INDIANAPOLIS — A fairy porch party, a healing with beading workshop, and a vintage tea party are just a few of the events hosted at a vintage art and antique shop on the far east side of Indianapolis.
Over the last year, Celestial Arts & Antiques has hosted a wide variety of events at its shop at the corner of 10th Street and Gibson Avenue.
"Based on what I've seen so far, living (and) being a resident of the far east side, I don't really see a lot of things happening over here. We have to go like downtown, or Irvington, Fountain Square, to even just like, see art events and like music and things like that," Elyza Sarver, co-owner of Celestial Arts & Antiques, told WRTV.
Although Celestial has morphed into more of an event space — filling an apparent need for far east side creatives — Sarver and her mother, Rebecca Gaines, who also owns Celestial, opened the store in 2021 with an entirely different intention.
"My grandparents were collectors in Russellville, Kentucky, right outside of Bowling Green," Gaines said.
Over the years, Gaines' grandparents had collected an assortment of "odd and cool and vintage" items, she said, including several things from Coca-Cola, where her grandfather worked up until retirement.
"My mom, she said, 'we need to open up a store so we can sell some of this stuff.' And that's what we did," Gaines said.
Celestial is full of Gaines' grandfather's Coca-Cola collector's items, vintage dishware, and paraphernalia.
Sarver, a self-taught jewelry maker and longtime barista, began to sell her jewelry at Celestial. Not too long after, artwork by local artists began to fill the shop's walls.
Sarver and Gaines are both passionate about art and antiques, and that passion naturally grew into Celestial becoming more of an artist event space for makers and creators.
"One good thing that has come out of COVID is more creativity, more independent creativity," Gaines said.
Sarver and Gaines have been hosting Workshop Wednesdays where anyone from the community who happens to be an expert in something is welcome to instruct a class. The mother-daughter duo opens Celestial for an assortment of pop-ups for other entrepreneurs, such as fashion shows, open mics, and yoga classes.
"It's so wonderful," Gaines, a local substitute teacher, said. "Everybody wants to be creative and using their creative skills. And that's great."
Now, Sarver and Gaines are asking their community for help. After a year in business, revenue is low, they say, and they've been paying for the building lease and other bills out of pocket.
"We're learning along the way. But we're not business savvy," Gaines said.
The mother-daughter business owners posted a GoFundMe, asking for help raising $10,000. They tell WRTV it will go toward paying bills, upkeep of the building they're leasing, maintenance, and a possible expansion for a coffee shop. Gaines and Sarver say they believe a coffee shop is not only needed in their area, but they hope it will bring more foot traffic outside of events.
"We were thinking the coffee shop will bring in more business, and then the building could start paying for itself, instead of when I get paid, now I gotta spend my check on paying the rent here," Gaines said.
The owners say their ask for help is about their want to keep Celestial open for the far east side community and Indy artists who are just getting started.
"We've kept the prices low for events, like $5," Gaines said. "We don't charge that much because it is the art world and, you know, and we're just trying not to be real pricey or anything like that because we want people to really, who's really into art and love art to be able to afford art."
Gaines says she and Sarver plan to keep Celestial going as long as they can, even if the $10,000 isn't raised by the end of October when the shop's building lease ends.
"When you don't have the money to back it, you're really going off of your passion," Gaines said.
You can learn more about Celestial, located at 8601 E. 10th St., on its Instagram page; there, you'll find a link to its GoFundMe and all of its events.
WRTV Digital Reporter Shakkira Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her on Twitter, @shakkirasays.