Supporting local arts on Small Business Saturday

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Mary Racette, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Grand Rapids is among the growing population of cities that promotes Small Business Saturday in an effort to support local businesses. The Art of Life and Wealthy Studios are two Grand Rapids locations that are providing an outlet for local artists to showcase their work during Small Business Saturday, which is Nov. 30.

American Express established Small Business Saturday to support small businesses during the recession. According to American Express’ website, small businesses have seen a total of $103 billion sales on the Saturday after Thanksgiving since the day began in 2010.

Wealthy Studios is a multipurpose space in Grand Rapids that operates as a photography studio and venue for education and popup events. The space was established by photographer and entrepreneur Michelle Cuppy.

On Small Business Saturday, Wealthy Studios will be hosting their event from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. 

The purpose of our space is to be a place in the community where artists can come together, collaborate and grow as artists both personally and professionally,” Cuppy said.

For the second year in a row on Small Business Saturday, Wealthy Studios will be open for small businesses’ to sell their art to customers. This event is taking form as a small business marketplace with a variety of artists, ranging from clothing designers to a cake confectionery. 

Cuppy said they chose artists who did not have a brick and mortar store to sell their work. Not only will artists be able to share the space at Wealthy Studios, but they are encouraged to make connections within the network of present artists. 

Shopping at small businesses is not only beneficial to the vendors and owner of the venue, but Cuppy said about 80 percent of the money spent stays in the community. 

“It’s a chance to raise awareness in our community about the benefits of shopping small,” Cuppy said. 

The Art of Life is another small business that is offering its space for other artists to share and sell their work to a new batch of clientele. Local artists and co-owners Chelsea Holley and Tia Riva opened their Grand Rapids storefront and studio space for The Art of Life in 2019. 

“We have been so blessed in our lives and we know that in order to keep it you need to give back,” Holley said. “Our goal is to act as a springboard for other artisans and craftspeople in West Michigan.”

The Art of Life’s event will take place on Small Business Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The storefront will be open featuring local art and goods, along with half a dozen vendors selling art at the event. 

Artists especially benefit from the small business Saturday because art is personal and local,” Holley said. “One-of-a-kind creations are not suited to be mass-produced items you find in big-box retailers. This event will help to increase the visibility of local artists and we are proud to be an outlet for their expression in the community.”

In addition to the array of local art, the event at The Art of Life will be filled with music, food and live art demonstrations.