|The Pod brings local art to public eye|
|Written by Brittany Tepper, Reporter|
|Sunday, 10 February 2013 13:17|
Students love Uptown Normal. The unique shops and restaurants have quickly become a staple of the ISU experience.
“Once we opened our doors, a flood of talent came through. We will look at anybody’s work. We do have a waiting list right now of artists trying to get in, but we try to give as many artists an opportunity as possible,” Wetzel said.
The shop sells art at a 30 percent commission rate, meaning artists receive 70 percent of the profit made off of their items.
Beth Epley’s hand knitted cupcake hats have been a huge success, as well as Gayla Betts’ handmade pendants for Valentine’s Day. The Pod’s Facebook page features many of the stores popular items.
Everything about this store is a work of art, including the exterior.
The mural on the shop’s outside wall has become a recognizable part
of Uptown Normal’s culture. Community members gathered to create the
mural during the building’s renovation about two years ago.
“Initially we were going to have only a few spaces painted, but we
had such a huge interest. We started off with people we knew and all of a
sudden we had all types of people interested, students, the elderly and
children,” Wetzel said.
“I think the youngest painter was about four. We mapped out as many
spaces as we could. People filled them in on a first come first serve
basis. It’s a community mural,” she added.
Natalie Wetzel and Bekah Berry co-own the shop with their husbands.
Natalie and Bekah met seven years ago at ISU and both have an art degree
from the university. The pair started “art circle,” a group of local
artists who meet once a month.
“From art circle we grew a desire to have a brick and mortar space
to sell our own work and promote the work of other artists. We began
actively searching for a space and this corner became available,” Wetzel
The team did a five week renovation on the space, including painting the exterior.
The shop is based around locally made art, but some items are also from outside of Bloomington-Normal.
“Our heart and passion is in selling things made locally. At
certain times we supplement from outside companies when merchandise is
low,” Wetzel said.
To view new items, and for more information, visit The Pod’s Facebook page. The Pod is also participating in Redbird Mondays. Students can receive 25 percent off their purchase on Mondays by showing their Redbird ID Card.