EVERETT — When is an art supply store not just a store? When it’s a studio, art gallery and hangout for local artists.
Independent JAG Artworks in downtown Everett opened two years ago, but a recent a move to a first-floor location has raised its visibility.
Still, it’s easy to stroll past and not notice the 800-square-foot store at 1806 Hewitt Avenue — especially on weekdays.
Owner Jason Andrew Grim (the J.A.G. in JAG), doesn’t unlock the door until after his day job ends.
JAG Artworks is open 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Saturday hours are 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday hours are noon to 6 p.m.
For working and weekend artists, it’s a match.
Everett resident Kevin Patrick stops by the store once or twice a week in the evening with his dog, Oscar.
“I’m here to buy acrylic paint and canvas,” Patrick said. Lately, he’s added spray paint to his palette. “Just to have fun,” Patrick said.
On the fine arts side of the store, Grim was showing a set of Blackwing-brand drawing pencils to a traditional artist.
Behind the counter, Josh Robinson was setting up a display of neon spray paint and markers geared toward street artists.
“I love it here — I just wander in and draw,” said Robinson, who volunteers at the store.
Grim has been on the 11-member Everett Cultural Arts Commission for nearly two years.
“I want to bring more awareness to the city about the smaller, less-known art community and encourage the city to support murals made by local artists,” Grim said.
The Schack Art Center in Everett is pleased to see the independent store take up residence.
“We are so happy to see JAG in the downtown Everett area,” said Schack spokeswoman Abby Powell. “We’re excited for their classes and the community that they’re bringing to Everett. We can’t wait to watch them grow.”
Street-inspired art, which takes cues from graffiti, tagging and urban murals, “can be anything — it can be small,” said Grim, holding up an example the size of a car license plate.
Last month, JAG added 300 square feet of gallery space — small, but enough to stage a “Glow Show” exhibit of black-light paintings.
Andrea McLean, an Everett resident whose work seeks symmetry in fine lines and precision, was one of 15 local artists whose work was showcased.
“I started coming here when it was upstairs,” McLean said. At 175 square feet, it was the size of a closet.
Now at 800 square feet, the space hosts “Artlife,” a sit-down, chit-chat, bring-what-you’re-working-on gathering Monday nights.
“It’s just a bunch of people that want to be here and do art,” Robinson said.
Artlife and a new Thursday night class in street-art lettering are drawing a diverse crowd, said Robinson, who teaches the lettering class.
“We’ve got people from age 12 to 70,” he said excitedly.
After two years, the shop is finally paying for itself, Grim said.
“It’s a labor of love,” Grim said. “I haven’t taken a salary.”
Volunteers, including Robinson, help out.
Besides art supplies, the store sells the work of local artists, musicians and poets.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” said Grim, who moved to Everett in 2013 from Los Angeles.
A self-taught street-inspired artist, Grim was buying 100 cans of spray paint at a time when he began to wonder: Could he do it cheaper?
Local artists who got together at his home to barbecue and talk shop encouraged him to open an art supply store in Everett.
Grim opened the tiny store in March 2018 with savings he’d socked away to buy a house.
In its new downstairs location, colorful murals and paintings brighten the walls.
With more than a dozen distributors on tap, Grim said he’s able to compete, selection-wise and price-wise, with big box art supply stores.
“They’re willing to work with some pretty low minimums,” he said.
A supplier that typically asks for a minimum $2,000 order “lowered it to $600,” Grim said.
“We can price-match and give discounts to working artists,” Grim said.
Sonja Kinzer, an Everett resident who admires tattoo art, drops in a couple times a week with markers and a drawing tablet.
Comfy chairs and a community drawing table are all that’s needed tfor her sketching. “There’s something so cool about this place,” she said.
Janice Podsada; email@example.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods