Article by Justine Frederiksen, Ukiah Daily Journal
Caspar has always called to artists seeking refuge from city life, including recent transplant Rachael Adams.
“Studios in Oakland go for $3,000 a month,” said Adams, who quickly discovered on her journey north that while places on the Mendocino Coast may cost far less to rent, there are also far fewer of them available.
Unable to find a place to live in Elk, Adams headed even farther north and “saw this place for sale,” she said of the long-shuttered art gallery in Caspar, which now serves as both her home and business.
“But I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” she said when she bought the building in 2015, describing all the work she put into it as a hard-earned education in restoration.
“I can now hang a window, and know how to put in tile,” she said with a laugh, explaining that she sought help for roof repairs and other tasks she couldn’t tackle herself by launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $18,000 she needed to officially open Caspar Curiosities earlier this year.
She describes her business as “featuring locally made arts and crafts, items of Natural History, odd antiques and a miniature museum of Caspar’s history,” much of which is centered on the Caspar Inn.
“It is so sad that it is closed now,” said Adams of the inn, standing near a small replica of the building in a corner of her gallery dedicated to Caspar’s history.
“This is actually a bird feeder,” she said, pointing out where the seeds would come out below the wrap-around deck, which is shown full of smiling people in the photographs hanging on the wall behind the feeder.
“These pictures and drawings are on loan,” said Adams, describing the fourth show her gallery is hosting as “my way of giving back to the community.”
Called “This is Caspar,” the show features art either about Caspar or by artists who live there. As proof, Mike Fadeff was sitting on the bench outside the gallery Saturday, greeting visitors as one of his drawings hung inside.
Also inside the gallery are drawings by the late Caspar artist Doug Desmond, who died about a year before Adams opened her business.
“But he wandered in here one day because the door was open,” said Adams, explaining that many artists in the community waited anxiously for the gallery to open again. Now that it has, they are hoping a revival of the Caspar Inn will follow.
In the meantime, however, there is the Caspar Community Center, which once a month hosts a “Pub Night,” featuring a locally crafted dinner served with beer, wine and live music.
Each second Friday since its grand opening in February, Adams has launched a new show at her gallery to coincide with Pub Night. The collaboration is attracting more and more people, she said, and now that the summer tourist season is beginning she expects the numbers of visitors to grow even more.
“Next month’s show will be off-the-hook,” she said, referring to the “The Internationals,” which will launch June 9 with “an introduction to the Commedia Del Arte by Georges Gorges and be followed by some live music by the Midsummer Night Dream Revival Band and DJ Lichen.”
More information about the gallery and the boutique, which offers shelf space for rent by local artists, visit Caspar Curiosities on Facebook. More information about the community center can be found at casparcommons.org