Artists and creators have sought out inspiration from Menemsha’s unique pace, isolation, and tranquility over the past 100 years. Despite an extensive relationship with the arts (and serving as inspiration for artists), the town has gone a long time without a gallery. This May, Menemsha will open its arms to Creekville, its first art and antiques gallery.
“It will be interesting,” Suzie Pacheco, a featured artist at Creekville, said in an interview with The Times. “It won’t be your cookie-cutter gallery.”
Creekville will be located inside an old net drying shack, where Jane Slater’s beloved Over South Antiques brought in loyal customers for the past 40 years. The spot was a hub for regulars to meet, shop, and exchange stories of Island family and history. When Ms. Slater decided to retire, she knew she couldn’t leave the space to just anyone, so she passed it along to an old friend and fellow Islander, Doug Seward.
“We were sitting in her shop the summer before last. I was telling her I had not yet thought of what I would do after retiring from R.M. Packer Co.,” Mr. Seward said. “She looked at me and said, ‘You’re a cricker [he grew up with a gang of kids along the creek]. You have the stories. You’re perfect for this shop!’”
“I will keep the shop much like Jane had it, but have an emphasis on paintings of the Vineyard, and some antiques and collectibles from the Vineyard past and present,” Mr. Seward said.
His interest in antiques, specifically Vineyard vintage paintings, dates back to the 1950s and 60s (May 19, “The private museum of twins David and Doug Seward”).
“My parents ran the small grocery store in Menemsha,” Mr. Seward said. “Ma would trade groceries for paintings. In the past ten years, I began to buy and sell paintings at auctions. As I went along, I began to focus on Vineyard works, and then vintage pieces.”
When Ms. Slater offered him the space, he decided to team up with life partner and painter Suzie Pacheco to achieve a vision of opening an art gallery, while maintaining Ms. Slater’s antiques approach.
“I think Jane’s clientele will be pleasantly surprised. The shop will be the same, but different,” Mr. Seward said.
“We’re balancing the old and the new,” Ms. Pacheco said, referring to the modern paintings and vintage antiques that will be offered at Creekville. “It won’t be a mishmash of everything. There will be a real focus on style, and distinct trends that’ll hopefully be a little ahead of the wave.”
Ms. Pacheco’s paintings will capture the nautical, contemporary ambiance of the gallery. Her oil-on-canvas work centers on seascapes and landscapes. “I’ve always been interested in how things look through the medium of water,” she said. “With the reflections of waves and figures swimming underneath the surface, there’s a lot of movement, and capturing that movement is really important for me.”
Creekville’s traditional essence will come from mid-century antiques, such as lamps, pottery, and blocks, collected by Mr. Seward and Ms. Pacheco. Harking even farther back, Creekville will also showcase vintage kitchenware from the 1930s.
“We’re tapping into a homey, campy vibe. It’ll be great for people with summer homes on the Cape or the Vineyard,” Ms. Pacheco said.
According to Mr. Seward, the name Creekville comes from the Creekville Post Office in Menemsha in the early 1900s. The original postmaster, Carl Reed, moved the office from the Home Port parking lot across the street from the Menemsha store building in 1924, when the name was changed to Menemsha Post Office. Mr. Seward’s father, William, was the second postmaster, starting in 1948, and his mother, Barbara, was the third and final postmaster when it closed in 1972. “An end of an era,” Mr. Seward said.
In preparation for the gallery’s opening, Mr. Seward is taking care of the organizing, buying, and pricing of the vintage paintings and antiques, while Ms. Pacheco offers her experience in business. She has opened and owned shops in Vineyard Haven, Edgartown, and Brookline over the past 35 years.
“It’s not going to be your grandmother’s dusty fusty antiques store, and it’s not going to be your regular conservative art gallery,” Ms. Pacheco said. “It’s going to bring in things that are unexpected, interesting, and hopefully pleasing for people.”
Creekville’s inaugural season will begin in May and extend through October. 8 Basin Road, Menemsha.
This article by Brittany Bowker originally appeared on mvtimes.com.