ZabelJanes Gallery: Let's get ready to rummage!
Andrea Stitt, owner of ZabelJanes Gallery, a soon-to-open business here in Pratt, has been creative since she was young. Her interest grew in high school with an amazing art teacher, Mark Ralston, at Jefferson West High School, Meriden, KS. She originally attended college to get a degree in interior design, then realized that art was her real passion. She graduated with a BFA in ceramics and a BA in art history from Kansas State University, then received her teaching license through Fort Hays State University. She loves painting, ceramics and photography.
“My vision for ZabelJanes is to create a homey, comfortable space as opposed to a stark business,” Stitt said. “There will be paintings on the wall and ceramics for sale.”
She said she plans to offer a variety of after school classes for children in second grade through high school. Public evening events are planned every other month to teach painting skills and working with ceramics. It is possible to book the gallery for private events like birthdays, bachelorette parties.
"My vision is to create a comfortable space as opposed to a stark business,” Stitt said. “There will be paintings on the wall and ceramics for sale.”
She said she plans to offer a variety of after school classes for children in second grade through high school. Public evening events are planned every other month to teach painting skills and working with ceramics. It is possible to book the gallery for private events like birthdays, bachelorette parties or a night out with friends. Classes will be posted on the ZabelJanes Gallery Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as the website (www.ZabelJanesgallery.com). Individual study is also possible.
The first public opening tour of ZabelJanes will be held Friday, May 28 (6 p.m.-8 p.m.). The shop will be opened Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m to 3:30 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to noon beginning with the grand opening Tuesday, June 1.
When asked about the unusual name for her gallery, Stitt said it is a combination of her maternal grandmother’s German maiden name and Jeremy’s maternal grandmother’s middle name. The “s” was added at the end of “Jane,” reminiscent of the little girl shoes called Mary Janes. Stitt made up the name years ago, knowing that if she ever owned a business, that would be the name she used. She is glad to finally use it.
“Pratt feels more like Meriden where I grew up,” Stitt said. “I like the small town atmosphere.”
A rummage sale is planned for Friday, May 21 (9-4) and Saturday, May 22 (9-noon) at the gallery location (1115 US Hwy 54). All proceeds will help fund supplies needed for future events and classes. Stitt is accepting items from anyone wishing to donate articles for the sale. She can be reached at (620)770-4009.
“I am super, super excited and ready for this to just happen. I’m ready to get people in here,” she said. “I don’t see myself doing anything else but this now. I love being here in Pratt and giving back to the community. I hope that even if people think they are not artistic, they’ll want to give this a try.”
Future dreams for the gallery include the purchase of two pottery wheels, working with Skyline to create high school ceramic and drawing classes at the gallery that will be credited classes. Stitt would like to create specialty mural paintings on wall spaces in local businesses. Stitt also owns a photo booth. She loves wedding photography and has done student photos at school dances and family photos. Her work in photography through Andrea Stitt photography was put on hold during the pandemic. She hopes to help people create memories by taking more lifestyle, specialty, and portrait photos. Currently, Stitt teaches graphic design for eight graders and photography for high school students at Skyline. She came to Pratt from Topeka with her husband Jeremy, in 2016 to work at Liberty Middle School. Her original life-plan was not to teach. Her previous job as a para in Topeka, though, helped her know she wanted to be a teacher. She loves working with children. She taught at Liberty for one year and has been at Skyline for four years.
“Students may complain about everything, but if I can help them find that one thing they are interested in, they are willing to start something new.”
She discovered many young people enjoy the repetition of hand sewing and embroidery work. Stitt has also taught a number of painting classes at the Pratt Public Library.