WRITER | CANDIE CONAT
PHOTOS | LYNNE CONGOR
Port Austin has long been a town that prides itself on supporting artists, drawing them in for more than 30 years. That welcoming and supportive spirit has been the lifeblood of The Cove, a unique gallery-type store located in the heart of the downtown area. The gallery, which opened in 2013, was soon featuring over 45 artists during peak season, and its owners felt a need to expand. After the search for a new location had begun, one of the partners and his wife decided they would prefer to construct a new building to house the business. In December 2016, The Cove reopened in its new location to a boisterous holiday season. The building opens up to the grounds of the impressive Port Austin Farmers Market, and considering that the market has been declared one of the Top 10 in the state, the gallery gives guests one more good reason to visit and make a day of it.
The Cove is run as an artist co-op, of sorts. All artwork is taken on consignment, with partners Dave Thuemmel, Laurie Conger, and Lynne Wiencek handling all business operations and also working in the store alongside many of the artists. All in all, much of their success is attributed to this team effort.
Partners in The Cove strive to bring in a variety of artistic mediums. Inventory includes pottery, turned wooden bowls, sculptural pieces, paintings, photography, jewelry, textiles and clothing, metal sculpture, stained glass, and mixed media of all sorts. Items themed with the water and lakes in mind are a great hit with visitors. Lake Huron beach glass jewelry, river rock and lake stone photography, and tiles depicting Turnip Rock – a local must-see site – along with functional pottery and amazing wooden salad bowls make magnificent gifts.
The community members of Port Austin have provided great support for The Cove, stopping in to pick out the perfect gift or a special new piece for their own homes. Port Austin is a thriving tourist area; visitors relish the idea of being able to shop the wares of so many artists from around the state, all in one place, taking home a memento from their trip.
Recently, The Cove began offering a variety of classes for those interested in learning a new craft from the best of the best. Currently, classes are available in felting, acrylics, and ceramics, with more to come. Be sure to visit The Cove on Facebook or their website for details on hours and classes, or just to get a glimpse of what’s new in the gallery.
The Cove 8685 Lake Street, Port Austin Michigan 48467 l (989) 551-9446 l MermaidsCovePA.com