Kate and Trent Freeman, Edwardsville, purchased a building at 8 North National Avenue, Fort Scott, on October 2, 2020, and will soon open their new business there, called The Artificers.
“The definition of artificers is fine artists and craftsmen,” Kate said.
The business will be an art gallery, a teaching studio workshop space, and a studio space for both Kate and Trent, who are artists by profession.
“We have a network of artists that we will pull from to come in and display and teach watercolor, collage, airbrush artists… from all over the country,” she said.
There will be classes and workshops.
A possible opening will be late winter, 2021, or early spring, 2022, Trent said.
“Artificers is a group, including Trent and I and anyone we invite in,” she said. “You can expect quality work.”
Trent received a degree in fine art from Emporia State University; Kate “just does art”, she said, and added, “I do the marketing for the business.”
The business will take commissioned art and have art for sale.
Trent works to create art in mixed media: clay, glass, wood, metal; Kate works in clay and acrylic painting.
“We had our studio in Kansas City for 22 years,” Trent said. “I’ve been a professional for 28 years. We’ve done everything from gallery to commission to art festivals all over the country. Most of our work is commission now.”
Trent said when Kansas City shut down businesses during the COVID-19 Pandemic, they began coming to their farm, west of Fort Scott.
Trent’s parents, Ed and Jackie Freeman built a house near Bronson and retired there, and so Trent and Kate have been coming here for 20 years, he said. “And we loved the town.”
“We love the atmosphere here,” Kate said. “It feels like home here. I feel there is a revival about to happen in the town and it feels good.”
The artists had a setback in July 2021, when the building next door to the north, between The Artificers and Sharkey’s Pub & Grub Restaurant, collapsed.
“That set us back three months,” Trent said.
Also, the pandemic has kept contractors busy and the Freemans are in line for plumbing, electrical, etc.
Trent is doing most of the repurposing of the inside of the former Hammond Real Estate building himself, and last Saturday was framing up some rooms on the inside.
“The front one-third of the building will be a gallery space,” Kate said. “The next one-third will have a small kitchenette and be a teaching studio workshop and have classes in all art genres. The back one-third will be our studio space for creating.”
“The City of Fort Scott is contracting Mid Continental Restoration for some facia and the entire north side (of the building) will be cleaned and sealed,” Trent said. “They have been good to us.”
The Freeman’s will eventually live on the second floor of the building when the business’s first floor is complete, Kate said.
They are not in a hurry, because their daughter is a senior in high school and they don’t want to move until she leaves for the University of Arkansas next fall.
Accompanying them in the move will be their Red Healer dog, Ivy, Kate said, and Ivy was enjoying the sun from a south-facing window in the gallery on Saturday. There will be many more days in that spot.
For more information: 8 North National-The Artificers Facebook page or https://tefreemanstudio.com/