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New art studio, gallery opens downtown

Back row (from left): Chrissy Crabill, Kyle Crabill, Christy O,Rielly and Tim Collins. Middle row (from left) : Denise Szadyr, Karey Collins and Cameron Collins. Front Row (from left): Brayden O'Rielly, Taylor Collins and Austen O'Rielly. (click for larger version)
November 23, 2011 - A new art studio is in town and is looking to offer its customers more than just finished works of art.

Oxford resident Karey Collins held a grand opening for Merge Studio and Gallery (18 N. Washington) on Friday, Nov. 11, with the idea of merging together finished works of art, instructional classes and open studio time into one location.

"I saw a need for this kind of service here in Oxford," Collins said.

Currently, all of the pieces for sale in the front portion of the store were made by her class instructors. After getting Merge Studio off the ground, she will be incorporating some of her work, designer jewelry and metalsmithing, into the show pieces.

Starting Jan. 3, 2012, Collins will be opening her store to instructional classes and "open studio time," where customers can come in and pay an hourly rate to use the gallery's equipment.

"We have painting easels, light boxes and pottery wheels," she said. "Most people don't have a pottery wheel at home, and we have the materials so that you won't have to go buy as much material, you can just use what you need."

Collins will be offering instructional classes in painting, drawing, photography, cartooning, illustration and ceramics.

Each class is broken into different age groups.

"We have a fashion design class that we are going to put together for middle school age kids and we have preschool (classes) in the morning," Collins explained.

According to Collins, all classes, except ceramics, can hold up to 25 members. Collins said ceramics can only hold six right now due to the studio only having six pottery wheels.

Adult classes begin in the evening at approximately 7 p.m.

She added Merge Studio and Gallery also offers the opportunity for a customer to drop in any time and paint his or her own pottery, and will be available to host special events.

"We will be able to host birthday parties or ladies night out," she said. "We can cater the events to your likes or whatever the guest of honor would like to do."

Collins, originally from Jackson, said her family moved to Oxford from Waterford nine years ago because they like the "small town" feel Oxford provides.

"We like the country and we knew we wanted to move out of where we were...we liked the schools, and being from a smaller town, we like this small town feel. So besides the country side, the people and no traffic, that is pretty much why," she said.

For more information about Merge Studio and Gallery, call (248) 572-6211.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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