It might’ve closed its doors two years ago, but true to its name, Never Ender won’t quit and is now reopening. The combination clothing boutique and art gallery first opened in 2004 on Liberty Street. The boutique specialized in one-of-a-kind artisan jewelry and hip, limited-run fashions, and the back room was a gallery that featured emerging local and regional artists, like Ahren Hertel and Anthony Alston. The gallery-boutique moved to West Second Street in 2006, and then moved strictly online in 2008.
But now, after a couple of years in online limbo, the mother and daughter team of Melanie Crane and Amber Gutry is reopening Never Ender in the Cheney Street location that once housed Grayspace Gallery and then Bootleg Courier Company.
“We just loved this spot here in midtown,” says Crane, with her mellifluous New Zealand accent. The business shares a building with the Holland Project and is near The Hub Coffee Company and other midtown businesses. Crane and Gutry are hosting their grand reopening on July 29 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. to correspond with the Midtown Nights Artwalk.
Whereas the old location had whole rooms devoted to gallery space, the new spot has just a couple of walls to display smaller works. But Gutry, who acts a curator, is making the most of the available space. The current exhibition, up through the end of August, is a series of tattoo design watercolors by local artist Ron Rash.
Rash also designed Never Ender’s new grand opening T-shirts, the text of which reads “Never Ender 2010: Round Two.” There’s an image of a bighorn sheep and a jackalope, both looking fierce and wearing boxing gloves, apparently about to duke it out. (A jackalope, in case you just moved here from New York City or Moscow, is a mythical creature of the American West, half jackrabbit and half antelope.)
The shirts will be available at the grand opening for a measly $5 and in a limited run of 50. Gutry plans to ask every artist who shows work at Never Ender to design a T-shirt to correspond with their exhibition. She also plans to display new work on a monthly basis. Sarah Lillegard will show work in September and Nick Larsen in October.
Lillegard did some of the interior design of the new store, including the birdcage sculpture above the front counter.
“She’s got a great eye for it,” says Gutry, “so we offered her some space to work with so she wouldn’t have to just keep redecorating her room.”
The Cheney Street location has a second room that Gutry says they might eventually use as a gallery space, but she’s exploring other possibilities for the space as well, including opening up a public dark room that photographers could rent at an hourly rate.
But for now, the primary focus is on the clothing and jewelry boutique aspect of the business: T-shirts from Threadless, unique items from designers like Effie’s Heart and Vintage Empire, and paper jewelry from Drops of Sun.
“We’ve had so much excitement,” says Crane. “People are just buzzing. I thought everyone had forgotten about Never Ender.”