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Artists co-op to open at Weaver’s Corner

March 24, 2017
By CHUCK?BALLARO ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Being a local artist is not easy: Travel the circuit, work the flea markets - all while paying a lot of money and dealing with a lot of rules and regulations that can make it even tougher.

That's why local artist Kit Bracher has decided to try something different - open a place where several artists can offer their artwork during the week, who can pay an equal share in the rent to help keep the place open.

Bracher has a site on Weaver's Corner near Stamatis Family Restaurant where she would like to open an artists co-op. Tentatively, it's called Ashbury Lane.

Bracher, who is organizing a huge event at the Church of the Nazarene for Memorial Day weekend, said she got together with other artists and brought up the idea.

"Everybody asked 'What's a co-op?' It's like a commune that you pay for. We looked at a place with a Realtor and we're trying to get enough people interested and the Realtor is willing to give us a good deal," Bracher said. "So far we have five people who are interested."

Bracher was told there used to be such a place in Fort Myers on College Parkway, where people could go to get gifts for the holidays.

Bracher contacted many of her fellow artists, who work the flea markets, if they would be interested in a place where they would be out of the elements and not have to deal with a lot of rules and regulations.

"Sometimes you have to set up at 5 or 6 a.m. Here, you can start when you want, be closed on all the major holidays," Bracher said. "Some of the rules at the major flea markets are horrible. They're not in the business of caring how you are. They just want to make money. If it rains and the roof leaks, you're responsible."

Ashbury Lane will be where the consignment shop used to be, with 2,800 square feet. of space. Bracher said there is a lot of work to be done on the location.

The Realtor will work with the co-op on the rent while things are fixed up, she said.

"We're lining up the insurance and utilities, and everyone will be equal. We'll all be members of the co-op," Bracher said. "There will be a board of directors and everyone will have a vote."

These members will have to work, whether it be five days a week or one day a week. Bracher said she wants to pattern the place after Height-Ashbury in San Francisco, where the arts scene exploded in the 1960s.

For more information on the co-op, call Bracher at 239-218-0911.

Weavers Corner is at the corner of Business 41 and Pine Island Road in North Fort Myers.



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