Conopeum is Latin for “canopy,” and Smart-Chandler says she wanted to choose a name that would encompass more than just art supplies. Not that there is any shortage of those either in the store.
The store has just about anything an artist or crafter’s heart could desire. There are fine art supplies, a section devoted specifically to children’s art, crafter’s section, scrapbooking, knitting, crochet, bead working, jewelry making and fabrics. That’s just to start off with as well. Smart-Chandler says as people start coming in, she will modify what she is carrying to cater to the community.
Part of the store also has a workshop space, to hold classes by herself or another artist. Rental of the space is charged on a percentage amount, based on the number of participants and the fee charged, rather than just a flat fee. She says she wants to have a space people can use by a wide variety of people.
“I think education and art is very important. It teaches you a lot about ingenuity, creative problem solving and things like that,” she says.
Art is something Smart-Chandler has had a passion for from a young age. She says she always remembers her mother drawing, and in her extended family there are several artists as well. It’s something she picked up quite naturally.
“I always had a chalkboard, colouring book or something in my hands,” she says.
During high school she worked with local artist Roger Savage, which also helped develop her passion as an artist.
Her preferred medium is pastels, but she also does sculpture and fabric work.
Smart-Chandler is graduated the the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2008, with an interdisciplinary degree. He degree gives her a wide background in the arts, so she knows something about all the mediums she is carrying.
After graduation, she worked at Loomis and Toles, an art supply store in Halifax, before making the decision to move back to Liverpool. The decision was based on a few things, including cost of living and being closer to family. The community was missing something when she came home however.
“Basically, I was trying to do some artwork, and I didn’t have any art supplies that I needed,” she says.
Smart-Chandler says she heard the same thing from several of her friends. They had to either order it online, or travel to Lunenburg and Halifax to get their supplies.
She decided to do something about that, and had her soft opening on Saturday, April 7. A grand opening is planned for some time in May.
This is the first business Smart-Chandler has opened, and she says it’s been a learning experience from the start.
To figure out just how to open a business, she worked with South Shore Opportunities to draw on their knowledge. They helped with her business plan and in figuring out the financial aspect of running a business.
“Basically any kind of business advice you could be looking for,” she says.
It’s been a lot of work she says, but from the start she has had a lot of support from the community.
“All the other local businesses in the area have been really supportive as well, making me fell welcome in the business community,” she says.
That’s something you might not get in the city.
Conopeum Art is located next to Frenchy’s on Main Street.