“You. Grow. Girl.”
So says the commandment inside Sacred Space, the new creative collective on Stock Island, that’s owned by four local female artists.
All four owners live by the words that are painted on the wall and adorn note cards that are for sale.
Artists Barb Sage, Cristina Velardi, Lucy Hawk and Emily Shipman opened Sacred Space on Aug. 14. They each moved their own studios into the space adjacent to Soul House Home Decor, at 5700 4th St., which is also female-owned.
The four owners create, show and sell their own work at Sacred Space while also representing the creative work of five other local women.
“This is the girl power headquarters,” said Velardi, who owns Cocky KW, a screenprinting company whose logo turns the W in KW into a chicken’s footprint. Velardi’s newest quarantine-inspired design features the words, “Back the flock up,” while some of her other bestsellers include her own take on the “Cocky Republic” flag, and a motto, “Humble Living; Island Pride.”
“It’s so important for an artist who’s just starting out to have an opportunity to show their work without getting gouged from the start,” said Gage, whose colorful Whimsy Key West patterns brighten everything from roller skates to lamps to wooden signs and stationery. “And it’s so nice being right next to Soul House, so we’re constantly sending people back and forth to each other’s space.”
In addition to the four resident artists and owners, Sacred Space represents another five female artists and now devotes Saturday afternoons, from noon to 5 p.m., to its Meet the Maker series that features one of the artists they represent. The Sept. 26 Meet the Maker highlighted Brianna Gangi’s driftwood, textile and fiber wall hangings.
“And unlike most galleries that keep 50% of the sale price of the piece for the gallery, we only take 8%,” Sage said.
In addition to Sage’s Whimsy Key West and Velardi’s Cocky KW, Sacred Space features the intricate and colorful paper-cutting designs by Lucy Hawk, who works with a scalpel to cut out colorful images of Key West’s sunsets, shrimp boats, bikes and sea life.
“I sell both the original papercuttings and prints of each original in various sizes,” said Hawk, who’s about to release a series of mandalas.
Emily Shipman’s Bella Laine line of handmade and hand-painted candles rounds out the owners’ creative inventory.
“She uses all-natural soy wax and fragrances, and it’s all sourced from here in the United States,” Hawk said. “Plus, she handpaints all the containers for each candle.”
The Oct. 3 Meet the Maker event will highlight the colorful paintings of Katlin Spain, while the Oct. 10 event features ocean-inspired jewelry by Heather Talton.
Some of the Sacred Space artists also set up shop at various open-air markets around town, including the newly launched Sunset Series at Amp, which starts at 5 p.m. on Saturdays from Oct. 3 through Nov. 28 featuring local musicians, plus food and art vendors, at the Coffee Butler Key West Amphitheater.