Market Place: Random Arts reopens in new location in Saluda

Published 5:10 pm Friday, October 14, 2011

Jane Powell and her husband, Paul Aabye, reopened Random Arts in Saluda in September. (photo submitted)

Random Arts of Saluda is back.
After closing their successful retail space on Main Street in 2009, owners Jane Powell and husband, Paul Aabye, finally found the right location to reopen their business of “assorted goods for creative mindfulness.”
They fell in love with a restored, historic, Craftsman Style bungalow at 481 Louisiana Avenue, just two blocks off of Main Street, that has a large off-street parking area, three retail areas and a studio/classroom space that can accommodate up to 18 students. The business opened on Sept. 22.
“There is room to grow our space with outdoor classroom space and additional parking,” said Powell. “With the help of jewelry artist Louise McClure, this huge white canvas of an interior became a plethora of wall art and eye candy serving as inspiration in itself for the creative soul.”
Originally from Chicago, Ill., Powell studied business at Purdue University in Hammond, Ind., and worked in the mortgage banking business while Paul ran his own automotive machine shop.

The new home of Random Arts is a restored Craftsman-style bungalow on Louisiana Ave. in Saluda. (photo submitted)

When they unexpectedly drove through Saluda in 1994, they decided to leave the big city and move to the quaint little town.
“We were enamored enough to go back, quit our jobs, sell our house and become transplants to Saluda,” recalls Powell.
Since they are also creative artists working in mixed media, primarily with paper and textiles, the couple opened their first retail art space in the shop of another artist in 1995.
After a year, they felt confident that their business would be a success and decided to go out on their own, opening the first Random Arts on Main Street. The business thrived in that location, Powell and Aabye said, and they built a strong following.
Random Arts also offered classes with a variety of internationally known instructors, who would return to Saluda year after year from as far away as California to teach in the studio, such as Michael deMeng, Jane LaFazio, Lesley Riley and Helen Shafer Garcia. Students also began showing up from as far away as Colorado, Florida, Ohio and everywhere in between.
When the rent more than doubled in December 2009, the couple decided it was time to look for another space in town.
“During that time, which took about a year, we continued to hold workshops in a temporary location to keep that energy flowing,” says Powell.
Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., in addition to the classes, the new Random Arts space carries a variety of art supplies, including: Golden Paints and mediums, artist brushes, Random Relics, found objects, handmade papers, fibers and ribbons, as well as craft supplies for every imaginable project.
There is also an ample supply of unique jewelry, findings, charms, antiques and vintage goods.
When asked her advice for aspiring artists or gallery owners, Powell replies, “Be prepared to work hard and don’t give up. Follow your dream.”
To learn more about Random Arts, go to

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