by Sally Mitani
Pop-ups are a new trend in the restaurant world, but artists have been doing pop-ups for ages. They're called craft shows and they're sick of it! "It's a lot of work setting tents up, taking tents down. Is the weather going to be good? Was it advertised? It's always an unknown," says Cindy Morphew, manager of Sisters Art & Gifts.
Thinking some local artists might want a permanent place to pitch their tents, Jennifer Counihan started Sisters Art & Gifts last year in Westland. "Artists rent their space," says Morphew, "and as part of their contract, they work three days a month." Sisters did so well in Westland, that Counihan took a six-month lease at Briarwood (Sears corridor, next to Town Cobbler). "With the constant traffic in a mall, you're pretty sure someone is going to see you, and we have climate control," says Morphew.
"Sisters" is short for Sisters in Christ: "We're a group of Christian women," says Morphew, referring to the founders. Aside from some general "peace" and "love" messaging, there's no religious theme to most of the art, and male artists also rent space there. In fact, Sisters carries quite a bit of sport-themed photos, coasters, and silk-screened T-shirts, as well as jewelry, granite trays, homemade fudge, soap, and Morphew's own photo collages. "About ninety percent" of the gallery, Morphew says, is work by Michigan artists, supplemented by a few mass-produced gifts, like Himalayan salt lamps and beaded flipflops.
Sisters Art & Gifts, Briarwood Mall. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. 904-5813.
[Originally published in December, 2012.]
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