Word has been out on the street for a year, but now it's official. The 1.4 acres on South Government Avenue in Fayetteville that is home to Heartwood Gallery, Crimson and Clover, Edward Hejtmanek's wood shop and a tattoo shop is for sale.
Hejtmanek and his wife, jewelry artist Anita Hejtmanek, founded Heartwood Gallery 17 years ago, but they've had a business in the South Fayetteville location for most of 30 years. Hejtmanek opened a woodworking shop first, then built a new one and turned the building at 428 S. Government Ave. into an artists' cooperative gallery intended to showcase his wife's art.
WHEN — 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday
WHERE — 428 S. Government Ave. in Fayetteville
COST — Admission is free
INFO — 444-0888
"She wasn't inclined to be tied down full time to a storefront, so we decided to ask some Arkansas Craft Guild artists and some others how many would be interested in a cooperative gallery," Hejtmanek remembers. "We called a meeting and had I think 17 artists, and everybody at the meeting said 'yes.' We started with 17 and have between 28 and 30 most of the time now, which is all we have space for.
"Our goal was not just to give people a place to sell art, but the sharing ideas, the interaction, was a valuable part of it, too," he muses. "What I'm really proud of is we've been growing despite the retail apocalypse happening in this country. This November and December was as good as any."
Asked if that didn't make it exactly the wrong time to get out, the 69-year-old Hejtmanek laughs. "It's exactly the wrong time to be getting old -- and if I could opt out of that, I would opt out. But we've kind of reached our limit. We never charged enough money to hire people when something broke," he explains, and keeping the buildings in shape is no longer a responsibility he wants. His dream of turning the property into a live/work artist space with studio apartments and storefronts never came to fruition, and now he hopes perhaps someone else will consider the same kind of development.
Potter Margery Shore has been part of Heartwood for 12 of its 17 years and says finding "stalwarts" like the Hejtmaneks "dedicated to providing a space for local artisans" will be difficult. She's sticking around as long as the gallery is open, she says, "because of the idea of this place and because of Anita, Edward and the other artisans that have become a community. We have and have had some of the most amazing people show work here!"
NAN What's Up on 01/06/2019
Print Headline: End Of An Era