When Cait Giunta and Ned Roche graduated from the New Hampshire Institute of Art, they left their friends and all their studio equipment behind in Manchester.
They were artists without a community or a place to work, so they opened Chases Garage in York, a longtime community landmark, as an art gallery and studio complex. It connects them with friends and artists and creates studio and workspace for ceramic artists and printmakers in southern Maine and coastal New Hampshire.
This week, Chases opens “Prints & Pots,” an exhibition of local and regional artists associated with the studio. There are receptions from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Chases also is showing an interactive light and sculpture installation, “Blue Hour,” by the design outfit New American Public Art. It is named for the hour when the sun is below the horizon, and it responds to activity around it, producing gradients of blue to red.
The gallery brings a contemporary focus to ceramics and printmaking. Artists with work in the show include Lyell Castonguay, Mary Sweeney, Tyler Gulden, Bill Cass, Jake Cassevoy, Dylan Haigh and Christopher Cooper. “We’re bringing together people we’ve met along the way – teachers from school, friends from school, people we’ve met here,” Roche said.
There are woodcut prints, linocuts, silkscreens and a variety of salt-, soda- and wood-fired ceramics.
“We want to create the same opportunities here in York as we had when we were going to school in New Hampshire,” Giunta said. “We want to make art work, we want to sell work and we want to continue learning.”
The complex includes nine private art studios and two large community workspaces, one for ceramics and the other for printmaking, with multiple kilns and presses. Chases Garage offers classes in both disciplines. They charge rent for the studios and sell memberships so artists can use the community workspace.
Chases Garage began as a blacksmith shop in the late 1800s. In 1907, George A. Chase bought the blacksmith shop and served York Beach, just around the corner. With the evolution of the automobile, Chases shifted from horses to cars. The service station became a local institution and began selling cars in the 1930s.
Chases continued as a dealership until 1990, as a filling station until 1996 and as a service station until 2000, when the family sold it to Anita and Peter Roche, Ned Roche’s parents.
Roche and Giunta opened the art gallery and studios in 2012. They like the symmetry of its evolution. “It’s always been a big part of the community,” Roche said. “And we’re happy that it still is.”
WHEN: On view through Nov. 13; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Receptions from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
WHERE: Chases Garage, 16 Main St., York
INFO: 207-361-4162 or chasesgarage.com