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By ANDREW MARTASIAN
Special to the Standard
NORTH KINGSTOWN - The Village Faire, which opened last Tuesday in Wickford, is more than just a business. Itâs a community center.
The store is a collaborative effort between the artists at The Mill at Shady Lea in North Kingstown and three other artisans from around the state. All told, ten different craftspeople came together to create the waterfront store behind the Beach Rose CafĂ©.
âIt feels like a full unified eclectic collection,â said Amos Paine, one of the artists from Shady Lea.
The store has a variety of different crafts for sale, including antiques, jewelry, vintage clothes as well as original art from the Shady Lea artists.
Prices vary, but shoppers should not have a problem finding something in their price range since there is such a diverse mix of goods.
âWe thought it would be great to not only showcase what goes on at the mill, but to be able to have our work visible,â said Jodi Manca, who is a painter at Shady Lea.
The artists take turns running the shop during the week and share in the other duties that come with operating a business.
âItâs just taking the best of what everyone has in terms of gifts and talents and working together collaboratively and positively and productively to just create something really exciting,â said Diana Robitaille, who sells vintage collectables at the store.
No one artist or craftsperson is in charge of the store, instead decisions are made collectively.
Robitaille has had experience running other businesses by herself, but The Village Faire is unique in that the people who share the space there are working to create more than a store.
She envisions using the deck space for various performances or discussions where people can come and talk about concerns they have about their community.
She says the storeâs collaborative nature is important because community is what drives people to develop to their full potential.
âItâs about developing potential and all positive energy and working in a positive way to make our community a better place,â Robitaille said.
Cathy Marcotte, who runs Space to Be, a community center at Shady Lea Mill, said she plans to use her space at The Village Faire to host performances of various art forms such as air-brushers or drummers.
The Village Faire is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Andrew Martasian is an intern at SRI Newspapers and is working on his masterâs degree in Journalism at Emerson College