-09 Queens Blvd.
Artist & Craftsman Supply opened in a 10,000-square-foot industrial space, which used to house a Bryers Ice Cream factory, in April and it is beginning to see a growing stream of customers.
Artist & Craftsman fills the void left by the shuttering of Pearl Paint, the legendary art supply store on Canal Street that closed in April. Pearl Paint supplied generations of artists citywide in its nearly eight decades in TriBeCa.
“We’ve been trying to spread the word that we’re here,” manager Austin Yerrick said. “The LIC Arts Open was a great opportunity for us to let the pros know we’re here and now we’re starting to do outreach with the Sunnyside Artists group.”
Two artists who work at the employee-owned company applied and were accepted to compete in the group’s seventh annual Fine Art Fair June 15, at Queen of Angels Church.
“We are pleased to have two of their artists in our show,” Sunnyside Artists President Manny Gomez said. “Our artists are selected by a blind jury, so you know they are talented folks.”
The store is part of a chain with 20 locations in 13 states. It is the third of four sites in New York City, including Williamsburg, Park Slope and Harlem.
“The owner chooses areas for the ratio of artists and they know where their customers are,” Yerrick said. “In addition to the artists communities, LaGuardia Community College is sending students and teachers here.”
The stores meet all the needs of painters, sculptors and printmakers. Craft enthusiasts will also find supplies and there are plenty of items for children.
“I confess I go there not just for the amazing art supplies and handmade paper, but also for the art cards and retro gifts for sale up front,” Sunnyside Artists founder Pat Dorfman said. “Be careful if you start checking it out, you will be going home with a hyena mask you suddenly had to have.”
Dorfman’s group is determined to make Artists & Craftsman Supply a permanent fixture in the neighborhood.
“We need people to shop there,” Dorfman said. “As artists, we need that store to do well so we can have it there.”
Mary Caulfield, whose embroidered pack of unfiltered Camels won a spot among 30 works at the “My Father” exhibit at the Copper Kettle, running June 17 through July 22, said, “This art store is in walking or biking distance for area artists, it’s a great addition to local resources.”
Gomez is planning a late summer “art party” at the store’s industrial bay in late summer.
“I picture it with strung lights with music and dancing with great food and drink.”
Yerrick is pleased with the reception Artist & Craftsman Supply has gotten so far.
“It seems like a really cool community,” said the resident of Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “In fact, my wife and I like it so much we’re thinking of moving here.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.