Burke blends art and antiques in Coventry gem
Published: Sunday, September 15, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 15, 2013 23:09
Anne Burke, third grade teacher and owner of Coventry Arts & Antiques, has an indelible passion for finding unique treasures. That passion, among other things, drove her to create Coventry Arts & Antiques.
“The joy of working with antiques is finding something old and bringing it back to life. You realize you can’t keep everything you find, but you can enjoy something for awhile and then pass it on,” said Burke.
When she lived in Putnam, Conn., Burke worked at the antique marketplace where she was able to meet people and learn about antiques.
Her main incentive for creating her business came from a very personal occurrence in Burke’s life. In 2009, her daughter Ellen passed away and in 2010, to honor the memory of her daughter, Burke held a memorial exhibit at a local art gallery featuring Ellen’s artwork. As she sat at the gallery that summer, the building she presently owns was on the market and caught her eye.
Inspired, Burke bought the building and began working on it. Soon after her purchase, a friend contacted her to go to an auction. In an act Burke described as spontaneous, she accompanied her friend and found a sign that dates back to the turn of the century and is linked to the building she had just acquired.
“It was just luck that I was there, if I hadn’t been there somebody else would have bought the sign and I wouldn’t have it on the store today. I’m hoping it was a good omen” Burke said.
Balancing her teaching profession with her part-time work at the store is hard work, but she said that ultimately, “the art gallery is a memorial because I have my daughters work there, and there are all local artists in the gallery as well. Part of this is keeping my daughters memory alive. This is a healing process.”
Laurie Bidwell Whitehead is another source of inspiration for Burke. Whitehead used to own an art gallery in town, Muse la Belle Artiste.
“Laurie poured her heart and soul into the gallery, and it was gorgeous, but hard to maintain. I wanted to keep Laurie’s vision of a gallery in Coventry alive,” Burke said.
Coventry is known for antique stores and Burke is making a unique effort to blend art with antiques. Burke’s establishment carries commodities such as books, antique furniture, crystal and glassware, jewelry, and paintings.
“I think Ellen would be really happy to know I’ve done this” Burke said.
On November 30 Burke will be hosting an open house at the gallery primarily for artists from 5p.m. to 8p.m.
The store is open Thursdays through Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.