The Hope General Store added an art supply section to the merchandise mix as of early December, according to owner Andrew Stewart, and 25 percent of the profits the store makes on the sale of art supplies will benefit Sweet Tree Arts.

Stewart's sister, Lindsay Pinchbeck, has been offering classes and activities under the Sweet Tree Arts name for several years. The offerings have been hosted at a variety of locations including museums, schools and libraries, according to previously published reports. The Sweetland Center, a building constructed to house Sweet Tree Arts next door to The Hope General Store, is slated to open in January.

Art supplies including various paints, markers, scissors, art-quality pens, colored pencils and boxed sets of mixed-media items are among the variety of products on the shelves at The Hope General Store. Most of the art materials are manufactured by the company Milan. Stewart expected a second shipment of products to arrive Dec. 14.

The addition of art supplies at The Hope General Store will help facilitate the creative collaborations already gaining traction in Hope Center, Stewart said.

"It's a good thing to have [the supplies in stock] for people coming over to Sweet Tree that have forgotten something or need something," Stewart said, adding the art supplies are priced reasonably.

During the first week art supplies were offered, Stewart said customers seemed excited to see the new addition.

"There's definitely been a positive response," he said.

Stewart said Pinchbeck is the artist in the family but he has always offered gallery space in the small cafe area at The Hope General Store to hang local art and provide exposure to artists.

"We've always tried to put local art on the wall," he said. "There are so many great artists in town."

He said Sweet Tree Arts will take over curating the shows inside The Hope General Store, although not every show will be in conjunction with the programs there. Stewart said pieces by local artists have been known to sell when they've been displayed at the store. Presently an assortment of fire pokers by neighboring artist Benjamin Leavitt are on offer at The Hope General Store.

Stewart added a number of budding collaborations between Sweet Tree Arts and other local organizations, including Hope Elephants, will provide educational resources and opportunities for children and adults in Hope Center beginning in the new year.

"It's really great seeing how the education pieces are all coming together," he said.

Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at