Community art at Sugartown boutique

For Sugartown Vintage Boutique proprietor Ashley Drewes, running a business isn’t just about making sales: it’s also about putting together special events.

Take, for example, this week’s community art show, Across Time, which will showcase submissions from many local artists in a variety of media. Drewes said she got the idea following a previous show at her Partition Street shop featuring local artist and musician Angie Peone.

“When we had Peone’s show, I realized that it brought in a lot of people,” she said. “But they were mostly already fans of hers. I realized if I did more of an open show and had other artists, they would each bring in their own fan club, their friends and family.”


That show, Across Time, opens Saturday, April 16 from 6-8 p.m. with live music, potluck refreshments and a theme Drewes chose to be deliberately open to interpretation.

“I wanted something that was pretty broad,” she said. “If you’re a good B.S. artist like me, you could fudge this. I wanted to give something to sort of spark the fire, to build off of.”

Her idea worked: Drewes said the submissions run the gamut.

“I’ve gotten some sort of strange responses, being that I opened it to any medium,” she said. “There is one person who said they’d contribute a dress. I’ve gotten shadowboxes, photography from a stone mason. People who might not necessarily be artists are interested, which I think is great.”

Hosting events wasn’t part of the founding vision for the shop, which opened last year, but Drewes said she used the slow times to brainstorm.

“I opened up in the winter, and it’s a very slow time,” she said. “Every minute there isn’t a customer here, I’m wondering how I can bring more people in. I’m not a person who likes to have time on my hands. After a couple of months, I started lining up events, and now that it’s going well, I’m going to continue.”

Part of what makes it work is the boutique itself, an open space with high ceilings and plenty of wall space.

“I think my space is perfect for it,” Drewes said. “I was at a gallery opening last night, and it was a beautiful show, but it was maybe a fifth of the size. There’s just all this open room, and it’s a very grandiose space, and I thought right from the beginning that I needed to get some art on the walls.”

In addition to the art pieces, Saturday’s show opening will include live music performances by both Peone and Ben Mayer.

“I like the idea of my boutique serving multiple functions, almost like a salon,” Drewes said. “Being a business owner I’m always here working, but this way I get to bring all the cultural things I love to me.”

For more information on Across Time, visit